Sage Rosenfels: Ready To Change Passing Philosophy

Mark RemmeContributor IMay 27, 2009

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 9:  Sage Rosenfels #18 of the Houston Texans looks to pass during the NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at  Reliant Stadium on December 9, 2007 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B.  Shea/Getty Images)

Welcome, Sage Rosenfels. You’re about to assume the duty of waking up Minnesota’s passing attack.

Are you ready?

You have the chance to present the biggest change in Minnesota’s offense this season. Not since Daunte Culpepper’s near-MVP performance in 2004 have the Vikings gotten consistent play from the quarterback position.

The numbers don’t lie.

From 1998 through 2004, a span of seven years, the Vikings used a slew of quarterbacks—from Culpepper to Jeff George to Randall Cunningham—and got results.

In six of those years Minnesota finished in the top 10 in points and yards in the NFL, including most yards in 2003 and most points in 1998, according to ProFootballReference.com.

But the past four years haven’t played out so kindly. The Vikings haven’t cracked the top 10 in either points or yards since the ’04 campaign, and that’s largely to do with the way Minnesota must operate its offense due to lack of quarterback consistency.

Now you’re up, Sage.

The Vikings didn’t wager $9 million over two years so you could ride pine behind Tarvaris Jackson. Are you ready to take the helm?

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This is no situation to be taken lightly. Minnesota is within a stone’s throw of competing for NFC supremacy. The Vikings need you to keep secondaries honest so they don’t crowd Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor’s running attack.

Can you handle it?

Remember Culpepper, George and Cunningham? They got it. They understood how important it is to manage all the options on the field and stretch the opposing defense as far as they could go.

That’s why the Vikings topped the NFL in offensive yards in 2003 and points in 1998. Defenses couldn’t stay near the line of scrimmage to stop the run while defending the deep threat.

They had the tools back then. You have the tools now. Peterson and Taylor will take care of you and the rushing attack. Can you take care of them by taking advantage of Bernard Berrian’s athletic ability down field?

Will you consistently make the right read knowing Sidney Rice and the young, speedy Percy Harvin might be patrolling in your second and third options?

The resources are there, Sage. The opportunity to play with Pro-Bowl caliber threats is right there.

Your job is to manage games calmly and keep defenses guessing—the kind of guessing that goes beyond pondering if Peterson will be running left, right or up the middle.

This is your chance, Sage.

Are you ready to take it?