Vikings Seeking Improvement from Quarterbacks In '09

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Vikings Seeking Improvement from Quarterbacks In '09
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

In 2008, the Minnesota Vikings won their division for the first time in eight years before making a hasty first-round exit at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.

As the Vikings head into 2009, they hope to return to the playoffs and make a run at the Lombardi trophy.

To get there, however, they're going to need help from a quarterback position that struggled to produce consistent results a season ago.

Opening day starter and former second-round draft pick Tarvaris Jackson was benched after just two games in favor of 37-year-old Gus Frerotte. Jackson returned to the starting lineup in week 14 and played well before struggling in the playoffs.

It's this kind of quarterback uncertainty that plagues a team with seemingly no other weaknesses.

The Vikings have one of the best young running backs in the NFL in Adrian Peterson, and Bernard Berrian, acquired in free agency a year ago, broke out in 2008 and provided a legitimate outside threat.

The team also selected Percy Harvin, a talented, play-making wide receiver from the University of Florida in the first round of this year's draft.

Added to these offensive weapons is a defensive unit led by pass-rush specialist Jared Allen. Last season, Minnesota's defense ranked No. 1 in fewest rushing yards allowed and No. 6 in fewest total yards allowed.

With all of this in mind, it's puzzling that the team didn't go after the noisy but extremely talented Jay Cutler when the young quarterback was demanding a trade from Denver earlier this year.

The Vikings have also been linked to recently retired legend and former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre, but recent reports have the future Hall of Famer saying "thanks, but no thanks" to playing for his former rival.

This leaves the team with free agent acquisition Sage Rosenfels and the aforementioned Jackson on its roster as it heads into 2009.

In order for the Vikings to reach their goals, they will need improved play from the quarterback position. Jackson had his early season struggles, and looked lost when facing Jim Johnson's defense during their playoff matchup with the Eagles.

Rosenfels, while playing with the Houston Texans as Matt Schaub's backup, struggled with turnovers (10 INT, 6 TD) and inconsistent play in place of the injured Schaub.

The Vikings are hoping Rosenfels, 31, can regain the form he had in 2007, where he went 4-1 as a starter, throwing for 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

The future of the team this season is in doubt. On the one hand, the Vikings have talent at nearly every position on both sides of the ball.

On the other, they have two question marks at arguably the most important position in football, leaving many experts wondering why the team was not more aggressive in addressing its need for a quarterback this offseason.

Perhaps the Vikings feel they're set with the veteran presence of Rosenfels, or perhaps they feel Jackson can regain the form he showed at the end of last season.

Either way, it makes for a very interesting situation to watch as the team gears up for Organized Team Activities over the next few weeks.

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