That means Jackson could get his first NFL start Thursday night at Green Bay. Brad Childress refused to tip his hand after the Jets loss, but with his team's playoff hopes on life support, the first-year coach likely will want to take a look at his quarterback of the future.
It also makes sense that Childress will stick with Jackson because of the spark he provides, not to mention his strong throwing arm and ability to scramble when pass protection breaks down. The 38-year-old Johnson does not excel in any of those areas.
Jackson entered Sunday's game late in the third quarter and received a standing ovation from the Metrodome crowd. This was after Johnson had been booed each time he took the field beginning in the second quarter.
Jackson completed 14 of 23 passes for 177 yards with his first career touchdown and interception and had a quarterback rating of 81.2. He also scrambled three times for 20 yards, including an 11-yard dash for a first down that brought the fans out of their seats.
It was a much longer look than the second-round pick from Division I-AA Alabama State got on Dec. 3 at Chicago, when he entered late in the fourth quarter after backup Brooks Bollinger separated his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Jackson completed three of four passes for 35 yards in mop-up duty in that 23-13 defeat.
Since that time, Jackson has been getting occasional time with the first-team offense in practice. "I feel a lot more comfortable because I took more reps in practice and it helped me out a lot," Jackson said. "Just being out there when we played Chicago, it helped me out as far as playing a little bit."
Of Jackson's performance against the Jets, Childress said, "I thought he did some OK things with the bright lights on."
As for Johnson's future, it remains unclear what will happen with the 15-year veteran for the remainder of the season. There is certainly a good chance he has taken his last snap as a member of the Vikings. He is in his second stint with the team, having played in Minnesota the first time from 1992 to 1998.
Johnson said he, "didn't know," and didn't, "want to get into all of that," when asked if he thought he had played his last game with the franchise.
The classy Johnson did throw his support behind Jackson when asked for his assessment of how the rookie fared against the Jets. "I thought he handled himself really well, coming into an adverse situation," Johnson said. "He made some big plays, got some completions. It was a good performance by him."