"People are going to say what they want to say," Jackson said after the Vikings completed a practice during organized team activities. "It's their job to analyze things and to give their opinion of our team. My job is to go out there and prove them wrong. That's how I look at it. It's just extra motivation. That's all it is, and pretty much that motivator, and things like that kind of help me out, get me over the top."
Jackson, entering his second season as the Vikings' starter, is not only going to have the advantage of experience but also an improved receiving corps that features free-agent addition Bernard Berrian.
Last season, Jackson posted an 8-4 record as a starter but finished 28th among NFL quarterbacks with a 70.8 passer rating. He also threw 12 interceptions to nine touchdown passes.
Committed to improving on that performance, Jackson has spent this offseason at the Vikings' Winter Park complex. He said one of his goals in 2008 is to know what everybody on the field is doing.
"I knew what everybody was doing (last year), but sometimes I pretty much just did what I had to do," he said. "I'm trying to learn what the defense is doing, trying to figure out what everyone is going to be doing. The offensive line, the receivers, the backs, everybody. Just try to get more comfortable with the offense."
Jackson said he has felt more comfortable running the offense during the OTAs and, while those are low-stress drills, it is step in the right direction.
Coach Brad Childress wants to see Jackson take more of these steps as the season approaches.
"I'd like to see him improve in a few different areas," Childress said. "Obviously a quarterback is judged by whether he gets his team in the end zone. As we say all the time and Tarvaris knows this, no matter how rough the sea is, you bring the ship in, so that's what quarterbacks will always be judged on is how many games you win."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's cool. Having one of my best friends out here with me. Even though people probably don't realize it, my younger brother is one of my best friends. To have him out here is something special. I know it's a unique opportunity, I know he's going to have to work hard to be here in the summertime, to be here during the season. So, we've got a lot of work ahead of us. I say we because we're in it together but eventually we do have to separate and let him do what he does. See how it works out." — Vikings veteran linebacker E.J. Henderson on playing on the same team with younger brother Erin, a rookie free agent from Maryland.