Jackson Looking to Prove Doubters Wrong

The initial reaction regarding Vikings second-round draft pick Tarvaris Jackson was that the Vikings either gave up too much to get him by trading up in the draft or drafted him too earlier. Jackson has heard those comments and hopes to prove his doubters wrong by continuing to study and learn the offense.

Tarvaris Jackson knows the score. He knows he's not expected to turn the corner from "quarterback of the future" to "starting quarterback 2006" unless something dramatic happens to the players ahead of him on the depth chart.

He's also heard and seen the comments about the Vikings "reaching" for him in the second round of the 2006 draft.

"My people would call me and tell me about it. My friends would call me and say, ‘They're saying this and that about you.' It helps me. I'm already a self-motivated person, but them saying that just motivates me more," Jackson told Viking Update. "It doesn't bother me; it helps me out, so they can say what they want to say. It's up to me to prove them wrong."

That's what Jackson has been working on in the two months of practices the Vikings concluded since the draft.

The former Division I-AA quarterback went from the analysis of many saying he was a "reach" pick – mostly from those who had never seen him throw live – to suddenly positive reports on his arm once media members were able to see what Vikings scouts saw in their private workouts and film review. What everyone has now seen is a very impressive arm that can zip a ball into traffic without being bothered by oncoming traffic.

However, a strong arm alone will only get Jackson so far. Now he needs apply his physical skills to the NFL game.

"I've learned a lot more and got a lot more reps since the OTAs (organized team activities) started," Jackson said.

During one week, he was the only quarterback at practices, which gave him a chance to really work on getting in a rhythm and allowed the coaches to see his strengths and weaknesses play after play.

He said he was able to learn in the first minicamp by watching the veteran quarterbacks run the majority of the plays, but just before spring turned to summer, Jackson was getting more reps and learning more of the offense from a hands-on approach.

During the OTA weeks, Jackson said he would go to meetings and film study, practice and then go home and study more. During conditioning weeks, he would meet a lot more with his coaches, then go work with the strength and conditioning coach, then go home and study.

Study is the repetitive and operative word for a "quarterback of the future."

"It's pretty much football all day. The only time it's not football is when I'm sleeping. It's fun, this is what I love to do so it's no problem," he said in the middle of the "offseason" grind.

His comfort level and how soon he becomes the "quarterback of the present" will depend on how many reps he gets, he says.

"I'm not going to say a year or two or three years, but I feel like I'm picking up things pretty fast. I've got a lot more studying to do and a lot more learning. I'm not going to rush it, but I'll have a sense of urgency about it," he said.

"The first minicamp, I had basic plays, but now they're putting more on my shoulders because I feel like I can handle it. I guess they feel like I can too, but when they install plays it's not just for one person. They install them for the older guys too, so I've got to learn as they learn. They're more familiar with it. I'm learning on the run and just trying to do the best possible."

Eventually, he might turn the opinion of those who questioned the Vikings' selection of him around. For now, he's taking the first steps in the transition and just trying to learn a more in-depth offense that he has ever run.

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