The Minnesota Vikings 2009 Season: A Shaky QB Competiton Will Decide It All
When quarterback Sage Rosenfels took to the field for the first time as a Minnesota Viking at training camp in Mankato, he was guaranteed one sure thing: He would get a shot at the starting QB position. An area that has plagued a Vikings offense already loaded with talent.
With roster names such as Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Steve Hutchinson, and Percy Harvin, there is no reason to think the Vikings offense can't be explosive. So what's the biggest issue stopping the Minnesota Vikings from making a serious Super Bowl run?
The answer is simple: Consistency from the quarterback. It has long been the road block for the Vikings and any hopes of winning a franchise first Super Bowl title. Four trips to the big game in the 70's and yet the purple have nothing to show for it.
Since the departure of now Detroit Lion QB and division rival Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings have lacked leadership, poise, and of course consistency.
The likes of Brad Johnson, Gus Frerotte, and Tavaris Jackson have all graced a purple and gold jersey through the years. The only remaining on the team is fourth year QB Jackson who has had a mediocre first three years as a Viking.
Jackson has shown at times brilliance in the passing game including his final four games in the 2008 season as he finished with nine TDs to two INTs.
The Minnesota Vikings surprised many NFL experts when they won the NFC North title and reached the playoffs, only to be ousted at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. In that game, Jackson was rushed and forced to make mistakes and be too early or too late on his untimely throws to receivers.
The Eagles defense led by Defensive Coordinator, the great Jim Johnson, proved to be too much for young Jackson in his first playoff game. Their relentless blitzing and confusing defensive packages caused havoc for Jackson that included a pass that ended up in the hands of Eagle Cornerback Asante Samuel for a touchdown.
This offseason, the Minnesota Vikings' staff made attempts at solving the QB dilemma with a short stint of pursuing Jay Cutler, then after that fell short, rumors popped up that Brett Favre was interested in playing with the Vikings.
The Vikings did, however, make a trade with the Houston Texans day one of the free agency dealing a 2009 Fourth Round Draft Pick for Sage Rosenfels. A move that had many Viking fans questioning the mind set of the Vikings coaches.
After a continuous summer long saga with future Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre and another "No", the Vikings are supposedly satisfied with the QB's they have on the roster.
The roster of Sage Rosenfels, Tavaris Jackson, and second year QB John David Booty from USC.
The Minnesota Vikings enter their final week of training camp hoping to get a brighter picture on a already shaky QB competition. Rosenfels has been progressing with the Vikings playbook and has really made some chemistry with Vikings' deep threat WR Bernard Berrian, throwing nice deep passes to him.
Jackson on the other hand, has had an up and down camp session spraining an MCL in his leg in the first full week of camp, only to re-aggravate it during a seven on seven Friday night drill. Although he says his knee is "fine", the Vikings have cause for concern after a similar injury limited Jackson in last years preseason games.
As for Booty, the third QB and youngest of the three, well he is progressing as quick as a second year guy can in the NFL. The Vikings Offensive Coordinator Darrel Bevell also likes the way Booty has progressed, and with Jackson sitting out three days at camp, Booty got more throwing reps with the Vikings offense, a rarity for a third string QB, and a golden opportunity to get better.
So with all three QBs getting as many reps as possible, the Vikings are headed in the right direction, but where does it lead?
The Minnesota Vikings have to face the facts, they need a leader and consistency game after game from their quarterback. Something they haven't seen for years, except for a few Tavaris Jackson positives in 2008.
No matter who wins the Vikings quarterback competition, Jackson or Rosenfels must step up to the plate and lead the explosive offense lead by the NFL's best running back in Adrian Peterson and one of the best offensive lines in the league.
As good as Peterson is, the biggest leadership must come from the QB position. Especially in this case for a team that many consider Super Bowl ready now, with the only thing stopping them is of course the quarterback position.
Can Sage or Jackson lead a talented Vikings team deep into the playoffs?
Only time will tell, as the Minnesota Vikings preseason gets set to kick off. The biggest factor will come in those four preseason games, where the real work will be made for the two competitors.
They will have to prove themselves the better competitor from their opponent, and whether or not they can lead their team. The Vikings' season depends on a successful passer if they want to reach their goal of a Super Bowl title.
When this QB competition comes to an end, you can still expect many to oppose the QB, whom ever it may be. But in the end, the Vikings' season and their playoff fate will ultimately rest upon the shoulders of the Viking starter.
If this competition proves un-successful, the Vikings may lose even more precious time towards a Super Bowl run.
Time is ticking, and it's not on the Vikings side.
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