Fantasy Impact: Minnesota Vikings Add Josh Freeman

By ericbeuning
Mark L. Baer USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings‘ signing of Josh Freeman opens up a lot of interesting questions in the world of Fantasy Football.  Anyone who has taken a couple of minutes to watch a Vikings game this season has seen some very low quality play come out of Christian Ponder splashed with moments of excitement when Matt Cassel filled in for him.

Last year Christian Ponder was the 31st ranked starting quarterback in the NFL.  The only quarterback worse than him was Matt Cassel when he was at the helm for the Kansas City Chiefs.

By comparison Josh Freeman commanded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ passing game to a 10th ranked statistical rating.  Granted that is to be tempered by the fact that he was throwing to an improved talent pool manned by Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.

This year we have seen games put up by Vikings receivers Jerome Simpson and Greg Jennings who made Cassel and Ponder look good.  However a lot of those plays were either long catches where a corner was beat deep or a short pass that broke free.  Very few of those spectacular stat lines were a product of Cassel or Ponder throwing a great pass after making a great read.

Taking these things into account we have to assume that Josh Freeman will be an upgrade of opportunities for Simpson and Jennings.  Once Freeman assumes the starting role and finds himself in the playbook you can probably take the spots for Simpson and Jennings on your roster and bump them up a notch.  Freeman probably even makes both of them into quality No. 2 receivers.

This is a situation that can only help Adrian Peterson in the long run.  A lot of the big plays made by Jennings and Simpson were a product of defenses stacking the box to stop Peterson.  Once Freeman is properly dialed in opposing defenses will be forced to respect the pass more and take a man or two out of the box.

Probably the biggest beneficiary of this deal is tight end Kyle Rudolph.  Freeman has an eye for finding the tight end as a relief receiver.  It is essentially impossible for Freeman to master the Vikings’ playbook this year, and opposing defenses are sure to blitz often to try to force him into making mistakes.  Combine this demand for a dump off pass with Rudolph’s enormous catch radius and I think we’ll see a stellar bounce back for him in the second half of the season.

As for the question of whether or not you should grab Freeman yourself?  If you’re hurting for backup quarterback on a key bye week late in the season, he is still probably worth a stash.  He’s a great pairing for someone who owns Tom Brady, as the Vikings take on the hapless defense of the Washington Redskins in Week 10.

Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for

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