Minnesota Vikings and the Tarvaris Jackson Dilemma

Kevin LindseyAnalyst IDecember 8, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 06:  Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson #7 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Most Minnesota Vikings fans feel that they have seen enough of Tarvaris Jackson to know what the team should do next and they are of the opinion that Jackson should be released with giving it a second thought.   

Most Vikings fans however are clearly wrong.

The Vikings need to consider resigning Jackson.

No, there was no epiphany during the Buffalo game in which it became evident that Jackson was destined for the Hall of Fame.

I suffer no delusions of grandeur that Jackson is going to replace Fran Tarkenton in the Vikings record book or that Jackson will be a perennial All-Pro.

However, Jackson has enough ability to be a competent quarterback in the NFL.  Jackson may even have enough ability to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl.

Against the Buffalo Bills, Jackson demonstrated that he has the physical tools to play the position.

The two touchdown passes to Sydney Rice illustrated that Jackson has the strength and touch to put the ball in the right spot.  Tarvaris also recognized certain defensive schemes to pick up easy yards by tucking the ball and running.

Sure Jackson threw several interceptions on Sunday but Jackson’s decision making was much better than New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez against the New England Patriots on Monday.

Tarvaris also missed picking up a blitz in the first quarter that he should have recognized and avoided.

Of course, Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco turned the ball over late in the game costing the Ravens a win after somehow missing picking up a blitz by Troy Polamalu despite Polamalu standing at the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.

Jackson is not perfect but his play is not that different than the heralded next generation of quarterbacks in the NFL.

Furthermore, Minnesota really has no idea how much Jackson can accomplish given the current offensive weapons on the team. 

The last time Jackson was a starter for the Vikings, the only deep threat was Bernard Berrian, the slot receiver was the diminutive Bobby Wade and Visanthe Shiancoe had not yet emerged as a reliable tight end.

Now, the Vikings are loaded as Rice is now among the best deep threats in the game, All-Pro Percy Harvin is in the slot position, Shiancoe is now considered an elite tight end in the league and Bernard Berrian now provides the Vikings with exceptional depth as he may now be the best fourth option in the NFL.

Jackson may now be much more successful now that he has a much better supporting case.

No quarterback can do it all by himself.   If you need proof there is no need to look beyond Peyton Manning and see that his Colts are no better than a game ahead of the Vikings given the number of injuries suffered by his receivers.

Additionally, there is an emerging need in the NFL to have two quality quarterbacks on the roster.

While there is no collective bargaining agreement in place for the next season between the players and the league it is abundantly clear that when the next agreement is reached that the season will be 18 games long.

In an 18 game NFL Season, there will be a premium for teams to have at least two quarterbacks on their roster who can lead their squad.

Brett Favre has stated that he intends to retire at the end of the season and it is time to believe that Favre will remain in Kiln, Mississippi. 

No, really it is time to believe that Favre is going to stay retired.

Joe Webb, the third string quarterback, has not taken a snap under center in an NFL regular season game. 

Webb, playing in his first NFL game this weekend, pulled a hamstring after getting on the field for two plays.

The cupboard of players being able to play quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings is very thin. 

The Vikings can therefore ill afford to allow Jackson to walk without being able to find two capable quarterbacks next year.

Many Vikings fans will likely disagree. 

Some fans will want ownership to pursue a marque free agent such as Michael Vick and then get a quarterback with an early round draft pick declaring the Jackson era over in Minnesota. 

The only problem with pursuing such an aggressive strategy for the offense is that the Vikings may not have enough money to shore up their defense.   An early draft pick at quarterback may cost the Vikings more than it would to resign Jackson.

Retaining Jackson may give the Vikings a known commodity under center and more financial flexibility to improve the team.

The Vikings have a quarterback controversy and surprisingly the controversy doesn’t concern Brett Favre but instead revolves around Tarvaris Jackson.


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