Sunday notebook: Quarterback expectations

Are the Vikings good enough to win with a strong running game and defense? See what Brad Childress had to say when posed that question at the NFL owners meetings. And what could be troubling Jared Allen this season? Find out those answers and get more notes to satisfy your Purple cravings this weekend.

Brad Childress talked last week about what he wanted to see from his quarterbacks in this article on Mostly, he referenced better decision-making, knowing when to hold and when to throw it.

But Childress also wants to know what to expect from his quarterbacks when they take the field. He probably hasn't gotten that feeling since he's taken over as head coach of the Vikings in 2006.

"You're going to have a leg up, you're going to be a step in the right direction, if you get consistent play from that quarterback position," Childress said.

While many point to the quarterback position as the one position holding back the team from advancing to the Super Bowl, others might contend that the Vikings have enough other pieces in place to make up for the lack of a franchise quarterback.

Childress indicated that it's not good enough for his quarterback to just "manage the game."

"You hear the adage that he just doesn't have to lose the game for you. I just think that's such a misnomer because the guy that's going to touch the ball 70 times a game is going to have something to do with the outcome of the game," Childress said. "Something as benign as a center-quarterback exchange, you don't ever notice it until it's on the ground. The quarterback has got to be able to administer it, call it, run it – could be bringing you from behind. Administrate it in the two-minute drill and get you back up the field for a score. That's how guys' careers are defined in a lot of ways."

That may be why Childress was willing to ride Tarvaris Jackson as his starter heading into the 2008 season. In his last game of the 2007 season, Jackson offered glimpses of hope when he brought the Vikings back from a late-game, 19-3 deficit on the road in Denver. In the final six minutes of the game, he threw two touchdown passes to Bobby Wade and ran for both two-point conversions. The team eventually lost when Jackson was sacked and fumbled on the team's first possession of overtime, setting up the game-winning field goal for Denver.

But, while much of the rest of the team has been ascending with one of the best running games in the league, the best run-stopping defense and a solid overall defense, the Vikings still haven't seen enough from Jackson to completely know if they can trust him time and again.

"All you're ever trying to establish with a quarterback is what standard can I expect every time you go out there. Now, you understand there (are) blips. Guys have bad days, guys have hot days," Childress said. "You're attempting to establish that right from the time you take the field in OTAs (organized team activities) to training camp – what guy is showing up? What standard of excellence is there going to be? And you're really trying to do that with everybody on your football team. Who are you and who are you the most, on a regular basis?"

The Vikings may not know that answer until well into the 2009 season.


It's unlikely that Jared Allen is too concerned about a change that the Chicago Bears made at left tackle, but it might have an effect on him.

The Bears signed free-agent tackle Kevin Shaffer (Browns) last week, and it could prove to be a significant upgrade, especially considering the success Allen had against the Bears' old left tackle, John St. Clair. Here is what the Chicago Sun-Times blog had to say about the situation as it relates to Allen.

"In the AFC North, Shaffer faced a slew of talented pass rushers playing right tackle last season, including Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and Pittsburgh's James Harrison, the defensive player of the year. Stats Inc. had him allowing 4½ sacks over the season. Although that is an impossible statistic to truly track, consider Stats had John St. Clair surrendering 9½ last season at left tackle for the Bears, half to Minnesota's Jared Allen."

A review of the statistics bears that out. Allen had 2 and 2.5 sacks in his two games against the Bears last year. He totaled 14½ for the season as he fought through knee and shoulder injuries.


  • As continues to pile up the visits and workouts for draft prospects, here are the ones we've broken so far as visiting the Vikings: Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, Arizona offensive tackle Eben Britton and Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, and other reports are in the works. Also scheduled to visit, according to and are Rutgers wide receiver Kenny Britt, and cornerbacks Darius Butler (Connecticut), Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest) and Greg Toler (St. Paul's, Va.). The Vikings are presumably holding their annual mass predraft visit with prospects on April 8-9, as every visit report we've received has the player coming to Minnesota on either of those days, or both. During that time, the Vikings have coaches and staff talk with the prospects and then have them all interact with each other at a large dinner gathering.

  • While the NFL revealed its prime-time games for opening weekend and Thanksgiving, the rest of the schedule isn't expected to be released until early or mid-April. The Vikings weren't among the prime-time games for either of those aforementioned weeks, but the draw of Adrian Peterson should have the networks vying for a couple of Vikings matchups in prime time.

  • Kyle Childress, the son of Brad, is interning in the Vikings' personnel department this year.

  • If you are looking to get the latest news and updates on the Vikings via Twitter or text message, sign up to have those alerts sent to you via Viking Update on Twitter.

  • For a compilation of Vikings draft stories, interests and analysis, mock drafts and more, don't forget about the draft page. That should fill out any free time you may have on a chilly spring Sunday.

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