Josh Freeman to start for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Quarterback Josh Freeman will make his first start for the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night against the New York Giants, coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday.

"Our anticipation is he will play well," Frazier said.

The team initially planned to give Freeman more time to get ready after signing him last Monday, but once Frazier saw how fluent Freeman was in the Vikings' offense during a scout team session after practice last Wednesday, he began to think he could speed up the timetable.

Freeman had something of a head start on the Vikings' system from his days at Kansas State, where he played for Ron Prince, who worked with Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave when the two were at Virginia.

"I took out my old books, and started going through, looking at some of the different principle concepts in the offense, the run game," Freeman said. "There's a lot of carryover to different concepts. We've just been grinding. Some stuff sticks faster than others, but it's been good."

Asked if he has something to prove after the way things ended for him with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Freeman said, "Do I have a chip on my shoulder? Sure I do. But I think it's more deeply rooted than just the past six months, 12 months. It's just wanting to go out and wanting to be great."

Christian Ponder will be the backup Monday, Frazier said. Matt Cassel had started the past two games at quarterback while Ponder was sidelined with a rib injury.

Frazier said he had talked to all three quarterbacks about the decision, and while he added he's hoping Freeman plays well, he hadn't considered the possibility of Ponder not being on the roster.

Asked if he would welcome a trade now that he is about to miss his third straight game, Ponder said, "I have to figure out what's best for me and everything and for this team. I don't know if that's staying here or going somewhere else."

The Vikings signed Freeman last week after he was released by the Buccaneers after several run-ins with the coaching staff over the past few months.

The former first-round pick threw for 571 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, completing just 45.7 percent of his passes, in three games with Tampa Bay this season before he was benched by coach Greg Schiano in favor of rookie Mike Glennon and later released.