NFL notes: Josh Freeman to start Sunday for Vikings

Josh Freeman will be the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night against the New York Giants.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made the announcement after practice Wednesday. Frazier said Christian Ponder will be the backup, not Matt Cassel.


Freeman will be the third starter in the last four games for Minnesota, assuming he makes it through the week without problems.

Freeman was cut by Tampa Bay on Oct. 3 and signed by Minnesota five days later. The 25-year-old started 59 games over four-plus seasons with the Buccaneers. The former first-round draft pick got a one-year contract with the Vikings (1-4) .

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson missed practice because of a personal matter, and while Frazier would not address whether his absence was related to the death of his 2-year-old son last Friday in South Dakota, the coach said he expects Peterson at practice Thursday.

Manning: No comment

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said he had no comment when asked for his reaction to an interview by the owner of his former team, the Indianapolis Colts’ Jim Irsay, in which Irsay said he had to give up the old Indy offense’s ‘‘Star Wars’’ numbers in a quest for more Super Bowl rings.

Irsay was chided by Broncos coach John Fox and former Colts general manager Bill Polian for comments that were interpreted as critical of Manning. Irsay took to Twitter to say he meant that if the Colts had given Manning better special teams and defense, they could have won more than one Super Bowl, instead of asking the quarterback to do too much. On Sunday, Manning returns to Indianapolis for his first game as a visitor.


Broncos star outside linebacker Von Miller practiced for the first time since Aug. 22, having served his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug abuse policy.

By all accounts, he looked great — all 270 pounds of him. Fox said Miller ‘‘had an outstanding practice.’’ Miller makes his 2013 debut Sunday.

Nicks has surgery

Guard Carl Nicks, one of three Buccaneers diagnosed with MRSA, is doing well after surgery Tuesday night to get rid of the staph infection, which is resistant to most antibiotics, Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said. Nicks was diagnosed as having MRSA in a blister of the left side of his foot during training camp in August. He was treated with antibiotics and appeared in two regular season games before the Bucs announced last week that Nicks had a recurrence.

Kicker Lawrence Tynes also was found to have MRSA in August and is on the non-football injury list. Rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks has not been sidelined by the infection.

Suh fined

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined $31,500 by the league for a hiton Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the fine had not been announced . . . Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is expected to miss another 4-6 weeks now that he’s begun rehabbing his sprained right knee. Thad Lewis, who was promoted off the practice squad last week, is set to make his second consecutive start Sunday when Buffalo (2-4) plays at Miami (3-2) . . . The Cowboys unloaded their apparently disgruntled defensive tackle, four-time Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff, saying he failed a physical after spending the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list. He was eligible to be activated this week. Ratliff injured his hamstring during the conditioning test before training camp in July and never practiced for the Cowboys this season . . . The Seahawks expect to see the return of starting tight end Zach Miller to the lineup Thursday night against the Cardinals. Miller missed the past two games with a hamstring strain suffered in practice. Defensive end Chris Clemons will be a game-time decision for Seattle. Clemons suffered a hyperextended elbow last Sunday against the Titans.

Receivers down

The Jaguars are down four receivers, including starters Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III. Blackmon is dealing with tightness in his groin and hamstring. Shorts injured the joint that connects his breastbone and collarbone in Sunday’s loss at Denver. The Jaguars were also without rookie Ace Sanders, who is being evaluated for a concussion, and Stephen Burton, who has missed the last three games because of a concussion . . . Fourteen months after Sean Spence’s football career appeared to be over, the Steelers linebacker was back at work. Spence practiced with his teammates for the first time since shredding his left knee in a preseason game against the Panthers in August 2012. Spence tore two ligaments, dislocated his kneecap and sustained extensive nerve damage . . . Jets rookie cornerback Dee Milliner practiced on a limited basis for the first time since injuring a hamstring three weeks ago in practice. There’s a chance Milliner, the No. 9 overall pick in April, could return against the Patriots if the injury continues to improve . . . The Giants signed running back Peyton Hillis, a six-year veteran with a 1,000-yard season on his résumé. Hillis has played for Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City, and has 2,470 yards and 21 touchdowns for his career . . . Texans starting strong safety Danieal Manning will miss the rest of the season because of a right knee injury.

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