In his season-ending press conference, Vikings coach Brad Childress gave starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson some support, but it wasn't a complete public backing with a statement saying Jackson would be the starter in 2008. Instead, Childress left the door open for myriad possibilities at the position.
He said he wasn't trying to motivate Jackson by giving no concrete answer.
"I'm not interested in trying to motivate him by leaving a cloud of doubt," Childress said. "He knows exactly how I feel about him, and, again, those are conversations that are between coach and quarterback."
All three of the Vikings' quarterbacks from 2007 – Jackson, Brooks Bollinger and Kelly Holcomb – are still under contract for 2008, and Childress played the hedge game with those backup quarterbacks as well.
"Right now … I anticipate those guys being here, but I'll go back and tell you that good football players are what we're all about. I haven't even started to assess the draft or free agency yet and see what is out there," Childress said on Jan. 3. "This is a fluid situation. I'll keep you educated, but I may not always be completely forthcoming."
Childress may have refused to commit to anything with his quarterback position because there are so many routes he could go in the coming months. He could stick with what he has – Jackson, Bollinger and Holcomb – add a starter or simply add a veteran for depth and let three quarterbacks fight it out for a likely two spots behind Jackson.
One thing looks certain, however, in judging the offerings in free agency. Beyond restricted free agent Derek Anderson, who would likely cost at least a first-round draft pick to sign, there aren't many outright starters available in free agency. Interestingly, however, there are a number of quarterbacks that have garnered the Vikings' interest in the past. Some of them (O'Sullivan, Culpepper and Hill) were with the Vikings before the Childress era. One of them (Nall) was targeted in free agency and one (Weinke) with a tryout with the Vikings during the season as a street free agent.
We list the unrestricted and restricted players at the position scheduled for free agency in March (with their years of NFL service in parentheses).
Tim Hasselbeck, Arizona Cardinals (6)
Tim Rattay, Arizona Cardinals (8)
Chris Redman, Atlanta Falcons (5)
Vinny Testaverde, Carolina Panthers (21)
Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears (5)
J.T. O'Sullivan, Detroit Lions (5)
Craig Nall, Green Bay Packers (6)
Cleo Lemon, Miami Dolphins (4)
Jamie Martin, New Orleans Saints (11)
Marques Tuiasosopo, New York Jets (7)
Daunte Culpepper, Oakland Raiders (9)
Josh McCown, Oakland Raiders (6)
Brian St. Pierre, Pittsburgh Steelers (4)
Shaun Hill, San Francisco 49ers (6)
Chris Weinke, San Francisco 49ers (7)
Todd Collins, Washington Redskins (12)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cincinnati Bengals (3)
Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns (3)
Dan Orlovsky, Detroit Lions (3)
Jared Lorenzen, New York Giants (3)
2008 Free Agents: Quarterbacks
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