Minnesota Vikings and Tarvaris Jackson: Back Together Again

Daniel DamicoCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2008

We thought it was over.  We thought the better choice had been made.  The error was corrected.  Yet here we are again.  With our hopes and dreams tied to a quarterback out of Alabama State University, no one in Minnesota knew prior to the moment he was drafted a few years ago.

After a rough start, Tarvaris Jackson was pulled and replaced by 38 year-old veteran Gus Frerotte.  Other than a starting stint with the Washington Redskins, Frerotte has mostly been a back-up quarterback for seven different teams.

Jackson is a young, inexperienced, mobile quarterback who has yet to show the ability to play and make decisions when the game in on the line.  He does not know now to “manage” the game and at times tries to make plays all by himself.

Frerotte is more of a typical NFL quarterback.  He sits in the pocket and used his strong arm to get the ball to teammates and lets them make plays.

After the change was made, success slowly came with Frerotte, and he has led the Vikings to an 8-5 record.  Going into Sunday's game at Arizona, Minnesota is in first place in the NFC North and would be the No. 3 seed if the playoffs started this week.

Last week, during a win over the Detroit Lions, Frerotte left the game with a back injury. Jackson was called on to lead the Vikings to the win and  played well enough to do just that.  Barring a Christmas miracle, Jackson will start the game against the Cardinals.

How will this affect the Vikings' game plan?  What does that mean for Adrian Peterson?  How do the natives feel with Jackson under center and the playoffs are on the line?

So instead of trying to speak for all who proudly wear the purple and yellow, I asked some of the guys in my fantasy football league how they feel and what the think will happen.

The major concern for me is how, and if, the Vikings will change the playbook.

The major critique of the Vikings early in the season, was that coach Brad Childress decided to cut the play book in half trying to protect Jackson from self-inflected mistakes.  The coaching staff also tried to play on Jackson’s mobility.

Yet, if you never throw the ball down field, opposing safeties are going to creep into the box and wait to pounce on the run with either running backs Peterson or Chester Taylor.  Or on the occasion the Vikings do pass, the Cardinals will bring a ton of pressure.

Chris, first of our fantasy footballers, stated, “Even though T-Jack is mobile and can be a definite threat out of the pocket, if he can’t move the ball in the air, defenses only have two things to concentrate on, No. 28 and No. 29.

"No matter how good of a 1-2 punch Peterson and Taylor are, opposing defenses will be able to stack the box if T-Jack can’t find targets downfield.”

Matching up against a Cardinals defense that only gives up 96.5 rushing yards per game, you would imagine the Vikings to pass more with Jackson than they did in the first two games.  But if the first two games of the season are any indicators, don’t be too sure.

Eric throws out the idea of a different formation; “Run split backs!  Let the Cardinals key on Peterson, and then give Taylor the ball.  It won’t take long for the magnets teams have on Peterson to abandon him.”

I love the idea of using both backs and keeping the Cardinals on the heels.  Taylor’s play has been strong in recent weeks and might be the best “back-up” in the NFL.   Once a team gets used to running at Taylor, then you give the ball to Peterson, who has another gear.

Jackson’s accuracy has been an issue since coming into the league.  In his first two starts, Jackson’s completion rate was on 52 percent.  Last week, coming off the bench, Jackson went 8-for-10 for 105 yards and one touchdown.  So which will we get?

Looking at this start for Jackson, fantasy footballer Ben stated that “the fact of the matter is that T-Jack has been given a chance to resurrect his status as starter position with a NFC North play-off contender.”

Going to Arizona, Jackson will have a shot at leading this team to a win and regaining some of the faith lost by the fans.  I do think if Frerotte is healthy next week, we will see him starting regardless of how Jackson plays this week.

So to Jackson, be smart, stay positive.  You have weapons on offense, and don’t be afraid to use them.

All we need is one win.  And on Sunday, that’s the best you can do.