Just two weeks after getting released by the Bucs, quarterback Josh Freeman will start for the Vikings against the Giants on Monday Night Football.
Freeman, 25, gets the nod over Matt Cassel, who started the last two games for Minnesota, and Christian Ponder, who was a healthy scratch, with coach Leslie Frazier saying Freeman's track record and performance in practice warranted the opportunity.
"It's something we had in mind when we acquired him," Frazier said "I think now is the time."
You know Freeman will be motivated, with a chance to rejuvenate his career on the national stage, having signed a one-year deal with the Vikings Oct. 8, shortly after getting cut by Tampa Bay. Coach Greg Schiano had benched the team's long-time starter in favor of rookie Mike Glennon, saying it was a performance-based decision that gave the Bucs the best chance to win.
"That's the underlying question I've been getting from a lot of people, do I have a chip on my shoulder? Sure I do," Freeman told reporters in Minnesota. "But I do think it's more deeply rooted than the past six months, 12 months. I just want to go out and be great."
Freeman said it's been a "smooth adjustment" with the Vikings, being able to focus "strictly on football." He emphasized the organization is dedicated on "being quality human beings off the field." "They do things the right way over here," Freeman said.
Bucs left tackle Donald Penn sent a congratulatory text message to Freeman once he heard out, saying he's "pulling for" his good friend.
"I'm excited for him," Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson said. "I think he's going to do well. He's a good young quarterback. I think it's another opportunity for him to redeem himself. I look forward to watching him play. Wish him nothing but the best of luck."
For Freeman, the Bucs 2009 first-round draft pick, it was an unceremonious - and messy - ending in Tampa Bay. The NFLPA believes that Schiano leaked Josh Freeman's confidential medical information and the union wants to jointly investigate the issue with the NFL.
General manager Mark Dominik said on Sunday the team has nothing to hide. "We're not afraid of an investigation," he said. "We would welcome it."
Freeman's Bucs teammates believed he'd get another shot, and on Monday, it appears he will.