We'll begin to find out beginning Sunday as the Vikings open their season against Atlanta at the Metrodome. Coming off a 6-10 finish in 2006, expectations aren't very high.
In fact, entering the week, there were concerns about the Vikings facing their first blackout in a decade. That hasn't happened since 1997 — the year before receiver Randy Moss arrived.
As of Tuesday, the Vikings had 3,500 tickets remaining and had not sold out any of their games. This includes the Sept. 30 meeting with arch-rival Green Bay. The Packers game is usually sold out days after single-game tickets go on sale.
Jackson, a second-round pick out of Division I-AA Alabama State, played in four games last season and started the final two. The Vikings lost both contests, and Jackson clearly had a long way to go in learning the West Coast system the Vikings utilize.
He spent much of his offseason at the team's Winter Park complex working with the coaching staff and trying to learn the intricacies of the scheme.
Jackson's preseason performance didn't reveal much about where he's at in his development. His most extensive action came in the third preseason game when he played into the third quarter against Seattle. With the Seahawks using some of their blitz packages, Jackson did not look completely overmatched but also rushed himself at times.
He played only one series in the Vikings' preseason finale against Dallas and threw at least two balls that could have been picked off. Jackson completed 20 of 38 passes for 225 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns in his exhibition appearances.
While the addition of first-round pick Adrian Peterson to a backfield that includes 1,000-yard rusher Chester Taylor will make the Vikings running game dangerous, there is little doubt about how new Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will approach this game.
Atlanta will not only load up the box and dare Jackson to pass the ball, but the Falcons will come at him with a variety of blitzes that will test his ability to remain in the pocket and find receivers. It wouldn't be surprising if Jackson also takes off running with the ball.
He battled a knee injury for much of last season and appears much more willing to run now that the knee is feeling better.
Among Jackson's receiving options will be newcomers Bobby Wade and Robert Ferguson. Wade, signed as a free agent during the offseason, appeared to be developing a chemistry with Jackson in the preseason.
Wade, who will be used primarily out of the slot, caught five passes for 85 yards against the Seahawks. Troy Williamson, who has been a disappointment since being the seventh overall pick of the 2005 draft, also remains an option although it appears anything the Vikings get from the receiver will be a plus.
One interesting thing will be to see what type of impact there is now that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has taken over the primary play-calling duties from coach Brad Childress. Bevell called plays in the exhibition games and appears more willing to throw downfield than Childress was last season.