A day after benching veteran quarterback Brad Johnson
in the Vikings' loss at Chicago, coach Brad Childress said he had not decided on who would start Sunday's game at Detroit.
"I have a few different options," Childress said. "I think that the biggest thing that you ask as we go is, ‘Who is going to give us the best chance to win in the fourth quarter (of the season)?' We'll just look at that and see who we feel like that is. But as of right now, I haven't done that."
Options include going back to Johnson, making Brooks Bollinger
the starter or turning to rookie Tarvaris Jackson
, who finished up Sunday's 23-13 loss to the Bears.
Reading between the lines, Childress seems inclined to call on Bollinger, but that might not be possible for this game. Bollinger, who was acquired in a preseason trade with the Jets, suffered a Grade 2 sprain to the AC joint in his left (non-throwing) shoulder in the fourth quarter Sunday when he was sacked by Chicago left end Adewale Ogunleye
Bollinger had entered late in the third quarter after Johnson was picked off four times and had one returned for a touchdown. Johnson registered a career-low 10.3 quarterback rating.
Childress acknowledged Bollinger's injury is a factor in his decision about Sunday.
The key question becomes would Childress turn to Jackson, a surprise second-round pick out of Division I-AA Alabama State? Jackson is viewed as the Vikings' quarterback of the future, and Childress' comments indicate he might not be looking that far ahead.
Remember, even though the Vikings are 5-7, they aren't out of the playoff picture in the NFC. Jackson also admitted after Sunday's game that he probably isn't ready to assume a starting role in the NFL just yet, but Childress didn't completely shut the door.
"I think you consider everybody and just need to see where you are at and what you think you can accomplish here," he said. "These next four games are obviously important for the Minnesota Vikings
; I'm not necessarily looking to cast my gaze to the future, and nor would a quarterback change mean that how I look at the next four games is any different."
S Darren Sharper on the Vikings' offensive struggles after a 23-13 loss to the Bears: "We're just tired of seeing this. You want to have every phase of the team working, and you can't keep killing yourself. Just look back at the season and how it's been. If we could have just taken care of the football, that could have accounted for three or four more wins. That changes the season around. It's disappointing because you have people that can make those corrections. It just happens on game day that we don't do it. That's the disappointing factor. Everybody gets paid to do a job. If you're not executing your job, changes need to be made."
P Chris Kluwe punted in weather conditions Sunday in Chicago that included a wind chill that made it feel as if it were 4 degree below zero. "It was worse than anything I've experienced," said Kluwe, who averaged 31.3 gross yards and 19.9 net yards on eight punts. "This was probably the toughest conditions I ever punted in. I've just got to do a better job next time."
RB Chester Taylor underwent a CT scan Monday after suffering bruised ribs in Sunday's loss. Childress said Taylor would continue to receive treatment and is day-to-day.
C Matt Birk has a neck stringer that has bothered him and will be examined by doctors Tuesday.
P Chris Kluwe suffered a sprained right wrist and thumb while making a tackle against Chicago. He should be able to play Sunday at Detroit.
RG Artis Hicks has missed the past two games because of a sprained left ankle but is expected to get some work in practice this week. Veteran Jason Whittle, who has served as Hicks' replacement, had three false-start penalties called against him at Chicago.
RT Marcus Johnson also has missed the past two games because of a sprained left ankle. Veteran Mike Rosenthal has assumed the starting role, and rookie Ryan Cook also has seen limited time at the position.
Head coach Brad Childress said he has not made a decision yet on who his starting quarterback will be Sunday in Detroit, but he could be waiting to see how Brooks Bollinger's shoulder responds to treatment over the next few days.
Childress could be waiting to see how Brooks Bollinger's shoulder responds to treatment.