From the moment he was signed, some Viking fans were eager to see what former Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman could do. Last night, those same fans were introduced to the notion that a quarterback can’t magically make up for an entire offseason of practice, drill and team familiarity. Freeman stood tall in the pocket to deliver downfield throws, but those throws were far too often over the heads or out of reach of his intended receivers … timing and route accuracy were both in short supply. Freeman was only intercepted once, but the Giants had other opportunities to pick him off over the course of the game.
All of the problems the Vikings have displayed on the field up to this point were pretty much unchanged despite the change at quarterback: the defence gave up far too many yards and stayed on the field far too long, and Adrian Peterson was not able to get the rushing game going (although he had been on the injury report with a hamstring issue this week). If Marcus Sherels hadn’t scored his second career kick return touchdown, the Giants would have blanked the Vikings. Unfortunately, Sherels also had a few key errors, including coughing up the ball near the Vikings goal line on a punt return. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd also had a bad special teams outing, fumbling the ball on a kickoff return (the Giants kicked short to keep the ball away from fellow rookie Cordarrelle Patterson).
1500ESPN‘s Andrew Krammer:
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the game plan was going to be simple for quarterback Josh Freeman, who made his first start in a 23-7 loss on Monday Night Football against the previously winless New York Giants.
The end result left many saying he was set up to fail.
Simplicity took a bad seat to ineffective as Freeman threw 33 incompletions, dropping his league-low 43.5% even further during his first outing as a Vikings quarterback.
A member of the team for just two weeks, Freeman looked rusty as he hadn’t played since Sept. 22. However, in his last game as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Freeman completed just 19-of-41 passes in a loss at New England.
Struggles aside, it was obvious from Freeman’s midseason signing that the Vikings wanted to evaluate him as their potential long-term answer. But that philosophy was taken to the extreme on Monday night as Freeman threw 53 passes to running back Adrian Peterson’s 13 carries.
On Sept. 4, prior to the start of the regular season, FootballOutsiders.com – one of the top football analytics sites on the web — projected the Minnesota Vikings as the team most likely to pick No. 1 overall in the 2014 draft.
Football Outsiders gave the Vikings a 4.9% chance to make the playoffs and a 0.1% chance to win the Super Bowl.
We all laughed.
While the Jacksonville Jaguars are leaders in the clubhouse to pick No. 1 overall, nobody should be laughing anymore at the notion that the Vikings are one of the worst teams in the NFL. Not after the embarrassment we saw on Monday night in front of a national audience.
Consider this: The previously winless New York Giants averaged 2.0 yards per carry and 4.9 yards per pass on offense. Eli Manning needed 39 passes just to reach 200 yards. The Giants also fumbled four times, were hit for 72 yards in penalties and handed the ball 18 times to Peyton Hillis, who they signed off the street on Wednesday. Check that. Hillis was actually volunteering as an assistant coach at a high school in Tennessee last week.
And the Giants looked like the 1999 St. Louis Rams standing next to the Vikings.
Everyone deserves to be ripped here.
Jim Souhan at the Star Tribune:
Last time the Vikings played in New Jersey, their quarterback spent most of his postgame interview answering questions about sending illicit texts.
Monday night, the Vikings visited Jersey again, and this time it got embarrassing.
To be a Vikings fan these days, you need a gallon of Pepto-Bismol and a Hazmat suit. Winless in the United States this season, the Vikings might be the worst team in the NFL that does not reside in the state of Florida.
They have failed to look professional in consecutive weeks, and in unpredictable fashion: by imploding at home against an unremarkable Carolina team, then looking unfamiliar with the concept of offensive football on Monday night against a terrible Giants team.
Their 23-7 loss buried memories of their 2012 playoff appearance and transported them back to 2011, when they won only three games and began another desperate search for a franchise quarterback.
Worse, these kinds of losses transport them back to 2010, when they got their coach fired in the middle of the season.
They might be searching for a coach and quarterback this winter. Or by November.