Despite an abysmal performance from Josh Freeman in his Vikings debut, head coach Leslie Frazier said he would make the same choice for his starting quarterback if he had to do it all over again.
In fact, he will do it all over again this Sunday night in another nationally televised game against the Green Bay Packers and Freeman will be Frazier's starting quarterback once again, the coach confirmed Tuesday in his day-after press conference.
"We really felt like we put together a good plan, as I've said repeatedly. And watching him execute that plan in practice, we felt confident going into it that we'd have success doing some of the things we had in place. It didn't happen," Frazier said. "But there was nothing I look back at that week in preparation that would have indicated that we would have come up with zero points from an offensive standpoint."
The Vikings lost 23-7 to the New York Giants on Monday Night Footbal and Freeman struggled to connect with his receiving targets after only two weeks of practice with the Vikings. He completed 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
While he will get another shot Sunday night – Frazier wouldn't commit to him for the rest of the season yet – the coaches hope to handle things differently, with Frazier saying he never anticipated that Freeman would be throwing the ball 53 times.
Running back Adrian Peterson was held to 28 yards on 13 carries. His 2.2-yard average was the lowest for him since 2010.
"We can be more balanced. Some of it had to do with how well they were playing run defense and creating some situations we thought we could take advantage of in the passing game," Frazier said. "We went into that they were pretty stout against the run, but we knew that they were going to put a lot of people in the box, like everybody does at the line of scrimmage, and we thought that we could take advantage of some things down the field with their secondary, and we weren't able to. We had some opportunities. There were some moments where we were close to getting something done and it didn't happen. We probably can be more balanced from a numbers standpoint. That's on us to be more balanced."
Instead, the Vikings ended up with more than three times as many passes as rushes.
According to ESPN, Freeman's 16 overthrown passes were the most since they started tracking that statistic in 2006.
The struggles and inaccuracy for Freeman started early. He completed only 7 of 16 passes for 74 yards in the first half, but Frazier said there was "no obligation" to keep Freeman in the game.
"There really wasn't. That didn't cross my mind because of what you just said – we're right there, just one play," Frazier said. "Even in the early part of the fourth quarter, I think we're 17-7 maybe, I can't remember the exact time, but we were in striking distance throughout until maybe four, five minutes left when they got the field goal to get a two-touchdown, a three-score game. No. I just felt like either our defense or our special teams would make a play or our offense would make a play because we were so close. And it just didn't happen."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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