Despite being credited with three fumbles, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson did enough good things to earn his third consecutive start, according to coach Brad Childress.
The Vikings might have lost to Atlanta on Sunday, but Tarvaris Jackson
will remain Minnesota's starting quarterback.
Coach Brad Childress said Monday that Jackson will make a third consecutive start in Sunday's regular-season finale against the New York Giants
after he completed 22 of 36 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 98.5 passer rating.
Jackson also tied Adrian Peterson
for the team rushing lead with 76 yards on eight carries. About the only negative was that Jackson was charged with three fumbles, including two lost, in the Vikings' 24-17 loss to the Falcons.
One of those mishaps came on a botched handoff on which Jackson was charged with the fumble but Peterson actually should have handled the ball. Jackson was making his first start at the Metrodome since being benched after Week 2 of the season.
Jackson replaced the injured Gus Frerotte
on Dec. 7 at Detroit and rallied the Vikings to a second-half victory. Jackson then threw a career-high four touchdown passes the following week at Arizona. Frerotte was healthy enough to play against Atlanta, but Childress decided to stick with the hot hand.
"He's done enough to be able to start in the (regular-) season finale," Childress said.
Asked about Jackson's performance against the Falcons, Childress said: "I just thought he had a good command of it. I didn't think he moved just to be moving. I thought he made a variety of throws, in the seam, up the field. I thought he always pulled the ball down and ran with an up-the-field mentality. There were a couple times he was flushed out on a side where there was nobody, but obviously the rush dictates that. I thought he did what he had to do. The only thing I was mindful of was getting down and making sure you're not taking a flush hit somewhere."
Running back Adrian Peterson fumbled twice and lost one in Sunday's loss to Atlanta. The Vikings finished with seven fumbles and lost four of them. "I'm hurting right now inside. It's killing me," he said. "We had the chance to clinch the NFC North. We did everything we could to not pull out the win today. I'm just very disappointed right now."
Coach Brad Childress on Peterson's two fumbles, which brought his season total to an NFL-high eight: "He's not good with it, but he's not in the tank over it either. He's a team player and he's the first one to pat himself on the chest and say, ‘I did that, it's my fault coach.' He'll take ownership of it and he's accountable for it and you appreciate that about him, and if I know Adrian he's going to set his nose to the grindstone and that's not going to happen here next week."
Veteran safety Darren Sharper praised the performance of Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, who completed 13 of 24 passes for 134 yards with one touchdown in Atlanta's 24-17 victory. "I'm very impressed by him," Sharper said. "Just as far as his attitude toward the game and as far as his composure. And also his reads. He had a couple of chances where he could have thrown the ball into coverage but he showed poise in the pocket, held onto the football and let his receivers get open. He's the most impressive rookie that I've played against."
RB Adrian Peterson, who leads the NFL in rushing with 1,657 yards rushing entering the final weekend of the regular season, had 76 yards on 22 carries Sunday. That ended a streak of three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Peterson's per carry average of 3.5 yards was his lowest since Week 5 when he averaged only 1.5 yards against New Orleans.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe will be coming off the best game of his career as he gets set to play his former team, the New York Giants, on Sunday at the Metrodome. Shiancoe established single-game highs for receptions (seven), yards (136) and touchdowns (two) on Sunday against the Falcons.