As bad as Josh Freeman was in the Monday night debacle in New York, the bigger problem, in my view, was the Minnesota offensive line. Not only did Adrian Peterson not see a hole all night, Freeman almost never ended a play in the standing position. When you watch Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, you see them surgically carving the secondary without ever getting hit. When a defensive player “gets to” Manning or Brady, it is considered an accomplishment. Last night, Freeman, a big, mobile quarterback, was on the ground, with a Giant atop him, practically every time he threw. It’s no wonder his passes were off the mark. Of course, the unimaginative pass routes of the Vikings receivers didn’t help. This has been my complaint for years; how can this happen in the ultrasophisticated NFL? My pass routes in the RFL were more likely to get someone open. On one play, Freeman sprinted out to the right where he had two receivers. One ran a simple 10-yard square-out; the other did the same at 18. Both, not surprisingly, were covered and Freeman threw the ball away. I haven’t seen a Viking receiver run a post pattern or a zig-and-zag in years. Or the effective route Victor Cruz ran last night: fly 20 yards, then turn and come back toward the passer for an easy 12-yard-gain.
The Vikings have no imagination and, Jared Allen excepted, no fire. Among their defensive backs they have little skill, and certainly none of the aggressiveness required to outfight the receiver for the ball. Leslie Frazier is, it is now obvious, not the coach to fire up this squad. Nor, I am afraid, is Josh Freeman, who seemed to be in his own world most of the game. His “attitude” seemed to prevent him from relating to anyone around him, not a good sign for the future. And as for that, I don’t think Freeman’s future is in Minneapolis. Even, in their desperation, should the Vikings try to keep him, I can’t imagine that he would choose to play behind Minnesota’s offensive line any longer than necessary.