Coach, Players Still Support Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson (Andy King/AP)

Despite all the speculation about Brett Favre and his potential availability down the line, Vikings coach Brad Childress and former Favre teammate Darren Sharper have continued their support of Tarvaris Jackson.

With quarterback Brett Favre and the Packers seemingly headed for an ugly split, speculation has been that the veteran would be an ideal fit for the Vikings offense.

The 38-year-old played in an almost identical West Coast system to what the Vikings employ when Mike Sherman coached the Packers, and Favre also is good friends with Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Bevell spent six seasons on the Packers coaching staff, including the final three (2003-05) as the team's quarterbacks coach.

But no matter how interested Favre might be in relocating to the Twin Cities, the Packers simply aren't going to allow him to join an arch-rival in their division and let him have two shots at them in a season.

Vikings coach Brad Childress can't comment on potential interest in Favre because that would be tampering.

Besides, Childress wants to make it clear the Tarvaris Jackson is his quarterback.

"I think I've always said that," Childress said of Jackson being his starter. "I just think he's right where he needs to be in terms of being a third-year quarterback. Would I like to have seen him play 16 games last year? Absolutely I would have.

"But I think he's in a natural evolution. He understands what it means to play an NFL season as a starter with all eyes on him, dissecting everything. Understanding what it's like to go through some injury during the middle of the season. Get yourself back on the field. Understands what it's like to play awful in the (first) Detroit game. To lead your team to wins."

Jackson will be entering his third NFL season and his second as a starter. Childress noted that Jackson has worked very hard this offseason and has built "equity" with his coaches and teammates.

One of those teammates is veteran safety Darren Sharper, who played with Favre in Green Bay from 1997 to 2004 before joining the Vikings. "Tarvaris is our guy," Sharper said. "He's the one who is going to lead us wherever we are going to go."

CAMP CALENDAR: The Vikings will report to Mankato, Minn., on July 23 and open practices on July 25. The Vikings will practice against the Kansas City Chiefs on July 31 in River Falls, Wisc., and also hold night practices on July 26 and Aug. 2 in Mankato.

NOTES

  • The Packers and Vikings both aren't commenting on tampering charges the Packers have filed against the Vikings in the Brett Favre saga, with Green Bay claiming the Vikings have had "inappropriate" conversations with Favre. "These types of matters are handled by the league," a Vikings spokesman said in reading the statement. Favre, who retired in March, has expressed his desire to return to the NFL and has asked the Packers for his release.

  • Receiver Bernard Berrian, whom the Vikings signed as a free agent this offseason, recently spent time in Orlando, Fla., training with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson at Tom Shaw Performance Enhancement in Orlando, Fla.

  • Vikings coach Brad Childress flew in an F-18 Hornet aircraft in Duluth, Minn., on Wednesday. The pilot is a member of the Blue Angels.

  • Childress said veteran center LeCharles Bentley, who was released by Cleveland this offseason, isn't on the Vikings radar.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't believe Brett can go back to Green Bay as a backup, but they are not going to release Brett. At the end of the day I think Brett will be playing again but they have to patch things up. I see him playing football and if I was to speculate I would see him playing with Green Bay." — Former Packers and current Vikings safety Darren Sharper on his former teammate Brett Favre.

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