With the cutdown to 53 players fast approaching, and the regular season kick off next Thursday, the Vikings will have some decisions to make. The general consensus during the off-season was that the three quarterbacks for 2010 would be the same quarterbcaks for 2009---Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson, and Sage Rosenfels. Well, Joe Webb has seemed to have thrown a wrench into that conventional wisdom. Now the reasoning is that because Webb has shown a lot of athleticism and potential, if the VIkings were to cut him and then try to sneak him on the practice squad, some other team would claim him, like the Chiefs did with Tyler Thigpen a couple of years back.
So if we go on the assumption that the Vikings will keep Joe Webb, that only leaves one QB slot for two incumbent back ups.
Yeah, no matter who I pick, it isn't going to end well, is it? My case for both after the jump.
The case for Tarvaris Jackson: Jackson entered camp as the starter in waiting, and the #2 guy behind Favre. Although he hasn't done anything remarkable in training camp and the pre-season, he hasn't done anything to lose the primary backup job, either. I honestly believe that Jackson has looked better this year in his decision making and accuracy. He's still had a couple of 'what the heck' moments, but overall, it seems that Jackson has progressed as a quarterback.
Jackson's natural athleticism must be taken into consideration here as well. The interior of the VIkings line looks like it might have issues, especially if C John Sullivan isn't ready for the opener. Jackson has the ability to evade the rush and make something out of nothing, and has done that several times this pre-season. If the VIkings offensive line regresses from last year, having an athletic, running quarterback might be a necessity. 'But Ted', you say, 'Joe Webb is an athletic, running quarterback', and you'd be right. But Webb is also a rookie, and a guy that does not have command of the offense. Jackson does, and he could run the entire offense, where Webb could not.
Jackson is also Brad Childress' protege, and Childress has invested a lot of time and effort to try and convert Jackson from a raw, unproven rookie (like Webb) into a polished NFL quarterback. Each player is different, and believe it or not, Jackson has improved every year, and this could be the year where he makes that final leap in the event Favre does actually get hurt to the point where he can't play. Some Jackson highlights below:
The case for Sage Rosenfels: The whole premise for Rosenfels coming to the Vikings was that the Vikings needed a veteran guy to push Jackson and compete for the starting job. Yeah, that sorta went the way of horse cavalry when Favre joined the team, but Sage was still a valuable guy to have available in case Favre got hurt. However, THAT went by the wayside when Jackson out-played Rosenfels last year (and this year) and was placed second on the depth chart.
However, Rosenfels has had a pretty good pre-season. He was terrible against San Francisco, but everyone on offense was terrible against San Francisco...except Joe Webb, ironically enough. A lot of folks tend to think the Vikings are showcasing Rosenfels for a trade, based mostly on his 300 yard passing performance against the Rams. Many teams need a veteran backup, and Rosenfels fits the bill perfectly. He is an experienced guy that might not go out and win a game for you, but he takes care of the ball and generally doesn't lose the game for you, either.
But, speaking of that veteran presence, would it be wise for the VIkings to cut or trade Rosie and have two very inexperienced backups on the roster behind Favre? If the offensive line settles down, do you want a Gus Frerotte type of guy that you're pretty sure can get you to at least 10 wins and into the playoffs, or two unproven athletic guys that have the potential to thrill you one minute and frustrate the crap out of you the next? Oh, and what would a Rosenfels post be without...ROSENCOPTER!!!:
I love me some Rosencopter, although that tends to graphically refute my whole 'takes care of the ball' argument. But man, it's fun to watch, isn't it?
There you go, TJ or Sage. Who do you think the Vikes will keep? For me, I think signs indicate keeping Jackson and trying to work a trade for Rosenfels. I don't see any team making a trade for him, though, unless it's a real critical situation, because they can just wait out cutdown day and then sign Rosenfels for no compensation as all.
So I think it's Jackson, but yeah, I'm prrrreeeetttttyyyy surethat there will be varying opinions on this.