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Kevin Schnepf, Published October 20 2013

Schnepf: Freeman another quarterback on Minnesota's long list of starters since 2005


Tonight when the Minnesota Vikings play the New York Giants in what could be the biggest prime time TV flop since “Sharknado,” Josh Freeman will be the 12th starting quarterback for the Vikings since 2005.

Quick, can you name one NFL team that has trotted out more starting QBs in that time span?

If you said Oakland, you are correct. The Raiders have had 14.

Can you name the three NFL teams that have equaled the Vikings’ quarterback carousel?

If you said Miami, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, you win a free ticket to the next Vikings’ home game. Sorry, it was either that or a free DVD of “Sharknado.”

These numbers explain why Viking fans are afflicted with atychiphobia – the fear of failure. Let’s make up a new anxiety to better explain our plight: takeahikeaphobia – the fear of quarterback failure.

None of the above-mentioned teams have had winning percentages to brag about this century. Since 2000, the 10 teams that have won the most are teams whose fans have avoided takeahikeaphobia. In other words, their teams have found quarterbacks who can last.

Topping that list is New England, which has had only two starting quarterbacks since 2005 (Tom Brady, who because of an injury was once replaced by Matt Cassel). By the way, Cassel is now a Vikings QB – who after two starts – is being replaced by Freeman.

Rounding out the top 10 is Indianapolis with five QBs since 2005 (Peyton Manning); Pittsburgh with four (Ben Roethlisberger), Philadelphia with eight (Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick), Green Bay with three (Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers), Baltimore with five (Joe Flacco), Tennessee with 10 (the Titans mysteriously snuck into this list), Denver with six (now with Peyton Manning) and New Orleans with four (Drew Brees).

The other team in this list is the New York Giants, who will start Eli Manning against the Vikings tonight. Amazingly, he has been the only starting quarterback for the Giants since 2005. And even though the Giants are still searching for their first win and Manning has thrown twice as many interceptions than the Vikings (15-7), this quarterback has at least won two Super Bowls.

You can’t say that for any quarterback on the Vikings – not even Fran Tarkenton, who was a starter for 12 seasons, nor Tommy Kramer, who was a starter for eight seasons. Rich Gannon tried and failed to reach a Super Bowl for the Vikings, but later did with Oakland. The Vikings even recruited Super Bowl quarterbacks but failed with Jim McMahon and Brett Favre.

Oh, the agony if you’re a Vikings fan. Finding a quarterback has been as difficult as it was trying to watch the Dodgers and Cardinals play baseball on a Cable One channel. It was impossible.

After Daunte Culpepper passed for 4,700 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2004, he fell off the face of the earth playing pick-up games for the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Enter 38-year-old Brad Johnson, the oldest QB in the NFL in 2006, who threw twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes.

In 2007, it was Tarvaris Jackson (now Seattle’s backup), Kelly Holcomb (now retired) and Grand Forks’ Brooks Bollinger (now a quarterbacks coach at the University of Pittsburgh). In 2008, the Vikings tried Gus Ferrotte (now a high school coach in the St. Louis area).

Then came Favre, who despite having one of his best seasons ever, will be remembered for throwing an interception that kept the Vikings from the Super Bowl. The next season, he showed his age, got banged up and was replaced by Joe Webb – who showed he is not an NFL quarterback.

McNabb was supposed to be the answer in 2011. He was 1-5 as a starter before being replaced by a rookie named Christian Ponder. Ponder threw 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. That trend continued until early this season, when Viking coaches finally realized he may never be an NFL starter and replaced him with Cassel.

Which leads us to tonight, when Freeman becomes the 12th quarterback for the Vikings since 2005. He has the potential to become only the sixth quarterback in Vikings history to last for more than three seasons. Then again, if he flops tonight and takeahikeaphobia starts affecting us Vikings fans again, I just may start watching that DVD of “Sharknado.”

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at

(701) 241-5549 or kschnepf@forumcomm.com.

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com