Strong QB play and Vikings go together

Yes, temper the enthusiasm knowing it's the preseason, but strong quarterback play at any point in the process is a good (and somewhat surprising) early step for the Vikings offense. See the numbers to support the accusations and the reaction from some of the offensive players, including Sage Rosenfels, who returned to practice.

Quarterback Sage Rosenfels returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since he injured his ankle in the preseason opener more than a week ago.

Of course, back then Rosenfels was vying for the starting job. Now he is playing for second place since the Vikings signed Brett Favre to be their unquestioned starter.

Favre will play at least the first half of Monday night's third preseason game, according to head coach Brad Childress, as he continues to be quickly immersed in the Vikings' version of the West Coast offense.

Favre completed only one of four passes for 4 yards during his short Friday night debut for the Vikings, while Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson each had solid success in the first two games when they were with the starters.

Rosenfels opened the preseason as the starter and completed 10 of 13 passes for 91 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions for a 95.3 passer rating. Those numbers were produced in two series of work and continued Rosenfels' gradual progression in the Minnesota offense.

"I think training camp a lot of times starts slow offensively. Everyone is getting their feet back underneath them and getting used to each other," Rosenfels said. "I thought personally, as camp went on, I thought I was playing better and better every day and felt more and more comfortable every day. I think the preseason game out in Indy to me was a lot like the last seven or eight days (of camp) had sort of gone for me."

After Favre went two series against Kansas City on Friday, Jackson got some playing time with most of the rest of the first-team offense. While he got off to a shaky start – he was booed, threw incomplete on his first attempt and was about5 yards past the line of scrimmage on his second attempt – he quickly heated up in his second series of work.

In five series that lasted into the second half of the game, Jackson completed 12 of 15 passes for 202 yards, two touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 rating.

No matter the quarterback so far this preseason – with the exception of the premature returns on Favre – the offense has looked relatively solid.

"We got a really good start on the fact that the majority of the guys that have been playing together have been here for the last couple years, so obviously the new addition with Brett will bring some different wrinkles and things like that, but I guess as much as he gets comfortable and the more confidence he has in this offense and in himself and the players around him, I think the better we'll be," said receiver Bobby Wade, the team's leading receiver the last two seasons. "So a lot of that has to do with us playing really well around him. A lot of that has to do with him being comfortable with the offense."

The rest of the quarterbacks have looked fairly sharp. To wit:

  • The Vikings are the only team that hasn't given up a sack or turned the ball over yet this preseason.

  • The offense is averaging 355.5 yards per game (ranks seventh) in the first two preseason games, nearly 100 yards more than the team's 261.3-yard average in the 2008 preseason. They finished the regular season ranked 17th in total offense.

  • The Vikings have rushed for 291 yards thus far (a 145.5-yard average) after finishing the 2008 preseason campaign with 317 total rushing yards. They are ranked fifth in rushing this preseason.

  • Their quarterbacks as a whole rank fifth in completion percentage (64.5), connecting on 40 of 62 passes. They are fourth in passer rating at 94.8.

    "It's very important if you're a passing offense to be clicking in the preseason," Rosenfels said. "You usually don't see quite as many things in the preseason so you want to throw for a higher percentage. You want to throw for 70 to 80 percent. You'd like to. You'll never complain about 60 usually, but you'd like to throw for a high percentage and then obviously as the season progresses the defenses, because they scheme so well, the percentages go down usually. But I think it's very important for our offense to start off on the right foot and I think the passing game has done pretty well."

    Through two preseason games, Jackson is 19 of 30 for 241 yards for a 110.5 rating, Rosenfels is 10 of 13 for 91 yards and a 95.3 rating, John David Booty is 10 of 15 for 84 yards and an 81.0 rating, and Favre is 1 of 4 for 4 yards and a 39.6 rating.

    "To be honest with you, that's what I expected of Tarvaris," Wade said. "Tarvaris is a really good player. Our expectations coming into the season had nothing to do with Brett Favre being on this roster. Our focus was still, whether it was Sage or Tarvaris, was still about winning the Super Bowl. Tarvaris playing well was just as expected for me. I expected him to play that way every time he comes in. He's a competitive guy, knows the offense well and he has a lot of skills."


    Rosenfels and DE Jared Allen were among the players who returned to practice after not playing on Friday night.

    Rosenfels said the ankle, which he injured in the preseason opener, felt good.

    "I wasn't sure how it was going to feel today being in the first practice, but it felt really good and I'm excited to get back out there and get back out there working," he said.

    "I tell you what, it's nice to be out here. That was like the longest week, last week being in the training room morning, noon and night it seemed like. You had to be in the meetings and still getting ready for that game but not playing. It's great to be back out and going back to work and trying to knock off a little rust. I felt really good out here today."

    Rosenfels said he felt like he never missed any time.

    Allen warmed up for the Chiefs game, but then didn't play after hurting his ankle in practice last week.

    TE Jim Kleinsasser (hand) and WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring) attended practice but didn't participate fully.

    "Any time you get a little something like this, it's frustrating. Just annoying, that's what I'd call it," Kleinsasser said.

    Berrian spent some time after practice jogging and catching passes from Favre. Berrian hasn't been on the field practicing with the full team since Favre signed with the team.

    "We'd always like to have more time (to develop timing), but the season starts when it starts so there's no turning back. So we've got to get it in while we can," said Berrian, who admitted that running 40 or 50 percent following a practice doesn't do much for his timing with Favre. "It's just getting used to me running and getting in and out of breaks."

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