Frerotte Accepts Mentoring Role
Gus Frerotte (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)
Gus Frerotte (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

Posted Apr 12, 2008


Veteran Gus Frerotte, who officially signed with the Vikings earlier this week, knows that helping Tarvaris Jackson is a big part of his responsibilities.

Gus Frerotte is returning to the Vikings for a second stint and will provide the team with what it feels is a reliable backup quarterback. Just as important is the fact the veteran will be counted on to help assist in the development of young starter Tarvaris Jackson.

Frerotte, who signed a two-year, $3.75 million deal, said he’s not only comfortable with the latter role but is looking forward to it.

“The basic idea is I’m coming in as the No. 2 quarterback, will be able to be a quality backup and work with Tarvaris,” said Frerotte, a 14-year veteran who will turn 37 in July. “I’ll be able to help him during games and in certain situations. I kind of like that role. It’s nice when young kids take to heart what you’re telling them and the experiences you’ve had.”

Frerotte previously played with the Vikings during the 2003 and ‘04 seasons, serving as the backup to Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper had two very strong seasons in that time and Frerotte enjoyed assisting.

“That was the first time I accepted,” being a backup, he said. “I had a great time there.”

Frerotte started 15 games for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 before spending the past two seasons playing behind Marc Bulger with the St. Louis Rams.

Frerotte made three starts last season in place of the injured Bulger and threw seven touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

Nonetheless, Vikings coach Brad Childress said he liked what he saw on film from Frerotte and feels he will be a very capable replacement if something happens to Jackson. That is why Childress, while pleased that Frerotte is enthusiastic about assisting Jackson, also wanted to make sure Frerotte could help the team if that becomes necessary.

“The thing I remind people is that while I want somebody in a mentoring role, the co-pilot can become the pilot on this deal really fast,” Childress said. “That’s real when you’re talking about 60 quarterbacks playing last year in this league. You still want somebody who possesses all the skills. ... What I saw on tape was this guy still had it.”

Frerotte has played for seven teams during his 14-year NFL career, but only once has the quarterback been in a system that runs the West Coast offense. He spent the 2000 and ‘01 seasons learning the West Coast philosophy while with the Denver Broncos.

He will resume that education this summer.

“I don’t know if this will be too extreme,” Frerotte said. “The first time I went to Denver, it was pretty tough. There is verbiage and learning obviously. It’s new language but I’ve been in this long enough and seen every play there is.

“I know all the protections. ... I’ll just have to put two and two together. It’s just repetition.”

Frerotte’s experience in Denver consisted of seven starts in which he completed 168 of 280 passes for 2,084 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

It won’t only be important that Frerotte has a grasp of the Vikings’ system for his own good, but also that he understands it well enough that he can assist Jackson and help the third-year quarterback in his development.

Frerotte, who played the past two seasons with St. Louis, will get a head start by spending plenty of time at the Vikings’ Winter Park facility this offseason working on learning an offense that has more verbiage than most.

“He’ll understand the concepts, he just needs to learn the verbiage,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said.

NOTES

  • Frerotte will be playing without Scott Linehan as his offensive coordinator or head coach for the first time since the 2002 season. Frerotte spent two seasons with the Vikings (2003-04) during which time Linehan served as offensive coordinator. In 2005, Frerotte followed Linehan to Miami when the latter took the same job with the Dolphins. Linehan brought Frerotte to St. Louis with him in 2006 when he became the Rams head coach. Only during the 2005 season was Frerotte a starting quarterback.

    Frerotte also attracted interest from the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: “Meeting with (Brad Childress) kind of sold the Vikings to me again. Explaining to me about the owners and what type of people they are. They are family people and that’s kind of who I really am. They’re a good team, have a good future and it will be fun to be a part of it.” — Quarterback Gus Frerotte, talking about his decision to sign with the Vikings.




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