After quarterback Josh Freeman secured his freedom from the Buccaneers (along with the right to collect the balance of his $8.43 million base salary), he selected the Vikings as his next destination.
The Vikings then rushed him to the field for a Monday night start against the Giants only two weeks after joining the team. He threw 53 passes, emerged with a concussion, quickly healed, and then disappeared.
A first-round pick in 2009 who had twice led the Bucs to victories over the Vikings in the Metrodome, Freeman has fallen out of a two-man quarterback rotation that spins from Christian Ponder to Matt Cassel back to Ponder.
So why are the Vikings continuing to pay Freeman $166,667 per week to not contribute? They could cut him at any time and owe him nothing, banking the cash and carrying the ensuing cap savings forward to 2014.
Apart from saving face for signing him in the first place, keeping Freeman makes him available for emergency duty, and it gives Minnesota exclusive negotiating rights on a new deal until March. But if the Vikings aren’t ready to play Freeman after having him in the building for two months, why would they want to make a long-term commitment to him?
The bigger question that never will be answered is whether the Vikings would still sign Freeman, if they knew in October what they know now. It’s likely safe to assume Freeman would have made a different decision.