Notebook: A Mentor for Jackson?

Before news of an agreement in principle with Gus Frerotte, Brad Childress talked about the idea of getting a veteran quarterback and what it might do for the team's draft plans. Plus, get many more comments from Childress on the Favre-less Packers, the play-calling plan in 2008, Bryant McKinnie's situation and other topics in an extensive notebook.

Only hours before reports of the Vikings agreeing in principle on a contract with veteran quarterback Gus Frerotte, Vikings coach Brad Childress said he would prefer to have the quarterback position shored up before the draft on April 26-27.

"You'd love to do whatever moves you're going to do by the draft so you can focus on the draft. You'd really like to do it way before the draft," Childress said Wednesday from the owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla.

Frerotte is expected to sign a multi-year contract with the Vikings at some point after the owners meetings, according to ESPN. Frerotte was a member of the Vikings in 2003 before following offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to the Miami Dolphins.

The veteran signal-caller is often credited with being a strong mentor for Daunte Culpepper and could assume a similar role in the development of Tarvaris Jackson.

"I think it is important," Childress said of getting a veteran behind a young starting quarterback. "I don't think it's any secret that we're in talks with Gus Frerotte's people, so we'll just see how that process ends up playing itself out. That's about as far as I want to go to say that we're in talks. We have been at it for a while."

Childress said if the Vikings do get Frerotte signed, it would decrease the chances of selecting a quarterback with a high draft pick. The Vikings have visits scheduled with Louisville's Brian Brohm and Delaware's Joe Flacco, both expected to be first- or second-round picks.

"We bring a guy in in that situation, it would be difficult to look at quarterback very high," he said. "I'm always in the mode of looking to develop a guy who's a younger guy – maybe knock off the edges of a younger guy, a la Tyler Thigpen, who got stolen from us last year. Just a guy that you can bring up and in two, three or four years you might have something."


Earlier in the week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he had a few cases to review for potential disciplinary action when he returned to New York following the owners meetings. Bryant McKinnie's legal troubles stemming from an arrest outside a Miami nightclub could among the cases Goodell reviews, but Childress continued to preach patience while awaiting potential sanctions against McKinnie.

"The commissioner will obviously have something to say about it. We bow to whatever the commissioner does," Childress said. "His decision supersedes anything that I have to say. He's a lawyer, so typically we'll have to let the judicial process run its course here. He's fact-gathering. We keep him abreast of everything that's going on, and we're in touch with (McKinnie's) attorneys in Miami as well, so it's a very free flow of information."

McKinnie could face a fine or suspension from the league or even the team, but Childress reminded reporters that players technically cannot be released for anything other than performance-related issues.

"There are still boxes you have to check on whether it's skill and ability. It's one of the things you're always evaluating. Patience is not one of our great virtues – all of us – but we have to be patient," he said.


While the Vikings may be filling out their depth chart at the quarterback position if they ultimately sign Frerotte, the Green Bay Packers are still left in search of a backup quarterback. Frerotte also met with the Packers before coming to Minnesota in March, but Childress was careful not to denigrate Green Bay's chances after the retirement of Brett Favre.

"He was a presence, let's face it – the king for a while," Childress said. "It remains to be seen. I'd be guessing, but it's kind of like following a Hall of Fame coach to follow a Hall of Fame quarterback. There are all kinds of things, whether it's ghosts or whether it's the physical production he's had on the field."

Aaron Rodgers gets the opportunity to follow in Favre's king-sized footsteps, and Childress said it will be a learning process for Rodgers, just like it is for every other quarterback who works his way into a starting role in the league.

"I think if you liken it to Tony Romo in the incubator at Dallas – learning everything from (Drew) Bledsoe – just learning that whole system and how it was set up. Aaron Rodgers gives you that flash in what he did in that Dallas game," Childress said.

"I don't know about (the Packers) coming back to the pack. They're still the team to beat in the NFC North."


It appears Childress is going to continue to give offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell more freedom to call plays as he sees fit. Childress said he is happy with the procedures the Vikings had in place for Bevell to call plays from the coaching booth and relay them to a coach on the sidelines.

"I'm happy with the way it is. If anything, I need to leave Darrell alone a little bit. Those guys on offense don't need a narration," Childress said. "Having been a play-caller before, I know what that's like. I can get better in that area in not making so many strong suggestions."


Despite the Vikings voting in favor of a proposal that passed at the owners meetings to allow a coach-to-player communication system on defense, Childress said there are still some issues to iron out. While most teams have a linebacker relay the call from the sidelines to the players on the field, the player with the communication system in his helmet doesn't have to be a linebacker. When five or more defensive backs are in the game, a linebacker is often replaced and it's possible the new rule would change teams' procedures on who calls the plays on the field.

The player who is receiving audio communication from the sideline currently is designated by a green dot on the helmet. Only one helmet fitted with the communication system is allowed on each side of the ball, so if a player that is designated to be receiving sideline communication comes out of the game, one other player would be allowed to wear a helmet with the system. Only two players on defense would be designated for that task.

"If the referee is looking for the green dot and he's standing 8 yards back and he's looking for it on a front-seven guy – the linebackers usually call the defensive signal – how is he going to know if the safety behind him has the green dot?" Childress said.

Childress also talked about a potential scenario in which a quarterback with the communication system is holding for a field goal and a linebacker with the system is protecting on that special teams play. Most likely, the two defenders who are eligible to receive the communication will each have to have two helmets – one with the system and one without – to avoid having two players with the system in their helmets on the same side of the ball. Those are some of the issues that will have to be worked out since the 25-7 vote passed this week.


Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be one of more than a dozen current and former NFL players to be honored on Friday at the NFL Players Gala. The presentation by James Brown of "The NFL Today" on CBS and former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher will host the benefit for Special Olympics of Columbia and recognize Peterson with the "Emerging Leader" award. Peterson has been involved with Special Olympics Minnesota, the African American Adoption Agency and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota.

"The recipients of these prestigious awards are a small representation of NFL players who donate their time, energy and resources to give back to their communities," said Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, in a release. "They are leaders in the locker room and role models for our youth."

Viking Update Top Stories