No staff or personnel changes as Vikings roll with Josh Freeman
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Dropping five of the first six games of the season just nine months removed from a playoff appearance is usually the recipe for a few firings in the NFL.
After a drubbing to the previously winless New York Giants on Monday Night Football, the Minnesota Vikings have now lost their last two games by a combined score of 58-17 -- only three of those points coming from offensive drives in meaningful situations of the games.
Coach Leslie Frazier said there will be no coaching changes or shuffling of duties, such as playcalling, despite falling to 1-5 on the season after their third starting quarterback of the season, Josh Freeman, tried and failed in his debut.
"We felt confident going into it that we'd have success doing some of the things we had in place," Frazier said. "It didn't happen."
"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."
Frazier pointed out lapses in Freeman's footwork and technique that led to 16 overthrows on 33 incompletions [48%], according to ESPN Stats and Information. Freeman was likely shaking off the rust of not playing for a month as well, but it was clear the Giants defenders had telegraphed Vikings receivers routes by the second half.
It's also not farfetched to assume Freeman threw more passes (53) than combinations of plays and options he knew to run after getting less than two weeks to acclimate into the system.
"The ball kind of sailed on him a few different times. But I don't think it was a lack of preparation," Frazier said. "
The Vikings offense has been dismal under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who has ran running back Adrian Peterson just 23 times in the previous two games -- the lowest two-game count since 2011. Peterson ran the ball just five times in the second half on Monday, the majority of which the Vikings were down just two scores.
Frazier placed blame on every positional group in the offense for not getting the running game going, as they averaged just 2.1 yards per carry, but he accepted the blame for his coordinators again as he called out for more balance in the offense.
"We can be more balanced," 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. That's on us to be more balanced."
As the Vikings season circles the drain, Freeman will get continued starts to prove himself, but the excuses will only run out the longer he's here. Inaccuracy was one of quarterback Christian Ponder's deadly sins and he watched from the sideline on Monday night when Freeman couldn't get the ball within five yards of his receivers.
Frazier needs wins and general manager Rick Spielman needs a quarterback for the future. Whether or not it was Frazier's decision, Freeman was rushed and failed in his first start with a national audience watching.
Frazier said he's not obligated to start Freeman, but his endorsement left a lot to be desired.
"Yeah, I mean, [Freeman] is ready to go. We'll get him back out there if he's ready to go."