Will T-Jack Start in '08?

A year ago, Brad Childress was quick and adament about saying that Tarvaris Jackson was his starting quarterback for the 2007 season. When asked the same question about '08 following the Vikings loss to Denver, he wasn't as quick to give a ringing endorsement for next season.

It's going to be the biggest question of the offseason, which, by our last check, began about 6:30 p.m. Sunday – will Tarvaris Jackson be the Vikings unquestioned starting quarterback in 2008?

It was a question that got mixed reviews following the game. Jackson said he believed he earned his starting role this year, leading the Vikings to a 8-4 record in games he started. Brad Childress wasn't so quick to anoint T-Jack as his 2008 starter. Somewhere in the middle likely lies the truth.

With 64 different quarterbacks starting games this season – a new NFL record for a single season – it's clear that the demand for veteran quarterbacks remains strong. While Brooks Bollinger appears to be an ideal No. 3 guy, neither he nor Kelly Holcomb have the look of the type of quarterback that could rally a team and be productive, like Tony Romo and Jeff Garcia were last year in playoff runs for the Eagles and Cowboys or Kurt Warner was this season for the Cardinals when Matt Leinart went down.

While Jackson will likely enter training camp as No. 1 on the QB depth chart, don't be stunned to see the Vikings make a splash in the trade or free-agent market to get a veteran QB with starting experience – not to look over Jackson's shoulder, but to be a contingency plan in the event Jackson doesn't show the needed improvement.

With seven Pro Bowl players, a couple of alternates and a couple more that were deserving of consideration, it's clear that the Vikings have talent on both sides of the ball. As of now, the quarterback position would appear to be one of the weak links of the offense. If that can be improved upon, it would make sense to create some competition at the position. But for now, we'll just have to wait and see.

MONDAY NOTES
* The 2008 schedule is set for the Vikings. Their home schedule will include the Packers, Bears, Lions, Panthers, Falcons, Texans, Colts and Giants. The road scheduled will include the Packers, Bears, Lions, Saints, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Titans and Cardinals. What should stand out is that of all their games, only two (the Packers and Bears on the road) could potentially be cold-weather games. In all, they will play 11 games in domes, two in Florida and another in climate-friendly Tennessee.
* The Vikings will draft anywhere from 16th to 19th in April's college draft. Four teams – the Vikings, Texans, Eagles and Cardinals – finished with 8-8 records. The final order is determined by the strength of schedule formula put in reverse – the team with the 8-8 record that faced the worst competition will pick 16th, etc.
* The Vikings players have the day off today and will have the final set of team meetings Wednesday morning before dispersing to their homes for the start of their offseason.
* Many coaches hold their year-end press conferences the Monday after the season ends, but Childress will wait until late Thursday morning to have his year-end presser.
* Adrian Peterson sat out the first series of Sunday's game for disciplinary reasons – he was late for a team function.
* In the final game of the season, Peterson had just seven carries for 25 yards in the first half and four carries for 11 yards in the second half.
* Peterson had just 144 rushing yards in the final four games of the season. Whether his quick return from a ligament tear and subsequently being forced to wear a protective brace made any difference or not is unclear.
* Sidney Rice was a bit frustrated after the game because, as late as the pre-game workouts, he thought he would be activated with a Grade-1 high ankle sprain. He felt he would be able to play through the injury and was upset when he learned that he was one of the team's inactives Sunday.
* Pat Williams is expected to have knee surgery after the Pro Bowl.
* The Vikings didn't have a 300-yard passer or 100-yard receiver all year. Bobby Wade came close with 92 yards Sunday, but the top spot went to Visanthe Shiancoe, who had 94 yards receiving against the Raiders – most of that coming on an opening-play bomb from Rice.


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