Tarvaris Jackson (Drew Hallowell/Getty)
Tarvaris Jackson admitted that his injury history last year was frustrating for him, but his latest injury could give the Vikings reason to rethink their depth at the position with roster cuts only eight days away.
Depending on what side of the fence you fall on concerning the Vikings quarterback situation, the news that QB Tarvaris Jackson suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the Vikings’ win over Baltimore Saturday can be viewed very differently. At first, the injury was diagnosed as a bruised knee. An MRI Sunday revealed there was more damage that a simple contusion.
To some, the Vikings and Jackson dodged a bullet because, if the initial reports being sent out are to be believed, the injury won’t sideline him beyond the preseason and he should be good to go by the regular-season opener at Green Bay. To others, it appears to be the latest in a growing laundry list of injuries that continue to sideline the Vikings’ third-year quarterback.
Prior to last season, by his own admission, Jackson had never suffered a serious injury playing football. In 2007 alone, he was sidelined three times. In the four games he missed, the Vikings lost all four – which many attribute to the team’s desire not to have a veteran behind Jackson that could be perceived as a threat to his starting job. Jackson suffered a groin injury late in Week 2 at Detroit and missed the next two games. When he returned, he played only two games, getting knocked out again at Dallas with an injured thumb in the sixth game of the season. He would miss one game and return to meet San Diego – a game in which he was knocked out before halftime with a concussion. He returned to start the final seven games of the season, but admitted that constantly being in and out of the lineup not only hurt his maturation as a quarterback, but hurt the team because the offense was constantly shuttling different quarterbacks in and out of the starting lineup.
Jackson’s latest injury isn’t deemed to be serious, but it comes at a horrible time for him and the Vikings. In a week, the Vikings and the other 31 teams are going to have to make their first batch of cuts. It has been widely speculated that, with Gus Frerotte being brought in from the outside during free agency and the trading up to assure they got John David Booty in the fifth round of last April’s draft, the pecking order of the QBs was going to be set. As a result, Brooks Bollinger, who has spent the last two seasons as a Vikings backup, would be the odd man out. Considering the unknowns surrounding the seriousness of the Jackson injury, it would seem clear that Bollinger won’t be among the first set of cuts and the possibility exists – albeit remote – that the Vikings may start the season with four quarterbacks on the roster, since it seems clear that JDB isn’t ready to take snaps against first-team NFL defenses just yet.
Jackson has entered the last two training camps with little in the way of competition for his starting job. It was his last year and again this season. In both instances, he looked sharp in his cameo appearances in the preseason. But last year, he was knocked out three different times with three different injuries. His latest is his fourth on that list. For a player who has made just 14 career starts, having four injuries that have knocked him out of action can’t be viewed as a good sign and it may well have an impact on who makes the Vikings roster and who doesn’t. While very few teams ever enter a season with four quarterbacks on the roster, the Vikings may be forced to be one of them.
The Vikings will likely address the Jackson injury at some point today. The team had Sunday off and resumes practice today. While Brad Childress is not scheduled to address the media until Tuesday, it is likely some sort of statement will be made today following practice.
If you think Booty is feeling a little shell-shocked as a rookie QB in the NFL, one need look no further than what has happened with Brian Brohm, who is currently second on the depth chart for Green Bay behind Aaron Rodgers. In two games, he has completed just 12 of 26 passes for 103 yards with no TDs and one interception and has struggled badly in both games.
A pair of former Vikings starters – QB Daunte Culpepper and DE Darrion Scott – remain unsigned less than three weeks away from the start of the regular season.
Word out of Chicago is that three relatively untested wide receivers – Devin Hester, Rashied Davis and rookie Earl Bennett – have locked down roster spots for the Bears. With area scouts expecting the team to keep just five receivers, one veteran may have to go – creating a battle between Marty Booker, Brandon Lloyd and Mark Bradley for what might end up being just two roster spots. The Bears brought in both Booker and Lloyd and drafted Bennett within two months of losing Bernard Berrian to the Vikings in free agency.
Former Viking J.T. O’Sullivan moved another step closer to being the unlikely winner of the San Francisco quarterback battle in training camp. A month ago, it was thought the job would fall to either former first overall selection Alex Smith or fellow former Viking Shaun Hill. But O’Sullivan has been earning more first-team reps every week and is currently being talked about as a legitimate candidate to start the Sept. 7 regular season opener vs. Arizona.
Adrian Peterson didn’t get the start Saturday, but that is believed to be more in deference to Chester Taylor, who spent his first four seasons with the Ravens stuck behind then-starter Jamal Lewis. Starts for Taylor were hard to come by – just eight in four years in Baltimore – so it is believed that was more of a tip of the hat to a team player than any sort of indication that Peterson and Taylor are still viewed as 1A and 1B.
Former Viking Adimchobe Echemandu had a 72-yard run in Friday’s game between his team (the Raiders) and Tennessee.
Troy Williamson played for the Jaguars Saturday night in Miami, but wasn’t one of the 12 Jags to catch a pass. In other former Vikings news from that game, however, Todd Bouman completed nine of 13 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown – three of them to fellow former Viking Ryan Hoag, good for 71 yards.