Rosenfels' studies began early

Sage Rosenfels got an early start on learning the Vikings' playbook and believes the offense has "untapped potential." His studies of the league left him drawing a statistical conclusion on what it takes to win.

Shortly after the Vikings acquired Sage Rosenfels from Houston in late February, the veteran quarterback put in a request to his new team. Rosenfels wanted all of the team's offensive plays from last season transferred to DVD and also the corresponding play-call sheets.

When the materials arrived, Rosenfels started a series of study sessions that left him impressed by what he saw.

"I think there is some untapped potential in this offense," said Rosenfels, who will compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job in training camp. "I think the receivers do have a lot of talent and I think there's a lot of tight ends that can do multiple things and everyone knows about the running game. This isn't going to be an offense where we lead the NFL in most yards and I hope it's not. Last year, the top three teams in the league (in offense) were all 8-8, but the top three teams in defense all made the conference championship games.

"To win in this league you've got to run the ball well, you've got to play great defense and execute in the passing game and have a high third-down percentage. You've just got to look no further than the Pittsburgh Steelers, the world champions, and how they've been winning consistently over decades and then try to copy some of that here."

Give Rosenfels credit for having his facts straight. The top three teams in total offense last season — New Orleans, Denver and Rosenfels' former club, Houston — all finished 8-8. The top three teams in total defense were Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Rosenfels has been in the NFL for eight seasons but has made only 12 regular-season starts in his time with Washington, Miami and Houston. He could increase that total significantly if he can win the competition with Jackson.

While Rosenfels is excited by the opportunity, this also has the potential to make offseason workouts a bit uncomfortable for the two quarterbacks. But a few days after the Vikings' voluntary offseason program began, Rosenfels said things were going well between the two.

"We know it's a competitive situation," said Rosenfels, who turned 31 last month. "I think it's going to make us both better. He's going to push me, I'm going to push him. At the end of the day it's going to make the Minnesota Vikings better. But he and I, I think, have gotten along pretty well and I'm sure I'll learn some things from him and I'm sure he'll probably learn a few things from me as well."

While Rosenfels and Jackson are the Vikings' top quarterbacks, there had been some speculation the team was attempting to make a run at disgruntled Denver quarterback Jay Cutler, who was eventually traded to Chicago. But Rosenfels said the reported interest didn't bother him.

"I've learned that you only can control so many things in this world and all I can try to do is control when I'm out there with my team, with my offense," he said. "To try to do the best I can to help move the football down the field and score points."

NOTES

  • DE Jared Allen will take part in some — but not all — of the voluntary portion of the Vikings' offseason program. This is because Allen prefers to spend some of his time doing Mixed Martial Arts training at his home in Arizona and then mix that in with sessions with the team. The Vikings are on board with the schedule and Allen, whose conditioning is never a question mark, does not have a workout bonus in his contract because of the understanding.

  • Coach Brad Childress opened the door for right tackle Ryan Cook to get some reps at center this offseason and in training camp. Cook, however, said he has not heard about that possibility. Cook, who lost his starting job at one point last season, said he would be willing to move to center, the position he played in college.

  • OL Marcus Johnson's decision to sign with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent has closed the door on the Vikings' 2005 draft class. The team has no players left from a draft that included two first-round picks in wide receiver Tory Williamson and defensive end Erasmus James. The Vikings had no interest in re-signing Johnson, who was a second-round pick that year.

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