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Updated: October 6th, 2013 10:36pm
Free agent quarterback Josh Freeman to Vikings

Free agent quarterback Josh Freeman to Vikings

by Andrew Krammer
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Josh Freeman on a one-year deal, sources told 1500ESPN.com contributor Darren Wolfson. 

Erik Burkhardt, Freeman's agent, had this to say on Twitter late Sunday.

Freeman, 25, was in his fourth full season as the starter in Tampa Bay before the Buccaneers benched their former 17th-overall pick after an 0-3 start. A reported schism between Freeman and coach Greg Schiano led to Freeman's attempted trade and ultimate release.

He's got a 24-35 record as a starter, regressing after his best statistical season in 2010, when the Buccaneers finished 10-6 off of Freeman's Pro Bowl year -- 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.

In a little more than two seasons since, Freeman is 11-23 as a starter, with 45 touchdowns to 42 interceptions. He lost eight of his last nine games in Tampa Bay.

Freeman was the third quarterback selected in the 2009 draft, behind Matthew Stafford (1st) and Mark Sanchez (5th). He's the only of the three without a playoff appearance.

The Vikings now find themselves with three somewhat serviceable quarterbacks in Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Freeman. Ponder began the season to the tune of five interceptions and two fumbles in an 0-3 start before a rib injury sidelined him before the team's Sept. 29 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London. Cassel threw for two touchdown and no interceptions in the 34-27 win, but coach Leslie Frazier was noncommital during the bye week in choosing a starter.

'Serviceable' doesn't necessarily mean overly successful, however. Here's the three quarterbacks' starting records:

Cassel: 30-33 [.476]
Ponder: 12-17 [.412]
Freeman: 24-35 [.407]

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Freeman's deal is worth about $3 million, which means the Vikings now have three quarterbacks on roster at or near that premium. Ponder ($2.7 million) and Cassel ($3.7 million) both carry relataively heavy pricetags should they be on the bench.

It's not certain what role Freeman will play coming in, but signing another quarterback after adding a veteran backup this offseason in Cassel, certainly shows how far Ponder has fallen in the eyes of general manager Rick Spielman and the coaching staff. If Ponder (ribs) can't go on Oct. 13 against the Carolina Panthers, look for Cassel to get his second consecutive start while Freeman learns the offense.

Championed by Spielman, Ponder was selected with the 12th overall pick in 2011. He's gone 12-17 as a starter, with 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions and a 59.2 career completion percentage.

Even though another quarterback won't fix the NFL's worst secondary, at least one Vikings player was excited to hear the news.


Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for 1500ESPN.com. He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer
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