Frerotte discusses promotion, nomadic life

Gus Frerotte has struggled with missing his family this year, but all that time alone may pay dividends on the field as he takes over as the Vikings' new starting quarterback. See what Frerotte had to say about the situation Wednesday.

Last week, Gus Frerotte was pretending to be Peyton Manning in preparing the Vikings defense for the Colts. On Monday night, he was in St. Louis visiting his family. Earlier today, he found out that his life as a Viking will be taking a huge turn.

On Tuesday evening, Frerotte was told by head coach Brad Childress that he would be the starting quarterback Sunday when the Vikings meet the Carolina Panthers. Childress went further than that, saying that, barring injury, Frerotte will be the quarterback for the rest of the year.

To many, the decision was stunning. After all, both Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had gushed about Tarvaris Jackson from the time of minicamps, OTAs and training camp. In his first two preseason games, Jackson looked efficient and moved the first-team offense. But in the two games after returning from a knee injury sustained against Baltimore, Jackson showed none of the confidence or playmaking skills that had caused his coaches to heap praise upon him.

When asked if he had an inkling that Childress might make this decision after two games, Frerotte shrugged, smiled and said he didn't see it coming.

"I had no feeling," Frerotte said of the pending change.

So, like the rest of us, he was shocked. Right? Not so fast.

"I can't say that it was a shock because I've been playing for a long time," Frerotte said. "I've been through a lot of shocking moments in my time. Nothing really shocks me anymore. Obviously, it was something (Childress) wanted to do."

While the Jackson Experiment hasn't yielded anything close to the results the coaching staff had hoped for and expected, Childress is turning the offense over to the 38-year-old Frerotte, who will be making the 85th start of his NFL career Sunday.

Frerotte's journey to the starting QB job for the Vikings began with very humble beginnings. A seventh-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 1994, he was taken in the same draft as Heath Shuler – the third overall pick by the Redskins and a player tabbed as a franchise savior in the first year of the post-Mark Rypien era. That didn't happen. Shuler was a bust and Frerotte took over, starting four games as a rookie and 40 more games over the next three years. As became the penchant for the Redskins over the next several years, in 1998 Frerotte was injured and lost his starting job to Trent Green – beginning what has been a nomadic NFL existence ever since.

He went to Detroit in 1999 and replaced an injured Charlie Batch. He started seven games that year, including the Lions' playoff loss to the Redskins – the last time Detroit has made the postseason. He spent the next two years in Denver, making eight starts, including another start in the playoffs. He went to Cincinnati in 2003, where he started three games. He spent the next two years in Minnesota, starting two games in relief of an injured Daunte Culpepper and throwing for 690 yards and seven TDs to lead the Vikings to a pair of wins. He then followed Scott Linehan to Miami, where he was a full-time starter in 2005. When Nick Saban bailed on the Dolphins and Linehan got the head coaching job at St. Louis, Frerotte made yet another stop on his tour of the league – starting three games last year for an injured Marc Bulger.

When the Rams hired a new offensive coordinator, his days in St. Louis were numbered. The Rams went with Green – the same player who replaced him as a starter in Washington – as the veteran backup. He came to Minnesota looking for much of the same – waiting his turn and being ready when the opportunity presented itself.

That chance comes this week and, for the short-term anyway, it's a permanent decision. Frerotte said he has seen the emotional roller-coaster quarterbacks go through and, while his relationship with Jackson isn't ideal at the moment, both know the decision was made for what would be best for the team coming off a 0-2 start.

"It is awkward, but I'm not going to shy away from talking to him," Frerotte said. "He's been great about talking to me about it. I was in this situation before. I was in (Washington) and got hurt, Trent Green came in and that basically was it for me. I've been in every situation. I've been in this situation (replacing a starter) before."

There had been rumors of a change in the air ever since the Colts game ended with Indianapolis winning with three seconds to go in a game that had been dominated for three quarters by the Vikings. The defense had stuffed the run and stymied Peyton Manning. The running game had seen Adrian Peterson with more than 100 yards at halftime. The special teams made good on five field goals. All that was missing was a win – and the fingers had to be pointed at Jackson, who was showered with boos by the home fans often in the second half.

Some may view the decision as a panic move, but Frerotte said the timing isn't a show of desperation. If the team is going to make a change, waffling on the decision isn't going to make it any easier when it has to be made. Fortunately for Frerotte, the design of the Vikings training camp was to give him a chance to work with the first-line receivers, so the transition isn't as pronounced as it might be under other circumstances.

"The good thing is that it is still early in the season," Frerotte said. "Going through camp and (playing) in the Steelers game, I played with (the first-team receivers) and thrown of lot of those routes. We didn't just have the Ones (first-teamers) throw to the Ones. We mixed it up a bit and learned how guys run routes and where they like the ball."

Frerotte didn't fully know what to expect when he moved to Minnesota. Clearly, he didn't expect it to be long-term – after moving his family nine times during his pro career, he and his wife Ann decided that the family would remain in St. Louis and he would come to Minnesota alone. Frerotte has made trips to Missouri to visit them – he took off Monday after practice and returned early Wednesday morning.

He said getting the terminology of his first experience in a West Coast Offense has been easier than expected because there are so few distractions. His biggest problem was the loneliness of missing his wife and kids while he lives alone in an apartment. His work has taken him away from his family and, despite the toll it has taken on their family life, he sees the value in making the decision to come back for another season. Still, the brief times in which he can see his kids are the result of web-cam technology, not proximity.

"I do I-chats on the computer," Frerotte said. "I think it's harder on me – not that it isn't hard on my wife – but I miss them all the time. She's always going with the kids and running around crazy. She wears thin sometimes. Then there's me – coming home from work and sit in my apartment and stare at the walls. I'll talk to her and she'll say, ‘I can't talk now. I'm running the kids somewhere.' I'm like ‘Call me when you can.'"

His kids will have more opportunities to see him as he takes over the starting job and resumes what has been a decade-and-a-half long career. Although Sunday's start will be his fourth in three years, Frerotte said he has approached every game like he is going to start, because, as the backup, he always has to be on alert to come in. The only difference is this week as he prepares for Sunday's game, he knows that when the Vikings offense hits the field, all eyes in the huddle will be on him. He's been ready since the day the Vikings signed him to step in. He just didn't know when that call would come.

"You don't know whether it's going to be this situation (replacing Jackson) or an injury," Frerotte said. "Look what happened when we played Baltimore (in the preseason). I wasn't expecting to go in that early and he goes down and I had to go in and play and start the next week against the Steelers. You don't ever say to yourself that it's not going to happen, so you are always ready. You prepare like you're going to be the starter and that's how I go about the week (or practice) – whether you are or not."

The Vikings will need that preparation, because, for better or worse, the Frerotte Era at QB begins at noon Sunday.




Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" Last week, Gus Frerotte was pretending to be Peyton Manning in preparing the Vikings defense for the Colts. On Monday night, he was in St. Louis visiting his family. Earlier today, he found out that his life as a Viking will be taking a huge turn.

On Tuesday evening, Frerotte was told by head coach Brad Childress that he would be the starting quarterback Sunday when the Vikings meet the Carolina Panthers. Childress went further than that, saying that, barring injury, Frerotte will be the quarterback for the rest of the year.

To many, the decision was stunning. After all, both Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had gushed about Tarvaris Jackson from the time of minicamps, OTAs and training camp. In his first two preseason games, Jackson looked efficient and moved the first-team offense. But in the two games after returning from a knee injury sustained against Baltimore, Jackson showed none of the confidence or playmaking skills that had caused his coaches to heap praise upon him.

When asked if he had an inkling that Childress might make this decision after two games, Frerotte shrugged, smiled and said he didn't see it coming.

\"I had no feeling,\" Frerotte said of the pending change.

So, like the rest of us, he was shocked. Right? Not so fast.

\"I can't say that it was a shock because I've been playing for a long time,\" Frerotte said. \"I've been through a lot of shocking moments in my time. Nothing really shocks me anymore. Obviously, it was something (Childress) wanted to do.\"

While the Jackson Experiment hasn't yielded anything close to the results the coaching staff had hoped for and expected, Childress is turning the offense over to the 38-year-old Frerotte, who will be making the 85th start of his NFL career Sunday.

Frerotte's journey to the starting QB job for the Vikings began with very humble beginnings. A seventh-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 1994, he was taken in the same draft as Heath Shuler – the third overall pick by the Redskins and a player tabbed as a franchise savior in the first year of the post-Mark Rypien era. That didn't happen. Shuler was a bust and Frerotte took over, starting four games as a rookie and 40 more games over the next three years. As became the penchant for the Redskins over the next several years, in 1998 Frerotte was injured and lost his starting job to Trent Green – beginning what has been a nomadic NFL existence ever since.

He went to Detroit in 1999 and replaced an injured Charlie Batch. He started seven games that year, including the Lions' playoff loss to the Redskins – the last time Detroit has made the postseason. He spent the next two years in Denver, making eight starts, including another start in the playoffs. He went to Cincinnati in 2003, where he started three games. He spent the next two years in Minnesota, starting two games in relief of an injured Daunte Culpepper and throwing for 690 yards and seven TDs to lead the Vikings to a pair of wins. He then followed Scott Linehan to Miami, where he was a full-time starter in 2005. When Nick Saban bailed on the Dolphins and Linehan got the head coaching job at St. Louis, Frerotte made yet another stop on his tour of the league – starting three games last year for an injured Marc Bulger.

When the Rams hired a new offensive coordinator, his days in St. Louis were numbered. The Rams went with Green – the same player who replaced him as a starter in Washington – as the veteran backup. He came to Minnesota looking for much of the same – waiting his turn and being ready when the opportunity presented itself.

That chance comes this week and, for the short-term anyway, it's a permanent decision. Frerotte said he has seen the emotional roller-coaster quarterbacks go through and, while his relationship with Jackson isn't ideal at the moment, both know the decision was made for what would be best for the team coming off a 0-2 start.

\"It is awkward, but I'm not going to shy away from talking to him,\" Frerotte said. \"He's been great about talking to me about it. I was in this situation before. I was in (Washington) and got hurt, Trent Green came in and that basically was it for me. I've been in every situation. I've been in this situation (replacing a starter) before.\"

There had been rumors of a change in the air ever since the Colts game ended with Indianapolis winning with three seconds to go in a game that had been dominated for three quarters by the Vikings. The defense had stuffed the run and stymied Peyton Manning. The running game had seen Adrian Peterson with more than 100 yards at halftime. The special teams made good on five field goals. All that was missing was a win – and the fingers had to be pointed at Jackson, who was showered with boos by the home fans often in the second half.

Some may view the decision as a panic move, but Frerotte said the timing isn't a show of desperation. If the team is going to make a change, waffling on the decision isn't going to make it any easier when it has to be made. Fortunately for Frerotte, the design of the Vikings training camp was to give him a chance to work with the first-line receivers, so the transition isn't as pronounced as it might be under other circumstances.

\"The good thing is that it is still early in the season,\" Frerotte said. \"Going through camp and (playing) in the Steelers game, I played with (the first-team receivers) and thrown of lot of those routes. We didn't just have the Ones (first-teamers) throw to the Ones. We mixed it up a bit and learned how guys run routes and where they like the ball.\"

Frerotte didn't fully know what to expect when he moved to Minnesota. Clearly, he didn't expect it to be long-term – after moving his family nine times during his pro career, he and his wife Ann decided that the family would remain in St. Louis and he would come to Minnesota alone. Frerotte has made trips to Missouri to visit them – he took off Monday after practice and returned early Wednesday morning.

He said getting the terminology of his first experience in a West Coast Offense has been easier than expected because there are so few distractions. His biggest problem was the loneliness of missing his wife and kids while he lives alone in an apartment. His work has taken him away from his family and, despite the toll it has taken on their family life, he sees the value in making the decision to come back for another season. Still, the brief times in which he can see his kids are the result of web-cam technology, not proximity.

\"I do I-chats on the computer,\" Frerotte said. \"I think it's harder on me – not that it isn't hard on my wife – but I miss them all the time. She's always going with the kids and running around crazy. She wears thin sometimes. Then there's me – coming home from work and sit in my apartment and stare at the walls. I'll talk to her and she'll say, ‘I can't talk now. I'm running the kids somewhere.' I'm like ‘Call me when you can.'\"

His kids will have more opportunities to see him as he takes over the starting job and resumes what has been a decade-and-a-half long career. Although Sunday's start will be his fourth in three years, Frerotte said he has approached every game like he is going to start, because, as the backup, he always has to be on alert to come in. The only difference is this week as he prepares for Sunday's game, he knows that when the Vikings offense hits the field, all eyes in the huddle will be on him. He's been ready since the day the Vikings signed him to step in. He just didn't know when that call would come.

\"You don't know whether it's going to be this situation (replacing Jackson) or an injury,\" Frerotte said. \"Look what happened when we played Baltimore (in the preseason). I wasn't expecting to go in that early and he goes down and I had to go in and play and start the next week against the Steelers. You don't ever say to yourself that it's not going to happen, so you are always ready. You prepare like you're going to be the starter and that's how I go about the week (or practice) – whether you are or not.\"

The Vikings will need that preparation, because, for better or worse, the Frerotte Era at QB begins at noon Sunday.



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