Although the Vikings like to say their quarterback competition is an open one, the action of having Tarvaris Jackson take most of the first-team snaps speaks louder than words. However, Childress explains what he's looking for in his quarterbacks.
Brad Childress has gone to great lengths to try to convince everyone that Tarvaris Jackson
and Brooks Bollinger
will battle for the starting quarterback job during training camp.
Don't believe it.
In the first two days of practices, Jackson took almost every snap with the first unit and barring a complete meltdown he will be under center when the Vikings open the regular season on Sept. 9. In fact, Childress might be using some reverse psychology in saying that this is an open competition.
While in many cases it would give a quarterback added confidence to know he's the starter, in this situation it actually would put more pressure on Jackson. Entering only his second season and with a grand total of two starts to his name, the more focus Childress can take off Jackson the better.
Of course, it's naive to think Jackson won't be put under the microscope during training camp and that his every performance won't be scrutinized.
Obviously, the most important set of eyes watching Jackson will be Childress'.
"I think it's really the body of work more than anything," Childress said when asked about what he will be looking for from his quarterbacks. "Guys are going to go up and down practice-wise. I like to talk about being flat-line quarterbacks. You want to know how good they're going to be when they're very good, how bad they're going to be when they're very bad. I want to know what the standard is going to be that I can expect from those guys.
"Things that I go back and look at (are): Are throws on time? Are their eyes in the right place? Do they understand how many steps there are in a drop? Do they understand the problems that the linemen are going to have in front of them?"
Jackson spent much of the offseason at the Vikings' facility in Eden Prairie, Minn., attempting to improve his knowledge of Childress' West Coast system, but there is no doubt he will be attempting to bite off a big chunk taking over as the starter.
Jackson, to his credit, remains confident.
"I'm ready. I'm working for it each day to get even more ready," he said. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and just trying to get better each day. That's all I can do. When the time comes and the coach puts me in a game, I feel like I'll be ready if I just keep preparing hard every day."
CAMP CALENDAR: The Vikings' final day of practice in Mankato will be on Aug. 16. The team will spend the remainder of training camp working at their practice facility in Eden Prairie, Minn. The Vikings will have practices against the Kansas City Chiefs
on Aug. 3 in Mankato and Aug. 4 in River Falls, Wis.
Fifth-round receiver Aundrae Allison drew praise from coach Brad Childress after the opening two days of training camp practices. "(Allison) has shown up numerous times, making plays out here," Childress said. "I think he gets just a little bit better every day. He's shown up in different areas, whether running or catching, or in returns, or making people miss."
With Erasmus James on the physically unable to perform list to begin camp, Ray Edwards and Brian Robison are both getting time with the first-team defense at right end. Edwards is entering his second season and Robison is a fourth-round pick out of Texas.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been calling plays during unscripted portions of practice. He wears a headset and radios the call directly to the quarterbacks. It's part of Brad Childress' plan to see whether Bevell, or possibly quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers, will assume primary play-calling duties this season. Childress called plays last season but would like to be able to broaden his focus during games this season.
Third-round cornerback Marcus McCauley made an immediate impression in camp. On the second day of practice, he made a diving interception of a pass from Brooks Bollinger that was intended for receiver Justin Surrency. McCauley also nearly intercepted a pass during his first day of practice by getting a quick break on a ball. At this rate, McCauley appears in good position to win a role in the nickel defense.
Safety Darren Sharper missed the afternoon practice on the second day of camp after fullback Tony Richardson delivered a big-time hit in the morning session. Childress is definitely trying to tone down the physical nature of his second camp as Vikings coach but he certainly hasn't eliminated it.
It's going to take some time for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and center Matt Birk to get on the same page. On the first day of practices, Jackson failed to handle Birk's snaps on back-to-back plays.
Former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor during halftime of the Sept. 30 game against Green Bay at the Metrodome. Foreman's induction will cap the team's alumni reunion weekend. As part of the celebration, the Vikings will wear throwback uniforms. Former was a five-time Pro Bowl and played for Minnesota from 1973-1979.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Pat is doing great things for this defense and I just hope it's being recognized. Hopefully, he'll get his due." — Vikings Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams talking about nose tackle Pat Williams' contract situation with the team.