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Yes, I've Finally Found a Reason

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I don't need an excuse.

Apparently we've discovered the reason why it doesn't appear as though Tarvaris Jackson could hit Roseanne on a five-yard hitch.

Adding injury to insult, the Vikings revealed today that QB Tarvaris Jackson has an avulsion fracture of the index finger on his right hand, suffered midway through yesterday's 24-14 loss at Dallas.

According to the orthopedic link that Access Vikings linked to, an avulsion fracture is defined as an injury to the bone in a place where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. When an avulsion fracture occurs, the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone.

cue X-files music

Now, yours truly loves a good conspiracy theory as much as anybody.  So, because this has come out since Jackson's abysmal performance against Dallas yesterday, I find that I'm asking myself one question:

Is this a broken finger. . .or a "slap, slap, grin, grin, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more" broken finger?

Honestly, the timing on this seems to be way, WAY too convenient.  Quarterback goes up against the undisputed best team in the conference, gets solid defensive support, gets a solid running game, and urinates the game down one of his lower extremities, looking absolutely terrible in the process.  Said quarterback couldn't throw an accurate pass downfield to save his life, and only completes two passes to wide receivers all day long.  Now, after this awful performance, it comes out that. . .hey, guess what?  His finger is broken!

Please.  If he broke the finger during the game yesterday and it was affecting his throwing, then why the heck was he still on the field?  I don't want to hear "he's a competitor" or "he was trying to be a leader" or any of the other cliches, either.  Playing hurt is one thing. . .playing when such a state adversely affects your team is another.

So I'm not entirely buying into the "Jackson is hurt" theory yet.  I know that since the end of last season, Brad Childress has been trumpeting the virtues of Tarvaris Jackson and telling us all how he was such a quick study and how ready he was, even telling us that he was ahead of where Donovan McNabb was at the same point of his career.  In McNabb's second year (his first full year as a starter), the Eagles went 11-5 and made it to their first of four consecutive NFC Championship Games.  In Jackson's second year (his first full year as a starter), he's leading a pass offense that's as bad as any in the history of the Minnesota Vikings.

Methinks that Brad Childress misjudged this one.  I also think that this is just the sort of excuse that Childress needed to create to sit his pet project back on the bench.  What, exactly, makes me think this?

It's something I touched on a bit when it started coming out that Michael Vick's co-defendants were starting to take plea deals to testify against him.  Yes, Brad Childress has been loyal to Tarvaris Jackson, possibly to a fault.  But there's one thing that can completely override loyalty, and that's the basic human desire to save one's own ass.  Brad Childress knows that his butt is on the line as the Vikings' coach.  He's hitched his wagon to #7, and it looks like that wagon has an Oregon Trail-style broken wheel at this point.  If the Vikings continue along this trail, there's a good chance that there won't be a Year 3 of the Brad Childress Era.

(Yes, I know that Zygi gave him a vote of confidence.  I'm sure that Billy Martin got lots of votes of confidence from George Steinbrenner, too.  See how well that worked out?)

While Childress might think that his best chance to win for the future lies with Tarvaris Jackson (which, as of now, looks like a dubious conclusion at best), he probably knows in the back of his mind that his best chance to win NOW is with. . .well, pretty much anybody else.  A 4-12 season, which is about what the Vikings are looking at right now, isn't going to get the job done for an owner and a team looking for a new stadium and a concrete identity.  Brad Childress knows this. . .he has to.

We'll see how this progresses.  Next weekend's game is at the Metrodome against Childress' old employer, the Philadelphia Eagles.  I have a funny feeling that we're not going to be seeing Tarvaris Jackson behind center when the game starts.  Depending on how this game goes, we might not see him behind center again any time soon. . .if ever.