Freeman vs. NFC North

Josh Freeman won't be starting Sunday, but he could be in place for the Vikings' first game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 27 and should be the starter for Vikings' second tour of the division starting on Nov. 24. We look at how Freeman has fared against the Vikings' competition in the NFC North.

Josh Freeman's performance against the Minnesota Vikings kept their interest in him at a high level. His performance against the other NFC North teams will help determine if he is around for another season.

Overall, the Vikings' latest quarterback acquisition – they signed Freeman to a contract that will keep him in Minnesota until the end of the season for an additional $2 million – has a 24-36 record as a starter.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Freeman won't be ready to start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, and Freeman said one of the attractions to sign with Minnesota was that he didn't have to start immediately without getting a decent look at the playbook.

"In all honestly, from a standpoint of a career move, something that I really liked about the Vikings is that they've got a guy. They've got a situation where I can come in and learn the system," Freeman said. "Whether they call for me and they need me to play, that's one thing, but it's just an opportunity to kind of pump the brakes. It's been a pretty crazy past few weeks and just really get back to the reason we're all here and that's playing football."

However, both Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman indicated that Freeman will get the opportunity to start in the near future in order to get a better assessment of his skills in the Vikings offense for a potential long-term contract. That won't start this week against the Carolina Panthers. It might not begin on Oct. 21 against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.

But if not then, Freeman's debut could come the following week in another prime-time game when the Vikings host the Green Bay Packers the night of Oct. 27 for NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Freeman has a 3-4 record against the NFC North, completing 61.5 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 84.6 rating.

  • Against the Bears: He has completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 264 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions and a 51.4 rating in his only game against them.

  • In two games against the Lions, both losses, Freeman completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 510 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, compiling an 88.2 rating.

  • He has a 1-1 record against the Green Bay Packers, completing 60.9 percent of his passes for 547 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions for a 91.9 rating.

    Of course, it was his two wins against the Vikings that made a big impression on the Vikings brass. Against them, Freeman completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 505 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a 98.2 rating.

    Freeman's best season was in 2010, when he completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 25 touchdowns and six interceptions and a 95.9 rating. His completion percentage has dropped each of the past three years – from a career-high 62.8 in 2011, to 54.8 in 2012, and 45.7 in three games this year.

    Last year, however, was his career best in terms of yardage, throwing for 4,065 yards and tying a career best with a 7.3 yards per attempt. He threw 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions and had an 81.6 rating.

    He views last year as his best season.

    "I feel last year we hit a nice little stretch and that was probably the best I played, the most in tune, the most with the defense, understanding the D-coordinator and going out and putting it all together and scoring points," he said. "That's, in my opinion, the best I've played."

    Although he doesn't have a 100 rating against any of the NFC North teams, Freeman does have a 100-plus rating against five other teams in the NFL – the Seahawks, Chargers, Raiders, Chiefs and Cardinals.

    But it will be his performance against the NFC North that could, in large part, determine his longevity in Minnesota, and the Vikings second full tour against the NFC North comes between Nov. 24 and Dec. 29.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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