Jackson Takes Big Step Backwards

Tarvaris Jackson played a respectable game in the season opener, but the young quarterback made far too many mistakes in Sunday's loss.

Tarvaris Jackson is expected to be healthy enough to play Sunday as the Vikings travel to Kansas City. But what level of confidence the quarterback will take into that contest is another matter.

Jackson, entering his second NFL season and first as a starter, had to leave the Vikings' 20-17 overtime loss to Detroit on Sunday during the extra session because of what was believed to be a slight groin injury. The numbers he posted might have gotten many quarterbacks pulled long before an injury occurred.

Jackson completed 17 of 33 passes for 166 yards with no touchdowns, four interceptions and a 26.4 quarterback rating. He accounted for all but one of the Vikings' turnovers and the Lions generated 17 points off Minnesota's miscues.

One would have to think the 0-2 Chiefs see an opportunity to get well quick against a quarterback who has won only one of the four games he has started.

Jackson seemed to be affected in part by the noise generated by the 61,771 who came to Ford Field to watch the Lions' home opener. It won't be any easier inside notoriously loud Arrowhead Stadium as the Chiefs play their home opener.

Jackson certainly realizes he can't afford a repeat performance or else his stay as the Vikings' starter could end up being a short one. "I didn't play very well," he admitted. "I turned the football over four times. You don't want to do that. ... I pride myself in taking care of the football and I didn't do a very good job of it today."

Especially disappointing was that this represented a large step backward for Jackson. In the Vikings' 24-3 season-opening victory over Atlanta, he completed 13 of 23 passes for only 163 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw only one interception and had a much more-respectable 75.1 rating.

Coach Brad Childress has plenty of experience working with young quarterbacks and continues to have faith in Jackson. He also is fully aware that Jackson continues to be a work in progress.

Thus, while Childress gets frustrated with Jackson's mistakes, there also is a realization that each can serve as a learning experience.

"It's an art to learn how to throw the football for two reasons," Childress said. "No. 1, self preservation, get the ball out of your hands and live to play another snap, and then throwing it out of bounds just because a play can't be made instead of keeping it in play."

The Vikings' desire is for Jackson to simply manage the game and not dig them a hole. The bread-and-butter of an offense that has been outscored 21-20 by the defense through two weeks is a running game lead by rookie Adrian Peterson.

Peterson was the main man in the loss to Detroit, carrying 20 times for 66 yards. This was because veteran Chester Taylor sat out due to a hip injury suffered in Week 1. It's unclear whether Taylor will be able to return against the Chiefs, but if he doesn't it's obviously the Vikings are very comfortable with Peterson assuming the majority of the workload.

NOTES

  • RB Mewelde Moore, a surprise inactive in Week 1, played against the Lions in large part because Taylor was out. Moore was used mostly in third-down situations. He carried six times for 50 yards and also caught four passes for 36 yards. It was clear from the way he was used that the coaching staff has more faith in his pass-blocking ability than they do in Peterson's.

  • WR Troy Williamson left the Lions game because of a hamstring spasm after returning a second quarter kickoff. The move appeared to be more cautionary than anything.

  • FB Tony Richardson sat out because of a forearm injury. Richardson's 2006 season came to an early end in November because of a broken arm, but the veteran said this injury isn't as severe.

  • DE Erasmus James was inactive for the second consecutive game as he recovers from a knee injury suffered last season. James has been practicing but isn't considered to be ready to go by the coaching staff yet.

  • Although the Vikings obtained QB Kelly Holcomb near the end of training camp after Brooks Bollinger struggled, Holcomb has not yet ascended to the No. 2 quarterback role yet. Bollinger, who has now been the backup to Tarvaris Jackson for the first two games, fumbled the snap that led to the Lions' winning field goal in overtime.

  • DT Fred Evans did not play against the Lions after being active for the season opener. Instead, the Vikings had defensive end Jayme Mitchell on the 45-man game-day roster.

  • WR Robert Ferguson made his regular-season debut in a Vikings uniform in Week 2 after missing the opener because of an ankle injury. Ferguson caught three passes for 29 yards.


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