Notebook: Better prepared, Josh Freeman waiting on an opportunity
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - When Josh Freeman made his only start for the Minnesota Vikings to date, he had to rely on notes to key him of his role for the limited plays he knew.
A member of the Vikings for 13 days before he was ushered into the starting lineup against the New York Giants, Freeman was called upon to throw 53 times in the 23-7 loss in which the offense was shutout for the first - and only - time this season.
In the 23 days since the Oct. 21 loss, Freeman has been inactive for two of the three games and was a healthy scratch against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 3. He served as the third, emergency quarterback in Thursday's win over the Washington Redskins.
"It was such a narrow focus coming in that week and understanding the exact plays," Freeman said. "Now kind of having a grasp of the entire offense rather than specific notes for each play, it's allowing me to relax and play my game a little more."
Freeman suffered a concussion in the loss to the Giants, which sidelined him for a week and allowed an easy transition for quarterback Christian Ponder back to starter.
Ponder has a 1-2 record since, grabbing his first victory of the season in a 34-27 win over the Redskins on Thursday. However, Ponder dislocated his non-throwing shoulder in the third quarter, which rekindled the uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder will get his seventh start of the season on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks if he can play, which is a matter of pain tolerance and taking hits in the left shoulder.
But whether Freeman is next in line to start this week is unclear.
The pecking order appeared to remain Ponder-Matt Cassel-Freeman at practice on Wednesday. Ponder was listed as limited on the official injury report.
"There's a chance for [Freeman or Cassel starting]," Frazier said. "We'll talk about it depending on Christian's health and take a look at how the guys are preparing and how well we think they're ready for this ballgame between the two, Matt or Josh."
Freeman has about five weeks of Vikings' practice under his belt, which is more time than he's spent as a starter this season. With a better grasp of the game plan, Freeman claimed he'll be more comfortable his next time out - more like the 2011 Pro Bowl alternate version that threw for 25 touchdowns.
So far, the Vikings have 33 incompletions and no touchdowns in the only start of their $2 million midseason addition.
"I'm a competitor, you live to play on Sundays. You don't live to play throughout the week, though practice is a huge part of it leading up to Sundays. It's a role they placed on me for now," Freeman said. "If I get an opportunity, I'll be ready to go."
Percy Harvin to debut vs. Vikings?
Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin has not played a snap for his new team, but will likely make his debut in blue and teal on Sunday against his former team in the Minnesota Vikings.
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell coached Harvin as the Vikings' offensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson believes that will help Harvin assimilate into the offense quickly in his first outing.
"I don't think there's too much of a challenge," Wilson said. "[Harvin] understands the offense...he was here in training camp, OTAs, he comes to meetings and all that."
Without Harvin, Wilson has guided the Seahawks to a 9-1 record as they've gone without their starting offensive line group since the season opener. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll reportedly said this week that center Max Unger (concussion), left tackle Russell Okung (toe) and right tackle Breno Giacomini (knee) could all return on Sunday.
Harvin has not played since Nov. 4, 2012, in a game against the Seahawks when he was a member of the Vikings. Harvin had surgery on a torn labrum in his hip this summer and was activated from the physically unable to perform list this week.
Carroll said Harvin practiced on Wednesday, but it's not certain he plays.
"He's a tough guy. He's strong and also very fast, elusive," cornerback Josh Robinson said. "He's a guy that has a lot of talent, one of the best I ever faced. I look forward to the challenge."
Practice squad addition
The Vikings added offensive tackle Jamaal Johnson-Webb to the practice squad. The Carolina Panthers added guard Travis Bond off the Vikings' practice squad to their 53-man roster on Wednesday.
Bond was one of the Vikings' seventh-round picks in April. Fellow seventh-round pick and defensive tackle Everett Dawkins was claimed off the practice squad last week by the Dallas Cowboys. Only linebacker Michael Mauti, who is on the Vikings' active roster, remains of their three final round selections.
Johnson-Webb went undrafted last spring and signed with the Arizona Cardinals shortly after. He went through the Cardinals' offseason programs and training camp until he was cut on Aug. 31. The Chicago Bears added him to their practice squad before releasing him on Sept. 24.