If Adrian Peterson continues to rush like he has, the player handing it off may not matter as much. Still, the Minnesota Vikings want to find out how much they can trust Tarvaris Jackson by using him the rest of this season.
Jackson was knock unconscious late the second quarter of Sunday's 35-17 win over the San Diego Chargers, but head coach Brad Childress said if Jackson recovers from the concussion he suffered and is healthy enough to play Sunday in Green Bay that he will be the starter.
"I want to see Tarvaris to continue to develop. I thought he did some good things when he was in there, including pulling the ball down a couple of times," Childress said. "I didn't quite get a full look at the hit, but you have to learn how to slide. That slide, we take it all the way to the Nth degree. When you give yourself up, you give yourself up. You can't give yourself up at the last second, and I think that's probably what ended up happening."
Jackson was trying to get a first down and was tripped up by Chargers safety Eric Weddle. As he was going to the turf, linebacker Stephen Cooper's leg made contact with Jackson's helmet and the quarterback lay prone on the turf with his hand in the air before it relaxed along with the rest of his body.
"They said I was sleeping for two minutes maybe. I don't know," Jackson said.
Players knelt in prayer on the field as trainers tended to Jackson. Eventually, he regained consciousness, was helped to his feet and carted off the field.
"Brooks (Bollinger) always tells me to wear my mouthpiece week in and week out and I was like, ‘No, I am not going to wear it.' Then this happened and now I am going to start wearing my mouthpiece now," Jackson said.
Jackson returned to the sidelines in the second half but did not re-enter the game after completing 6 of 12 passes for 63 yards for a 65.3 rating. He will be evaluated Monday to see how his head is responding.
"The head is a real sensitive deal, you know, so I am going stay working with the trainers and just see," said Jackson, who also suffered a concussion in high school.
The bigger issue is that Jackson's many injuries over the last two seasons have hindered him from making any consistent progress in the developmental stages of his quarterbacking career. Last year, a knee injury kept him out of action most of the season before he made the final two starts of the season and was limited with his mobility.
This year, a groin strain and a fractured finger have caused him to missed games.
"It is getting kind of frustrating week in and week out. Play a game, play two games and then I get hurt. I have got to do a better job of staying on the field," Jackson said.
Bollinger's relief appearances might make it more difficult to keep him off the field. He is the Vikings' top-rated quarterback this season with a 112.3 passer rating. Sunday, he completed 7 of 10 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown on his way to a 133.3 rating.
His experience and understanding how to take advantage of defenses seem to be showing.
"Their corners are just pretty aggressive all day, and when I say that I mean they clue the quarterback and watch the quarterback's feet," Bollinger said when talking about a 40-yard, third-quarter touchdown pass to Sidney Rice. "And when your drop stops they kind of settle their feet. It happened on a couple that Tarvaris made nice throws on that they were right there breaking on the ball and sitting up pretty tight on all the shorter routes. So I just put my eyes on him and he settled his feet, and Sidney just ran right by him."
Quarterback Quandary an Important Sidenote
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