Tavaris Jackson: A QB Battle and His NFL Career on the Line

Andy SmithCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 14: Quarterback Tavaris Jackson #7 of the Minnesota Vikings drops back to pass the football against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 14, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

On Friday against the Indianapolis Colts, QB Sage Rosenfels shined in his first game in a Minnesota Vikings uniform, going 10-for-13 for 91 yards and leading the Vikes offense to scoring drives on both series he played in.

The Vikings would go on to win the game 13-3 to take their first victory of the NFL Preseason.

Rosenfels got the start over Tavaris Jackson and used every opportunity to make his case for their starting job. He, of course, also got to work with the Vikings first team offense.

On the other hand, Jackson was put with second and third team offensive players. Jackson, unlike his counterpart, has been with the Vikings for four years now.

Jackson's style of play however, didn't reflect that out on the field.

Jackson went 7-for-15 passing and the only thing to show was a measly 39 passing yards. Not to mention a 46.7 passer rating, which isn't the best way to impress coaches in a QB competition.

Jackson seemed to make the same mental mistakes he's been known to do before and showed lack of progression in the passing game, this coming from, again, a guy entering his fourth year with the team. 

At the end of the game, Jackson was not easy on himself, and knew he was falling behind in regards to the QB battle between him and Sage.

Asked about the QB competition and his performance, Jackson simply replied, "I'll let coach judge that. But honestly, me personally, I feel like I've got a lot better to get. I've got a lot more work to do."

That he does.

And he will get his chance Friday night when he gets the start against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Minnesota Vikings preseason home opener at the Metrodome.

A game that has a lot on the line for young Tavaris Jackson who may not just be fighting for a starting QB spot, but for his NFL career.

Jackson is on the last year of his draft contract, meaning unless he provides the Vikings a reason to keep him, he could find himself without a job.

Many Vikings faithful have criticized Jackson for his poor play in recent years as the Vikings starting QB, and have pleaded for change at the NFL's most crucial position.

Jackson has some good things to offer in his mobility and throwing ability, but what has been his road block to a successful NFL career has been his inability to read defenses and make timely, accurate throws.

One thing is certain, Sage Rosenfels won round one of the QB battle against the Indianapolis Colts last week. If Jackson is to win round two, he must come out and lead the Vikings offense with his arm, his legs, and his ability to control the game.

Leading the Vikings on scoring drives wouldn't be a bad idea either. It would definitely help Jackson stay alive in a QB race that many have said has already been won by Rosenfels.

In the end, the fate of the Vikings ongoing QB competition may well be decided before they even head into the Vikings preseason game at Houston.

That is if Jackson can lead the Vikings and not make the same mental mistakes he has been known for, and made during last week's preseason game against the Colts.

If Sage Rosenfels ends up shining again, this time with the second team offense, and Jackson once again makes those silly mistakes, this QB battle could be as good as done.

It will all come down to how well Jackson performs against the Chiefs and whether he can be considered a decent starting NFL QB.

Chances are, though, by the third preseason game, the Vikings will have their starting QB and his last name won't be Jackson.

Andy Smith is a NFL and Minnesota Vikings writer for BleacherReport.com