Sunday had to be one of the lowest points I can think of for the Vikings and I was there from Game No. 1 in 1961. The home crowd has always been such an advantage first at the Met -- and even more so now at the Metrodome with the sound of the fans just booming all game long. Even watching the game on television you can feel the intensity. But watching last weekend's game against the Panthers I didn't hear anything. The team's performance gave nothing to get excited about from start to finish. When your team plays like that at home against a struggling opponent then it is time for everybody to re-evaluate -- from the owners to the people handing out water bottles. I thought that with a good win in London two weeks ago and then a bye week to prepare the Vikings were ready to pick up a couple of more wins and turn the ship around before the Packers come to town for a major test in Week 8. That didn't happen. After Matt Cassel played a very professional game against the Steelers I thought he deserved another shot to start and win the job over Christian Ponder (and new pickup Josh Freeman). But Sunday he looked like a journeyman backup quarterback and that won't get the job done for this team. Now it's at the point that Vikings fans have to look to Freeman to be the savior. But after watching him start for four years in Tampa I think that if we need Freeman to be the savior then we're all going to hell. At this point he might as well get the start Monday night against the Giants as long as he's comfortable with the offense and his teammates. There's a chance he figures it out and plays well and you can hope that happens. But hope is not a strategy and the odds are against him. We have seen enough these past years to know he is probably not the long-term answer either. Without a good quarterback it is practically impossible to win consistently in the NFL. You can have winning seasons like the Vikings did last season but to win year after year you have to have a good reliable performer under center. It's a quarterbacks' league these days and the Vikings have not done a great job of finding future stars at the position. There have been too many Band-Aids over the years. Some played well (at least for a year) such as a 40-year-old Brett Favre a 35-year-old Randall Cunningham or a 38-year-old Warren Moon. Others didn't have it anymore such as Donovan McNabb who didn't last a season getting waived a week after turning 35. There was Brad Johnson Gus Frerotte Jim McMahon Jeff George -- no matter whether they succeeded or failed none was the quarterback of the future and everyone knew it before they took their first snaps as Vikings.
Fran Tarkenton: Josh Freeman? Vikings savior? Look out below
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Oct 16