QBs Playing Rotational Dating Game

Brad Childress has been flirting with all sorts of different quarterback scenarios for Sunday's game in Green Bay. His three top choices – Tarvaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger and Koy Detmer – all have a different story to tell. See what each of them had to say about their prospects on Sunday and how comfortable they are in their very different situations.

Wednesday at Winter Park brought the latest round in the quarterback carousel that has had more twists and turns than a Hollywood thriller. The usual suspects are back, but the question remains the same – who will be the starter for the Vikings' next game?

As usual, Brad Childress wasn't going to come out and make any sort of announcement. He never did when Kelly Holcomb was the starter for the third and fourth games of the season. He didn't make anything official until very late after the bye week that Tarvaris Jackson was back in as starter. He didn't when Holcomb took over again. So why should he now?

The buzz word Wednesday was "execution." The three quarterbacks who will vying for spots on the depth chart this week – Jackson, Brooks Bollinger and newcomer Koy Detmer – all spoke about execution Wednesday. Ask Vikings fans what they think of the execution of the team's quarterbacks and a pretty fair percentage would say they're in favor of it.

Like a weekly version of "The Dating Game," three eligible bachelors are in line to win the prize – Holcomb has been ruled out. So who will it be? That remains the mystery of the 2007 Vikings.

Jackson spent Wednesday explaining that he has passed all of the pre-practice testing, but is listening to the advice of the medical staff, who say they want to see how his response to his first post-concussion practice goes. Later in the week, he'll probably have a better handle on his status for Sunday's game with Green Bay.

"I have to go out and practice to see if I feel any dizziness or get sick or anything," Jackson said. "Those are the symptoms. If I complete the tests and I feel good, I want to compete with these guys. This is a serious matter. I want to be honest with (the coaching and medical staff) how I feel and if I feel good, I can play."

As it turns out, Jackson's concussion had a strange by-product to him – a subject that has made him the butt of jokes with friends and family. When the team medical staff came out to the field, Jackson was unconscious – to the point that he was snoring.

"It's funny now because I'm OK, but at the time it wasn't funny when the trainers saw the situation I was in," Jackson said. "I was snoring. I only snore when I'm really tired. I guess I was."

All kidding aside, that episode will likely play a part in whether Jackson is given clearance to play Sunday. If any red flags emerge, Bachelor No. 1 becomes Quarterback No. 3 on the depth chart.


Bollinger has been a yo-yo on the Vikings' depth chart all season. For the first two games, he was the No. 2 QB behind Jackson. For the next two, he was the No. 2 QB behind Holcomb. For the next two games, he was No. 3. For the last two weeks, he has been No. 2 again – once behind Holcomb and once behind Jackson. In both instances, he ended up finishing the game for the Vikings.

As he awaits word on Jackson, he continues to prepare for his first start as a Viking, which would put him in the middle of the team's biggest rivalry in one of the hallowed venues of NFL lore.

"You try not to get too caught up in that stuff," Bollinger said. "Everyone knows that Lambeau Field is a special place with a lot of history. They get pretty cranked up there and it's obviously a difficult place (for a road team) to win. My focus is to do whatever I need to do to get us ready on offense – to go in that hostile environment and win a football game."

Bollinger has yet to get the full number of reps with the first team as the clear-cut first-string quarterback. If T-Jack is shut down, he will be given that opportunity. But as he views it, getting the practice time won't make his mission on Sunday any smoother. He will have to come in with the secret word to succeed – execute – whether he's asked to start or come off the bench for the fourth time in nine games.

"I don't think it ever makes it easier," Bollinger said. "It's still just a matter of going out and executing on any given play. The last couple of weeks when I went in, guys found ways to make plays and we kind of caught the momentum and rode it. It's always tough – whether you're starting or coming off the bench. It's not easy to play quarterback in this league."


While Holcomb was rotating his entire upper body to turn and answer questions following Sunday's game and Jackson was being asked about his concussion history, Detmer was watching the game on TV. Shortly after the game, Detmer, who was working with his brother at Triton Financial – an investment group in Austin, Texas – he got a call he was half-expecting. On the other end was Childress with a tryout offer.

Detmer had seen other quarterbacks signed off the street in recent weeks, including ageless wonder Vinny Testaverde, Tim Rattay, former Viking Todd Bouman and Tim Hasselbeck – who is probably less famous than his wife Elisabeth, who parlayed a stint on the TV show "Survivor" into a daily cat-fight with Rosie O'Donnell on "The View." At times it seemed like everyone else's phone was ringing but his.

"They way they started to add up, you weren't sure," Detmer said of getting the call to duty. "Obviously, it takes the right place at the right time. It ended up being here. I'm excited for the opportunity and hope everything works out."

The familiarity between Childress and Detmer was forged during their years together in Philadelphia. While the venue has changed, much of the system that Childress ran in Philly and what the Vikings run is similar – giving Detmer a heads-up over other prospective candidates, because he could, you guessed it, execute. But with a running back on pace to gain 2,000 yards, execution may take on a different form.

"In terms of terminology and to be able to execute some of the basic plays, I feel comfortable with that," Detmer said. "You need to get your feet on the ground and get going, but I feel comfortable with the offense and good about going out and executing – turn around and hand it off to Adrian."

While Detmer had been out of football since the end of the 2005 season, he wasn't ready to hang up his thoughts of continuing his NFL career, although the prospect did seem to be nearing the point of inevitability. When asked if he had filled out his official retirement paperwork with the league, Detmer said nothing had been turned in, but that time seemed to be running out.

"I hadn't sent them in yet," Detmer said. "I was thinking that, because I didn't sign anywhere in the minicamps or training camp, if this season went through (without being signed) possibly then turning them in. Now this happened, so there's the possibility of getting back in the mix again."

So who will it be? Bachelor No. 1? Bachelor No. 2? Or Bachelor No. 3? Childress isn't saying, because he doesn't want to give a competitive advantage to the Packers. But whether it's Bollinger or T-Jack, it likely isn't going to change too much of what the Packers defense has planned for the Vikings. Why should it?

"They're not going to change anything," Jackson said. "They're 7-1. Obviously, they're doing something right. I don't think you'll see too many changes from those guys. We just have to execute. We left plays out there last time. When we went back and looked at the stats, they were pretty much even. They probably made a play and we didn't make a play. We just need to go out there and make that play this time."

And, along the way, execute, no matter who this week's starter may be.

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