Can the Vikings Count on Jackson to Get it Done in 2008?

Jackson

Last season the Minnesota Vikings went 8-8 and missed the playoffs due to a late season loss to the Redskins. There offense was paced by superstar in the making rookie RB Adrian Peterson, who rushed onto the scene and put up huge numbers, 1341 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns. While he was as impressive as a rookie back as maybe there ever was, questions about the future of the quarterback position in Minnesota remains.

Can 3rd year pro Tarvaris Jackson finally turn the corner? If he doesn’t early enough in the year, do the Vikings get an itchy trigger finger and turn to someone else? Jackson does not get much respect, as despite going 8-4 as a starter a year ago, many feel that in the end, he’ll be what holds the Vikings back from getting to the next level. A level that seems as close as ever with the Packers losing (at least for now) their Hall of Fame QB to “retirement,” the Bears having little to no offense to challenge whatsoever, and the Lions being, well, the Lions.

Last season with a team that grabbed headlines due to Peterson and a pretty solid defense, Jackson threw nine TD’s and 12 picks, and only threw for 159 yards per game. While the Vikings offense is not built around needing a QB to throw for 300 yards every week, there are plenty of analysts out there that feel that when they need it, Jackson is not going to be able to deliver in the clutch, leaving Minnesota in a bind.

During the Vikings five-game winning streak in November, Jackson still has his moments where he made bad decisions, and still turned the ball over, but yet the Vikings were able to overcome it. Can they do the same in 2008? They will return a running game that should stay in or near the top of the league with Peterson and backup Chester Taylor. The defense upgraded with the “steal” of Jared Allen from KC, as he and the rest of that unit will make life tough on opposing offenses.

That leaves Jackson, who while getting praise from coaches and teammates about his offseason still has plenty to prove. In 16 pro games, 14 of which were starts, Jackson has thrown 11 TD’s and 16 interceptions, with putting up just 139.1 yards per game in the air. The team grabbed the most high profile free agent WR on the market that was available (minus Randy Moss who was never going to leave the Pats) in former Bear Bernard Berrian to give Jackson a go-to guy. Will it be enough?

Minnesota did make a play and almost pulled off a trade for Texans QB Sage Rosenfels this offseason, but the deal never got done. While Jackson has more physical skills at this point than Rosenfels, it should seep a little doubt in his mind why the team was trying so hard to get his services. When that deal went down the drain, the team signed ancient Gus Frerotte, who in no way is near where Jackson is.

“People are going to say what they want to say,” Jackson said. “It’s their job to analyze things and to give their opinion. My job is to go out there and prove them wrong.” If Jackson can’t prove them wrong early enough, the team may have to consider their options, as the talent on this team is too good this season and the shot to win the NFC North is in their sights. They can’t allow a QB that is going to make critical mistakes to get in their way and trip them up. Jackson has to show this year he’s not that type of QB.

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3 Responses to “Can the Vikings Count on Jackson to Get it Done in 2008?”

  1. jw nels says:

    Well I personally think TJack can do whats expected of him, although at times it wont be pretty.
    Now if you can just imagine what Grossman did in Chicago, why wouldn’t anybody think the Vikes TJack couldn’t do any better for Minn.? Alot of negative talk about Grossman left everybody wondering if the poor guy was mentally retarded or something and on the contrary, he was doing his job better than most in the league were at that time.
    I think TJack will do just fine and good enough to go post season, the real question will be how the Coaching staff does their job.

  2. Jon E says:

    He was basically a rookie last year (you can’t really count the 2 games he started his first year), so that was a decent rookie season. He was better than the backups, so if he had managed to go 2-2 in those other games, the Vikings are in the playoffs, which is quite impressive for a first year starting QB. I think he showed a lot of potential and will be much better this year. That should be enough to make Minnesota a very tough team.

  3. Art says:

    T-jack will get the job done. He’s done just as good or better than other high profile QBs drafted the same yr. Let’s give him some time. He is a star in the manking.

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