The Minnesota Vikings may not have much of a chance to make the playoffs, but their Week Seven contest marks a fresh start for their starting quarterback. Josh Freeman is set to make his debut with the team when they visit the winless New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
Freeman was released from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers three weeks ago. Now, he’s out to prove that he can still be a productive quarterback in the NFL.
“They didn’t see me as the guy,” Freeman told the Dan Patrick Show. “They didn’t see me as the guy who could get it done and I strongly disagree with that. But at the same time, it’s not really my decision to make. It’s just been an awesome deal, being blessed, having the opportunity to come play with an organization like Minnesota.”
The signal caller might think he’s capable of being successful, but he’ll need to play a lot better that he did with Tampa Bay if he wants to remain the starter. Since being drafted in 2009, Freeman has been very inconsistent. He was benched by head coach Greg Schiano after just three games this season. The Bucs went winless with Freeman at the helm, who was at the bottom of the league with a 45.7 completion percentage and 59.3 passer rating.
In his first game with the Vikings, Freeman doesn’t have very big shoes to fill. Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel have led Minnesota to a 1-4 record and last place in the NFC North. Cassel was an improvement over Ponder in his two starts, but his last game saw the Vikings get blown out at home to the Carolina Panthers.
The Giants haven’t had much controversy at quarterback, but Eli Manning has played about as poorly at his position as anybody in 2013. He’s the only starter to have a worse rating than Freeman. The two-time Super Bowl MVP ranks in the top 10 in yards per game, but his 15 interceptions lead the league.
"It's not fun playing this game and losing and not feeling like you're helping your team," Manning said. "But it's not going to change the way I treat each day or treat each practice and treat the games. I'm going to compete. I'm going to work hard and do whatever I can do to try to put our team in a situation to win a game."
Manning hasn’t had much help in 2013, playing behind a banged up offensive line and with a poor rushing attack. Starter David Wilson is likely out until 2014 and Brandon Jacobs, who was signed during the season, will probably miss Monday’s contest because of a hamstring injury. Newly signed Peyton Hills is expected to get bulk of the carries. Rookie Michael Cox could see increased playing time, as well.
The Vikings have a clear advantage over the Giants with Adrian Peterson in the backfield. It’s the star running back’s second game since the death of his son. The Vikings played the Panthers just two days after Peterson’s son passed away, and on Wednesday, he attended the funeral.
"I'm standing strong, man. I am," Peterson said. "My main focus has been on my son. ... Just trying to wrap my head around things and trying to stay focused and play ball as well. So things have been tough, but I can handle a lot. I'm built for anything that comes my way. This right here will pass."
Las Vegas Betting Odds: New York favored by 3.5 points
Over-Under: 47.5 points
Where To Watch Online: WatchESPN
Kickoff Time: 8:30 PM Eastern Time
TV Channel: ESPN
Prediction: New York 27, Minnesota 17