All of the talk surrounding the Vikings and how they will perform this year seems to center on Tarvaris Jackson. It would seem the Vikings could have an all-star team at every other position and there would still be people finding fault with the Vikings because of Jackson.
But the Vikings are far from alone in that regard. The QB position is up in the air with all four teams in the NFC North, not just the Vikings.
The most obvious QB question heading into this season has to be in Green Bay. With Brett Favre riding off into the sunset, the Packers have turned the quarterback job over to Aaron Rodgers. It's going to be strange for Packers fans to see No. 12 under center when the regular season starts instead of No. 4, something that hasn't happened since late in the George H.W. Bush Administration. Rodgers has spent three years waiting in the wings, following in the footsteps of other Favre understudies like Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks and Matt Hasselbeck and he is waiting for his turn to shine. Will he be successful? That is what the Packers are hinging their future on, even though the drafting of Brian Brohm could eventually create a quarterback controversy.
In Chicago, the QB position has been a running joke for years. Players under center have come and gone and this year is no exception. The Bears didn't get involved in the flurry to take a quarterback early in the draft, so it would appear that, for this season anyway, they are content to stick with Rex Grossman. Grossman, an erratic passer who has had his shares of ups and downs with the coaches, his teammates and the fans, has been given the moniker of "Good Rex/Bad Rex." When he is on his game, he can be solid. When he's not, he can be downright awful. If the Bears are going to prove that 2006 wasn't a fluke when they advanced to the Super Bowl, it's going to take a big year from Grossman, not a continuation of the recent past – where many believe the Bears won despite Rex rather than because of him. Without Brian Griese as the primary backup, the Bears may have to rise and fall with Grossman. Kyle Orton waits in the wings, but there is little confidence he can provide a spark if Grossman fails.
The only team that has true QB stability is Detroit, but that stability is short-term in nature. Veteran Jon Kitna had a pair of 4,000-yard passing seasons in the offense run by Mike Martz, but now that Martz has been sent packing, the Lions are learning a new offense. It doesn't help that new tricks are being taught to an old dog like Kitna, who is entering his 12th season. If he were to get hurt, the Lions would likely turn to second-year pro Drew Stanton, who is viewed as the QB of the future. If the Lions hold to form and do their annual collapse, the team could easily do a changing of the guard and turn the offense over to Stanton before the end of the season.
While there is reason for critics to be concerned about Jackson since he hasn't yet proven anything consistently, the Vikings' first goal is to win their division and get a home game in the playoffs. They feel they can get that job done with Jackson. With a full year of on-field experience, the expectation is that he will improve significantly this year. Can the Packers say the same about Rodgers? Or the Bears about Grossman? Or the Lions about Kitna or Stanton? In a division where the are more questions than answers at the QB spot, the Vikings might not be in as big a dilemma as some people would have you believe.
NFC North Full of QB Questions
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