Minnesota Vikings Preview: Is Tarvaris Jackson the Best QB in the NFC North?
I got the following email from a friend of mine after the Brett Favre trade was announced:
So, does this mean Tarvaris Jackson is now the best quarterback in the NFC North?
My immediate response was something along the lines of absolutely not. But when you look at it, I think he might be right.
Aaron Rodgers? Unproven.
Kyle Orton? Uninspiring.
Jon Kitna? Too old and mistake-prone.
Detroit fans will tell you Jon Kitna’s better. They may have a point, but I’ve never been big on Jon Kitna, even if his coach does think he’s the best quarterback in the NFC (laughable, by the way).
Jackson brings some things to the table that Kitna doesn’t. He has more arm strength, he can make plays with his legs, and he’s much, much younger.
One of the knocks on Jackson is that he is inaccurate throwing the deep ball, but I’m not sure he’s had a good enough deep threat at wide receiver to prove it either way.
Remember, the knock on Tom Brady used to be that he had trouble throwing the deep ball. Not to compare Jackson with Brady, but you just never know how good or bad a quarterback is with the deep ball until he gets some wide receivers.
The other knock on Jackson is that he needs to improve his decision making. He’s young, and that should come with experience. What’s Kitna’s excuse?
So, I guess, upon further review, Tarvaris Jackson is the best quarterback in the NFC North.
Of course, it helps to have guys like Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor to hand the ball to. Chester Taylor could start almost anywhere in the NFL. Adrian Peterson might be the best pure runner in the NFL.
Can’t say enough about Adrian Peterson. He’s an MVP in the making.
Bernard Berrian might be the deep threat Jackson has been looking for. He’s always open, he just doesn’t always hold on to the ball. WAY overpaid, but better than anything else they have. Sidney Rice is an up-and-comer whom the Vikings hope will blossom this season.
Bobby Wade and Robert Ferguson are both adequate backups.
The offensive line should be a strength, but Bryant McKinnie is a bonehead. His boneheaded off-field actions could have a profound impact on the Viking’s season.
Because of his four-week suspension, Artis Hicks, who should be backing up McKinnie, will be the starting left tackle against Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila in Week One, Dwight Freeney in Week Two, Julius Peppers in Week Three, and Kyle Vanden Bosch in week Four.
That’s a tough stretch for an All Pro; it’s an impossible stretch for a backup.
The rest of the line is solid. Steve Hutchinson is the best. Matt Birk is pretty good. Anthony Herrera is solid, but not spectacular. Ryan Cook is improving, but has a ways to go.
If Hicks can hold the fort down while McKinnie is out, the Vikings will be ok, offensively, the rest of the way.
Minnesota’s defense might have the least amount of questions of any defense in the NFL.
The entire front seven is stout.
Jared Allen gives them a monster Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Ray Edwards might not be as good as he thinks he is (nobody could be that good), but he’s still very good...especially going up against right tackles. The Williamses, Pat and Kevin, are great on the interior.
E.J. Henderson is pretty good in the middle. Ben Leber can tackle, cover, and reads offenses well. Not sure you need much more than that to be successful. Chad Greenway is pretty good in his own right.
The secondary is considered the weak link of the defense, but that’s only because the front seven are so good. Antoine Winfield has long been one of my favorite players. Darren Sharper is old, but knows how to make big plays. Cedric Griffin can be picked on, but he steadily improved last season.
They signed Madieu Williams to be their starting free safety, but he’s probably going to miss the first six weeks of the season with a neck injury. Tyrell Johnson will probably take his place. Johnson is fast, but he’s an untested rookie.
This team has the potential to be a force in the NFC.
He was miscast last year as a starting receiver. He’s perfect as a slot receiver. He should put up decent numbers on third downs.
Fighting for draft picks, fighting for the playoffs, or contending for the Super Bowl?
The Vikings will be contending for the Super Bowl.
11-5, they’ll win their division, and they will be the second seed in the NFC playoffs. Once in the playoffs, they will go as far as Adrian Peterson and their defense can take them.
Which may be all the way to the Super Bowl.
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at email@example.com. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.
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