Starting QB for opener still not finalized

Vikings coaches may be prepared for Friday's preseason opener, but so far the work for the players has concentrated on themselves. That should change in the next day or two, and we could find out soon how the coaches will handle the quarterback situation against Indianapolis.

As the Vikings returned to practice Monday morning, there is a different emphasis going on. With just three working days left of training camp, the Vikings had just their third full-pads scrimmage of training camp. This time, the practice is with a purpose.

The coaching staff spent the off day Sunday putting together a game plan for the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings' first opponent Friday night. While the team has been sharing reps throughout the first week-plus of training camp, the plan for this week will be to separate the first, second and third teams and install specific game plans for all three before the game.

The expectation is that the starters will likely get two series, which will take them approximately through the first quarter. The second unit will likely get the remainder of the first half, with the third-unit guys playing in the second half.

An interesting scenario is playing itself out with Sage Rosenfels. If he starts, he will be going against a Colts team that has given him trouble over the years. In Week 4 last season, the Texans had a big fourth-quarter lead that Rosenfels saw slip through his fingers as the Colts came back to win 31-27. In the second meeting of the season, Rosenfels threw just 18 passes in 33-27 loss.

With the competition for the starting QB job heating up as the games begin, it will be a true test for Rosenfels to start against the one team that has consistently given him problems. A successful couple of series against the Colts could go a long way to determining whether Rosenfels wins the starting job or not.

So far, no proclamation on a starter for Friday's preseason opener has been made.

"We haven't decided," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "That's not my job to come in here and tell you who the starting quarterback is. (Head coach Brad Childress) will tell you. We are in the process of talking about it – getting the exact reps with each and every guy, exactly how we want it to play out. I'm sure coach will tell you here pretty soon."

Childress said they haven't finalized that yet.

"We're going through that right now. As a matter of fact, we've got a tentative pecking order for everybody and we'll go back and discuss it again tonight," Childress said Monday afternoon.

The other issues will be deciding how to divide the reps between Rosenfels and Jackson, who are each fighting for the starting spot. Childress said the quarterbacks will not rotate series, but Bevell said protecting each of their quarterbacks is important.

"I think it has been said by coach that it's important to get both those guys behind the best offensive line that you can put out there," Bevell said. "That's going to be a key and that's some of the things that we're talking about with the reps. Do we have to let other guys go a little bit further to make sure that we're protecting the quarterbacks well? That kind of thing. That's what we're under advisement with right now."

Childress said whichever quarterback starts Friday against Indianapolis won't start the following week.

MONDAY NOTES

  • From the Things Could Be Worse Department comes this: How bad must the practices for the Miami Dolphins be? The Fins started training camp about the same time the Vikings did, but have already had three players quit. Safety Ethan Kilmer, a fourth-year man out of Penn State, left camp Friday, joining rookie OT SirVincent Rogers, who quit Thursday. Rookie TE Jared Bronson didn't report to training camp. Apparently Camp Tuna isn't all it's made out to be.

  • With Buffalo defensive tackle Marcus Stroud recovering from injury, former Viking Spencer Johnson has been getting most of the training camp snaps with the first-team defensive line.

  • The weekend stress fracture to the foot of Rams receiver Donnie Avery pointed out just how many veteran wide receivers are looking for work. The list includes Marvin Harrison, Darrell Jackson, Ashley Lelie, Justin McCareins, Jerry Porter and Reggie Williams – all players who just a year or two ago were viewed as critical components of their respective teams.

  • Former Viking Fred Robbins has been taken off the Physically Unable to Perform list and has begun working out with his Giants teammates.

  • Tony Dungy, who is serving as a mentor for QB Michael Vick said that he expects Vick will be signed by somebody before the training camps break.

  • Former Vikings kicker Steve Hauschka is apparently holding a slight advantage over Graham Gano for the Ravens kicking job. Hauschka spent last training camp with the Vikings and was signed by the Ravens to be a kickoff specialist alongside Matt Stover, who was released following the 2008 season.

  • With the Sunday signing of Saints first-round pick Malcolm Jenkins, there are only five unsigned rookies – all picks between Nos. 6 and 11. Important to the Vikings is that the Packers haven't signed DT B.J. Raji, who was supposed to be vital to the team's switch to the 3-4 defense, and WR Michael Crabtree hasn't signed with the 49ers, whom the Vikings play for their home opener Sept. 27.


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