Is T-Jack "The Guy?"

The daily questions about the future of Tarvaris Jackson have led to speculation that the Vikings will look elsewhere for a starter. If the playoff teams and their QB situations mean anything, the Vikings may have to look at the draft to find a long-term answer if T-Jack isn't "the guy" for Brad Childress' offense.

As the Vikings look ahead to 2008, the clear question hanging in front of them seems to be front and center on the quarterback position. With Tarvaris Jackson being viewed by some as a young QB on the rise and by others as a failed experiment, the fact of the matter is that the quarterback position is as much a hit and miss position as any on the field. But when it comes to success, it would seem that the formula leans toward the high draft picks.

Of the 12 quarterbacks that brought their teams to the playoffs, most of them were premium draft picks. Peyton Manning and Eli Manning were both first overall draft picks. Philip Rivers, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, Jason Campbell and Vince Young were first-round picks. Jeff Garcia had experience in the CFL before coming to the NFL. Tony Romo, David Garrard and Matt Hasselbeck were groomed for years as backups before getting their starting opportunities.

That leaves just one QB remaining – Tom Brady of the Patriots. A sixth-round pick, Brady got thrown into the fire early when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury. He responded by leading the Patriots to the Super Bowl and the rest is history.

It would seem that the plan for a successful quarterback – at least as it pertained to 2007 success – was one of two things. First was to take a quarterback with a premium first-round pick. Short of that, the blueprint for success centered on taking a mid-round or late-round quarterback and grooming him for an extended period of time.

It would seem the Vikings plan didn't cover either contingency. Jackson was the last pick of the second round and, while viewed as a project, was thrust into the starting lineup in his second season and produced an up-and-down season to say the least.

Can Jackson break the mold? It's always a possibility. But, if you look at what got the 12 NFL teams into the playoff dance, it would seem the approach the Vikings are taking isn't necessarily the ideal quarterbacking situation. If Brad Childress can make it work, more power to him. But it would appear that the ideal route to success at the quarterback position would entail getting someone drafted in the first round or going the veteran route.

The days of making due with quarterbacks that are sub-par just doesn't cut it in the NFL anymore. With the emphasis on passing that has emerged in recent years, having a field general is of primary importance and, at this point, it doesn't look like T-Jack is that guy … at least not yet.



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