Around the Horns: Freeman brings hope

Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

The Vikings officially named Josh Freeman their starting quarterback on Wednesday, which gave Freeman an opportunity to fire an "I told you so" back at Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. But Freeman didn't take the chance, turning a question about a chip on his shoulder into a statement about how he wants to play the game.

"A lot of the underlying questions I’ve been getting from a lot of people are, ‘Do I have a chip on my shoulder?’" Freeman said. "Sure, I do, but I think it’s more deeply rooted than just the past six months, 12 months. I just want to go out there and be great."

That declaration, according to Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, revealed more fire from Freeman than he's seen from either Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel. And as Souhan writes, the Freeman experiment gives the Vikings another shot to turn their dismal start to the 2013 season into something meaningful.

"For Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, Freeman is a growth stock," Souhan writes. "For Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, Freeman could be a savior. As hopeless as the Vikings’ season looks right now, a good quarterback can change everything, in terms of immediate success and long-term planning."

We discussed some similar themes on Wednesday, looking at how Freeman could give Spielman a chance to reframe the discussion about his ability to pick a quarterback. The Vikings' GM liked Freeman heading into the 2009 draft, and might have taken him had he been available to the Vikings with the 22nd overall pick. If Freeman works out, the Vikings could have their quarterback for the next few years, which would allow the GM to sidestep some criticism about picking Ponder in 2011. And Frazier, who probably needs wins to keep his job, could see his team get a boost from a new quarterback.

It could all play out horribly, too, but the Vikings have reason to take the risk at this point.

Here are Thursday's other Vikings stories of note: