#9, Brooks Bollinger, QB
(6005, 205, 4.67-4.81) Wisconsin
Notes: Born 11/15/79, in Grand Forks, North Dakota. His father, Rob, was the offensive coordinator at the University of North Dakota and coached there when tight end Jim Kleinsasser was at UND. Top football, baseball and basketball player in high school at Grand Forks Central and was the Gatorade State Player of the Year in 1997, the starting quarterback in football since ninth grade, the point guard on the basketball team and shortstop in baseball. He played in every game while attending high school and passed for 40 touchdowns while running for 19 more. He was a very late pick in the June 2000 baseball draft (50th round by the Dodgers). Bollinger is a model citizen, is active in the community, and he and his wife, Natalie, have a son, Miles.
College: Redshirted in 1998. Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1999; completed 82-of-140 passes (58.6%) for 1, 133 yards, 8 touchdowns, 2 interception and rushed for 454 yards on 109 carries (4.2 avg.) and 6 TDs. Started every game in 2000, completing 110-of-209 (52.6%) for 1,479 yards, 10 TDs, 7 interceptions and rushed 157-459-6. Missed three games and parts of two others in 2001 with a liver contusion, groin and hip injuries, but completed 91-of-177 (51.4%) for 1,257 yards, 6 TDs, 4 interceptions and rushed 92-388-6. Completed 119-of-221 (53.8%) for 1,595 yards with 12 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as a senior. Also rushed 140-384-7 in 12 games. Had a 22-7 record as a starter with the Badgers and a 24-15 TD-INT ratio over the course of three years as the starting quarterback. He was team captain in 2001 and 2002. He finished his college career as the No. 2 all-time passer, behind only Darrell Bevell, the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. Vikings offensive line coach Jim Hueber was on the Badger staff and he was recruited to UW by Vikings head coach Brad Childress.
Pro: A sixth-round draft pick by the New York Jets in 2003. He watched and learned behind Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington as a rookie. He was listed as the backup QB in the opening 6 games of the season and was inactive for the last 10 games of the season as the 3rd QB. He saw his first career action, completing 5-of-9 passes for 60 yards and had one carry for 2 yards in a relief appearance in 2004. Bollinger was thrust into a starting role in 2005 after both Pennington and Jay Fiedler went down, and Testaverde was brought back and failed to succeed. He finished the season completing 150-of-266 (56.4%) passes for 1,558 yards with 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions en route to posting a 72.9 quarterback passer rating. He also rushed 35 times for 135 yards in 11 games.
Bollinger was traded to the Vikings in 2006 for defensive tackle C.J. Mosley and a draft pick just prior to the start of the regular season. He saw action in 2 games late in the season and completed 13-of-18 passes (72.2%) for 146 yards with 1 interception, but suffered a shoulder injury that pretty well sidelined him the rest of the way. Bollinger competed for the starting job with Tarvaris Jackson in training camp but never really unseated him. He began the season as the No. 2 quarterback until veteran Kelly Holcomb was deemed ready and then Bollinger was No. 3. Injuries to both Jackson and Holcomb of late have elevated his importance on the depth chart, however.
Positives: Very good athlete with good mobility and running ability for a quarterback. He moves well within the pocket, can elude the rush and is able to keep drives alive with his feet. Bollinger is very quick-footed and nimble. He is very tough and competitive. Smart; generally protects the ball nicely and does not throw a lot of interceptions. He does not make a lot of mental mistakes. Is a very good game manager who generally plays within himself. He has become much more accurate as a passer since coming to the NFL.
Negatives: Lacks size and does not have a really strong arm. Is not a great pure passer and lacks top accuracy, timing and touch at times.
Summary: A marginal talent as a passer but a heady leader with a lot of intangibles, Bollinger isn’t the kind of quarterback you build around, but he’s an effective relief-pitcher type who won’t lose for you and is a consummate team player on the practice field, in the locker room and on game day.
What they said:
“It is about time someone gave Brooks a chance in this league, you all seen how he helped get Adrian Peterson the rushing record the sky's the limit for him.” – Houston Texans running back and former teammate at Wisconsin, Ron Dayne
“A resourceful, proven winner with a knack for getting the job done at critical points in the game. With his limitations, however, you are looking at strictly backup material in the NFL.” – Mel Kiper