Thursday, April 3, 2008

Gus Frerotte back in Purple. Yay?

In a way, it seemed almost inevitable once the talks began, and yesterday it became official: Gus Frerotte is back with the Vikings after signing a one-year deal with the team. While he does have a three-letter first name going for him, Frerotte looked awful in St. Louis last year and will turn 37 before the season begins. Brad Childress, ever the optimist when it comes to fluffing up his mediocre quarterbacks, had this to say:

"The thing is if you watch tape of Gus in St. Louis, you can still see that he can still fling the football and make all the spot throws."

Yes, he can fling it all right -- often into the arms of opposing defenders.

Frerotte threw 12 picks last year, five of them coming in an abysmal game against the Rams. His season interception percentage of 7.2% is way too high for a player who, if he's called upon to play for his new team, should rely on handoffs and low-risk passes. Finally, the signing of Frerotte pretty much ends the pipe dream Vikings fans had of acquiring Donovan McNabb -- which was probably not much of a reality to begin with -- or even of dealing for a veteran like Sage Rosenfels.

There's little doubt that Frerotte's previous experience with the Vikings played some role in the team looking to bring him back. But today's team looks nothing like the Vikings of 2003, where Frerotte filled in admirably for an injured Daunte Culpepper. Randy Moss is long gone, and the focus is very strongly on the running game. Frerotte's got the slight career statistical edge over Tarvaris Jackson (74.3 to 69.0 in passer rating and 4.25 to 3.77 in TYA), but he's 12 years older and, no matter how much Jackson struggles this year, you won't be looking to me to cry for the backup to get into the game.

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