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NFL notes: Vikings' Frazier defends decision to start Freeman
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Josh Freeman's debut with the Minnesota Vikings was as ragged as could be, a 20-for-53 passing performance that produced no points on offense and raised further questions about how quickly he became the starting quarterback.

Coach Leslie Frazier expressed no day-after regret. Freeman was the right pick to play, Frazier said, and the job is still his this week.

"If I had to do it over again, I don't think I'd do it any differently under the circumstances. I knew exactly why we made the decision. I felt very confident going into the ballgame with the decision," Frazier said Tuesday.

"It didn't work out for us this time."

The Vikings (1-5) signed Freeman less than two weeks prior to his not-ready-for-prime-time showing Monday against the New York Giants, a 23-7 defeat by a previously winless team in a nationally televised debacle that had analysts, fans and even ex-players mocking and criticizing the quality of play by both teams all night.

Frazier, whose hold on his job has grown increasingly tenuous this month with consecutive drubbings by a combined score of 58-17 against the Giants and Carolina Panthers, was doing his best Tuesday to point out some positives, encourage his players and defend his decisions.

Christian Ponder, who had seven turnovers over the first three games, was the backup. Matt Cassel, who guided the Vikings to their only victory but followed that up with two costly interceptions in the loss to the Panthers, was inactive.

Though Freeman looked lost and overwhelmed, Frazier said he believed the 25-year-old's troubles stemmed from physical mistakes and not a lack of understanding of the playbook.

Ex-Browns QB Garcia calls team for tryout

Here's a new wrinkle in the Browns' curious quarterback conundrum: Former NFL starter Jeff Garcia called and offered his services.

Garcia, who started 10 games for Cleveland in 2004, told 92.3 The Fan on Tuesday that he contacted the Browns and asked for a tryout. The 43-year-old Garcia hasn't started an NFL game in five years, but he informed the Browns he would love a chance to make their team.

"I actually reached out to the Browns and said, 'Hey, if you need a guy to come in, work me out, take a look,' " Garcia told the station. "I don't know if people want me back in Cleveland, but I'm open to the opportunity."

Garcia, who went 3-7 in his stint as a starter in Cleveland, said the Browns declined his offer. Garcia is the only Browns starting QB to win a season opener in the team's expansion era since 1999.

Around the league

Eagles • Quarterback Michael Vick, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, is hopeful he'll be able to play Sunday against the New York Giants. Vick was injured in Philadelphia's first matchup with the Giants this season, a 36-21 win on Oct. 6. The Eagles have gone 1-1 without him.

Dolphins • Miami is well aware of the obscure new rule that drew a penalty on the Patriots and helped the Jets win in overtime last week. The Dolphins complained to the NFL that a similar violation by the Ravens wasn't called in Week 5 when Caleb Sturgis missed a 57-yard kick at the end of a 26-23 loss to Baltimore. Coach Joe Philbin said he became aware of the supposed infraction watching a tape of the game. —

Week 8 schedule

Thursday

Carolina at Tampa Bay, 6:25 p.m.

Sunday

Cleveland at Kansas City, 11 a.m.

Buffalo at New Orleans, 11 a.m.

Miami at New England, 11 a.m., Ch. 2

Dallas at Detroit, 11 a.m.

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 11 a.m.

San Francisco vs. Jacksonville at London, 11 a.m., Ch. 13

Pittsburgh at Oakland, 2:05 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati, 2:05 p.m.

Atlanta at Arizona, 2:25 p.m.

Washington at Denver, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13

Green Bay at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5

Open: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee

Monday

Seattle at St. Louis, 6:40 p.m., ESPN

NFL • Though new QB looked lost, coach says he'd do it again.
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