Notebook: Williamson-Jackson the Future?

The insertion of strong-armed quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could help wide receiver Troy Williamson, who hopes he's on the way to becoming a more confident and consistent receiver. Plus, see what Brad Childress and A.J. Hawk had to say about Jackson, as well as other notes and quotes before the Vikings and Packers square off.

There was a time that Troy Williamson was being viewed as a No. 1 receiver for the Vikings. There was also a time this season when Williamson led the NFL in dropped passes.

Right now, Williamson is just hoping that the insertion of rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could signal a rebirth to the receiver's productivity as well.

"He's a good quarterback and he can make things happen," Williamson said of Jackson. "That's what he did (Sunday). The way that he plays and the energy that he brings to the game, it's good for all of us."

It was especially good for Williamson, who caught three of his six passes from Jackson on Sunday against the New York Jets.

In nearly three quarters of work with Brad Johnson at quarterback, Williamson caught passes of 10, 9 and 9 yards. In just over one quarter of work with Jackson at quarterback, Williamson caught passes of 13, 22 and 11 yards.

"It was a matter of keep working and keep my mind on positive things, and things would work out for me," said Williamson, who was back in the starting lineup after four weeks away from that role, including one week on the inactive list. "It feels good. I've got to just keep on working. I can never get myself to a comfortable state. I've got to just keep on doing what I've got to do, keep on working so I can get myself better."

But it wasn't all rosey for Williamson when Jackson went in. While he caught Jackson's first pass, Williamson also was a major reason that Jackson's first drive ended with a punt. Facing third-and-4, the Vikings went topside for Williamson on a bomb down the sideline – one that was closely defended but could have been caught.

"We talk about those (catchable passes) as a staff and we kind of chart them and I think they keep a stat in the NFL, so that's kind of up to your conjecture which ones we should have had, which ones we shouldn't have had," Childress said. "Some of them are tough tries, some are tougher than others, but I don't know if I'm going to share with you guys which ones I'm grading as catch-drop."

Ironically, Sunday's game also ended with a Hail Mary pass that Williamson got his hands on but couldn't haul in. With the Vikings down by 13 points, that pass near the goal line wouldn't have changed the game, but it might have given Williamson more confidence in himself and Jackson more confidence in his top deep threat.

But Williamson feels the chemistry between the two is there, fostered by time spent hooking up with each other on the scout-team squad in practices and during their occasional time together on the first-team offense.

"It looks good. He can throw the ball good," Williamson said. "It's just a matter of fact that when you get opportunities, do what you've got to do with it."

Jackson and Williamson each have to capitalize on their opportunities over the next two games and whatever time they may or may not get as hopeful members of the NFC playoffs.

For now, Williamson knows that Jackson created some excitement with the energy he brought to the game.

"He never gave up, no matter what the score looked like. He wanted to go out and get himself comfortable and be ready when that time came. He was ready," Williamson said. "You even heard it from the crowd. What he does when he has the ball in his hands, it's just something that every quarterback doesn't have – he just always had that energy. The type of player that he is and the how he presents himself in the huddle just makes him a good player overall."


It seems the mental aspect of the game will be key for Jackson.

When Childress was asked what he likes best about Jackson, he talked less on his strong arm and mobility and more on his intangibles.

"We liked his skill set coming out obviously and that would include how he thinks," Childress said. "Obviously, for a quarterback not just his arm, not just his athletic ability. The guy's got to be able to communicate. He's got to be able to make decisions quickly and effectively, and we saw those things and continue to see it through training camp on."

Childress indicated he expects the Packers to blitz Jackson more often than they would a veteran quarterback,

"You usually have a chance to see, if not exotic, some heavy (blitzing) defenses, seeing if he knows what to do with it," Childress said.

Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said Green Bay has to stop the Vikings' running game first, but, while the Packers don't have much film on Jackson, he gave his fellow rookie credit.

"We know that he has a lot of talent," Hawk said of Jackson. "He has a big arm, and he can move around in the pocket and can make people miss. It's not going to change our game plan too much, but we just have to be aware of where he is a little bit more."


  • Williamson, who has led or tied for the lead in receptions four times so far this season, also returned one kickoff for the Vikings on Sunday. With Bethel Johnson's declining numbers in that category, it could be another opportunity for Williamson to contribute on the field.

  • Three statistics that Jackson can help control seem especially relevant heading into the Packers game. The Vikings are 2-1 when leading at the half and 3-7 when trailing at the half. They are 4-1 when they score 20 or more points and 2-7 when they don't. They are also 1-4 when they commit at least three turnovers.

  • Defensively, the Vikings are 4-1 when they create at least three turnovers.

  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy is hoping that weather plays a role in Thursday night's game, citing back-to-back games at Lambeau Field against dome teams.

    "That's something that can play to your advantage. We had Detroit come in here this past week and it was probably the nicest day of the year. We practiced outside (Tuesday), and it was nice out there today, so I don't know how big of a factor it's going to be," McCarthy said. "… (Weather) definitely can play in your advantage. I coached with a dome team for five years, and I can recall a football game at Cincinnati and it was 35 degrees, and personally, I thought I was going to freeze to death. You get used to that warm weather, so it can mess with your mind."

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars gave a tryout to former Vikings quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan.

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