Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 15:10
The Minnesota Vikings signed recently released Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman late Sunday night to a $3 million deal for the rest of the season.
The sports world wasn’t shocked when Freeman’s agent announced on Twitter that his quarterback was coming to Minneapolis. The Vikings have been off to an extremely slow start and have had some, for a lack of a better term, crappy quarterback play.
The 25-year-old Freeman will join Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder at the quarterback position in a last ditch effort by the Vikings to save the season.
“… I’ve had a lot of respect for Josh all the way to when he was coming out in the pre-draft process (in 2009), and how much time we spent with him before the draft that year,” Viking General Manager Rick Spielman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We monitor the waiver wire every night and if there is anyone at any position who we feel can help our 53 (roster) and potentially improve our ball club, we’re always going to be aggressive and do that.”
Vikings fans everywhere made their voices heard on Twitter and the general reaction has been more optimism than disgust. Even our very own sports editor at The Spectrum, Sam Herder, got into the mix posting this legendary tweet: “Freeman, Ponder, Cassel: start one, bench one, kill on. Go.”
Herder brings up a good question amid his 134 retweets, which quarterback will stay and which one will leave town? Reports say Cassel will start this Sunday against Carolina and Freeman is expected to be the guy the rest of the way.
My question is why?
The Vikings have a tendency to sign average NFL players as the fan base erupts, blinding themselves from reality. Freeman has the skillset to be a great quarterback, but what he gets killed for is his consistency. That’s what I’m most worried about.
Football Outsiders explains DVOA as “Doing a better job of distributing credit for scoring points and winning games is the goal of DVOA, or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. DVOA breaks down every single play of the NFL season, assigning each play a value based on both total yards and yards towards a first down.” (I encourage you to visit Football Outsiders website for a greater understanding of advanced metric statistics.)
An average DVOA for a quarterback is 0.0 percent. Through the first four weeks of the season, Russell Wilson’s DVOA was 2.2 percent and Cam Newton was at 1.7 percent—this is an accurate portrayal of average quarterback play. Through the first four weeks of the season, Freeman’s DVOA was at -22.5 percent. This ranked Freeman 31st among quarterbacks, 4.8 percent worse than the corpse, Carson Palmer, and 12.9 percent worse than ACL-less Brian Hoyer.
An analytical assessment of Freeman’s production this season tells you he has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL this season. I’m afraid the Vikings organization were blinded by Freeman’s performance against Minnesota throughout his career and figured this season must be a fluke.
Freeman has started two games in his career against the Vikings. Here is his stat line in those two games.
• 42-67, 62.7 completion percent, 505 yards, five touchdowns, one interception and two wins.
Freeman’s start to this season has been a little “fluky,” but if the Vikings expect him to be the savior that leads this team to the playoffs, than they’re more delusional than Le’Marcus Stewart is about the Bison defense.
I’m not convinced anything good will come of this Freeman signing, and foresee no improvement to a team that has its fair share of struggles elsewhere on the team.