While many experts would have Sage Rosenfels as the top quarterback in Minnesota when looking at paper (see my roster predictions… not that I’m an expert) it does seem that things are starting to tilt towards Tarvaris Jackson’s favor.
Some experts think that Rosenfels is struggling to integrate himself into the Vikings offense. John Czarnecki of Fox Sports had this to say in reference to whether or not the Vikings would put up with another non-non-decision to stay not unretired maybe kind of:
There are some within the organization who believe that Brad Childress will say yes to Favre and that owner Zygi Wilf will go along. Everyone knows that Favre wasn’t excited about sleeping in a dorm while knowing there was no way for him to hide from the fans in Mankato. The whole pursuit has damaged Childress in the locker room, but the coach also knows that Sage Rosenfels hasn’t absorbed his offense while Tarvaris Jackson remains injury-prone.
Okay, so Rosenfels is having some trouble with Xs and O’s. Bid deal, right? Well, maybe it’s a little worse than we thought. One of the writers at the Daily Norseman recently visited training camp and had this today:
Went to Mankato today for the morning practice, and it’s clear things are winding down in training camp. The practice (which started at 9:00a) was scheduled to go until 11:15a — but it ended 30 minutes early.
The final 45-60 minutes were the most interesting, as T-Jack, Rosenfels and Booty took turns running some passing plays and operating under the two minute drill. It’s easy to see why T-Jack’s performance in Mankato has been largely praised while Rosenfels’ performance has been characterized as underwhelming — Rosenfels wasn’t coming close to getting the velocity on his throws that T-Jack was, and of the three quarterbacks, T-Jack was the one most in rhythm with the receivers. Rosenfels made a few ill-advised throws into tight coverage and clearly lacked the level of chemistry with the receiving corps that T-Jack put on display.
After reading reports from Mankato throughout the last two weeks, my impression is that this morning’s practice represents the bigger picture of training camp. On paper, Rosenfels is my pick to be the starting quarterback. But if I base the pick on what I saw today, T-Jack is the clear favorite — and according to the updates we’ve received from training camp, he seems to have generally outperformed Rosenfels when he’s been healthy. At least for this morning, the much-maligned Tarvaris Jackson was easily the best quarterback on the field.
Today was the first time I’ve seen Phil Loadholt in person, and I was absolutely stunned at how big the guy is. There was a moment this morning when he and Bryant McKinnie were walking next to each other, and from where I was standing, Loadholt looked bigger than Big Mac himself. The man is enormous.
Percy Harvin didn’t get a ton of action but he did take a reverse and had a reception toward the end of practice. I was standing on field level near the point he made the catch, and even though things are winding down and the players weren’t quite going at the pace they would on gameday, it was truly something to see Harvin’s speed up close.
That’s about all I’ve got — not too much to report on, but again, my big takeaway was T-Jack’s overall sharpness and Rosenfels’ underwhelming performance.
So, while I think it is a long shot that the Vikings continue to pursue Brett Favre, the scales are starting to tip in Tarvaris Jackson’s favor to be the starter against Cleveland.
However, don’t call it a done deal yet. Jackson will need to prove that he can handle some blitzes during game scenarios during the preseason and also needs to show that he can stay healthy for more than a couple practices in a row.
While Rosenfels has those same things to prove, the expectations have just been knocked up a few notches for Tarvaris and his preseason performances.