Josh Freeman likely to practice Friday, but inactive for Sunday
This isn’t a surprising development considering that on Wednesday Frazier already named Christian Ponder as the Vikings’ plan B in the event that Freeman was not ready for the Packers game.
Freeman said he suffered the concussion in the third quarter of Monday night’s loss to the New York Giants, but he did not inform the team about any symptoms during the game. Since then, there has been skepticism around the circumstance and legitimacy of his head injury, with most recently NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison even doubting that Freeman suffered a concussion during the game.
"I can't say that I believe that he has a concussion," Harrison said on the Amani & Eytan Show on NBC Sports Radio. "I can't say that I'm 100 percent sold out. I'm not trying to doubt the seriousness of his injury, if he has one, but it just seems like a convenient excuse to get out of a situation. That's what it seems like. ...”
"I played safety at a high level for a long time and I was bangin' and I never missed a game because of a concussion,” he added, “so it just seems like an excuse to me."
But Frazier confirmed on Thursday that Freeman has passed a portion of the NFL-mandated concussion protocol, which opens the possibility of his return for Friday’s practice.
"[Freeman] was much better today,” Frazier said. “So he got through part of the tests and he's got part of the test to go through [Friday]. He may be practicing tomorrow, maybe."
"(But since) he hasn't practiced for two days in a short week, I don't think we'll put him out there in that situation," Frazier added.
Although Freeman certainly will not start on Sunday, his return to the practice field is a good sign for the Vikings who have won only one game this season. Moreover, Freeman needs all the practice he can get at this stage following his rocky debut as the Vikings’ starting quarterback on Monday. Freeman completed just 20-of-53 passes for 190 yards and an interception, often overthrowing to his receivers on many of the plays.
But the Vikings could be looking to straighten out their issues with Freeman after new quarterback, who was clearly unprepared to perform in his new offense, has a few additional practices under his belt. But meanwhile Ponder could be looking to use this opportunity to take back the starting job that used to be his before the Vikings brought Freeman into the mix in early October. Ponder will be backed up by Matt Cassel on Sunday night.
"I think it was good for me to kind of take a step back for a couple weeks and take a deep breath and learn from those first three games and get out there and play better," Ponder said. "I'm excited for this opportunity. What a great way to come back out against the Packers at home. It'll be fun."