Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman now has a new home — with the Minnesota Vikings.
The news was first reported by Pro Football Talk late Sunday night and was immediately confirmed by a source close to the situation.
It is a one-year deal said to be worth $3-million, and presents an ideal opportunity for the former 17th overall pick to try and earn himself a starting job (and with what they’re paying him, it’s a very real possibility) while still keeping his options open for the future.
The 1-3 Vikings have been without starter Christian Ponder, who has been suffering from a rib injury and won’t be available until at least Week 6, according to Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier.
Matt Cassel started in Ponder’s place last Sunday and led the Vikings to their first win of the season, a 37-24 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Frazier said earlier this week that Ponder, a 12th-overall pick, is still the team’s starting quarterback, but he was unable to provide a clear timetable for his return, which adds to the intrigue of Freeman’s signing.
Also adding to the intrigue is the fact that Ponder wasn’t posting stellar numbers in his first three games, prior to injury (although neither was Freeman).
Ponder completed 59 of 100 passes for 691 passing yards, two touchdowns, and five interceptions, with a passer rating of 65.9. Freeman completed 43 of 94 passes for 571 passing yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions with a quarterback rating of 59.3.
Like the Bucs, the Vikings’ offense focuses heavily on the efforts of MVP running back Adrian Peterson, who already has 421 rushing yards for the season. That means Freeman wouldn’t have to throw 40+ times a game and gets to take his shots downfield.
He’ll also have the support of Jerome Simpson, who’s currently 13th in the league with 342 receiving yards, and former Green Bay Packer Greg Jennings.
Freeman comes to Minnesota with a 24-35 career record, 13,534 career passing yards, 80 touchdowns and 66 interceptions. He leaves Tampa Bay as the Bucs’ all-time leader in touchdowns, single-season touchdowns (27) and single-season passing yards (4,065).