Offense not as similar as QB thought

The Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans both run the West Coast offense, but former Texan and current Viking Sage Rosenfels is seeing the discrepancies as he tries to digest the differences.

With Brett Favre having decided to remain retired for the moment, the Vikings opened training with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels competing for the starting job.

That competition was quickly interrupted, however, as Jackson suffered a Grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on the second day of practice.

The injury wasn't serious — Jackson isn't expected to miss much time and coach Brad Childress said he wasn't concerned — but it does give Rosenfels a potential leg up in the competition.

Rosenfels has had a roller-coaster ride since being obtained by the Vikings from Houston for a fourth-round pick near the end of February. At that point, Rosenfels thought he was going to get the first real chance of his nine-year NFL career to win a starting job.

That changed in late April when the New York Jets released Favre from their reserve/retired list and speculation turned into confirmation that the Vikings were extremely interested.

Now, the 31-year-old Rosenfels finds himself poised to get the opportunity he has long desired.

"For J.D. (third-string quarterback John David Booty) and I, it always helps to get more reps," Rosenfels said. "You can't really have too many reps. I'm just trying to take advantage of every rep I get."

Rosenfels admitted on the first day of camp that sharing the snaps with the first team wasn't ideal. That's especially true because he isn't completely familiar with many of his teammates.

"It's not the premier situation you'd like to have," Rosenfels said. "You'd like to be throwing with Bobby (Wade) and Bernard (Berrian) and (Visanthe Shiancoe) and all those guys. Every throw."

Rosenfels has started 12 of the 32 games in which he has played in the NFL, including five each of the past two seasons with the Texans. Houston runs a West Coast system that has some similarities to the Vikings' offense but they are not identical.

Rosenfels, in fact, is having to make more adjustments than he expected when he arrived in Minnesota.

"A lot of the language is similar," he said. "It would be like two people reading books. If it's in English, it's much easier to read and make sense out of it all. But there are a lot of differences, in my opinion, between this offense and the Houston offense."

The fact Rosenfels still needs to find a comfort zone was pretty obvious in the early practices as it appeared he was thinking about executing the plays more than Jackson. Jackson is entering his fourth season with the Vikings and has started 19 games in that time.

"At this time Tarvaris has a little bit more knowledge of our system," Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "He is an athletic quarterback. He's got a very strong arm and those would be the positives about him. Sage still has got good feet but probably doesn't run as well as Tarvaris.

"Their arm strengths are different but there are still things that both of them do well. Sage has been in this system before, just not ours. Verbiage is different for him but he's still got to pick that up."

While Rosenfels will have to answer plenty of questions about his progress, one topic he is hoping to avoid is anything related to Favre.

"I don't think about it," Rosenfels said. "I wasn't thinking about it out (on the field) at practice, and I'm not thinking about it right now until you just asked me that question. The more you guys stop asking those questions the less I'll have to even worry about it."

CAMP CALENDAR: The Vikings will have a second night practice from 7 to 9:10 p.m. on Aug. 7. The team will break camp after two practices on Aug. 12.


  • Owner Zygi Wilf said he is pleased with the Vikings coaching staff but wouldn't go into detail about a potential contract extension for head coach Brad Childress. Childress will be entering the fourth season of a five-year contract in 2009.

    "We never make any pre-conditions on how the season should turn out or what conditions would be necessary," Wilf said. "We're very happy with our coach and the coaching staff and the players. We're very excited for this year."

  • Wilf and his brother, Mark, who serves as the Vikings' president, were both in Mankato, Minn., for the opening few days of training camp.

  • Asked about the business side of things and what not getting Brett Favre meant from the ticket and merchandise sales angle, Zygi Wilf said the team "never factored that in at all." "We just wanted to make sure, as we always do, that we get players on our team that will make us better," he said. "It didn't work out and we move on. We're looking forward to what's going to unfold here. We have a very talented team and there's going to be a lot of competition."

  • DT Pat Williams' training camp got off to an interesting start. He was waiting for his turn during a positional drill when a small bird landed on top of his helmet. Williams' teammates informed him of the bird's presence. "Everybody was just staring at me," he said. "I said, ‘What are they staring at?' They said a bird's on your helmet. He was chilling, too."

  • DT Pat Williams said he's not worried about his court case and whether his and Kevin Williams' four-game NFL suspensions will be upheld. "I'm just letting it play out as it plays out," Williams said. "Whatever happens, happens. That's how I look at everything. I've blocked it out. I don't control that. I'm just here having fun." The two Williamses, both Pro Bowl defensive tackles, were suspended last season for violating the league's steroid policy. The suspensions have not been served because they took the case to court.

  • RB Adrian Peterson caused a stir at the Pro Bowl by saying he wanted to add 7 to 12 pounds during the offseason. Turns out, the NFL's leading rusher in 2008 only ended up putting on 3 pounds and is now at 220. He is hoping that his offseason conditioning helps him deal with the grind of the 16-game season.

    Peterson rushed for 1,760 yards last season and now has his sights set on the 2,000-yard mark. "It's something I think about and dream about, but I don't focus on it because you'll never accomplish it that way," he said. "That's my bar. It will always be 2,000 or more. God willing and with the guys I have surrounding me, I'll be able to accomplish that one day."

  • Although there were rumblings the Vikings might have interest in free-agent quarterback Michael Vick, coach Brad Childress said that was not the case.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "The hoopla is over and we have a phenomenal team and we have high expectations and we have a lot of work to do to meet those expectations, so let's get to business." — Defensive end Jared Allen talking about the Vikings' pursuit of Brett Favre having ended and how the team must now get to work.

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