Commentary: The Jackson faction

It should come as a surprise to no one that some players in the locker room still support Tarvaris Jackson. At least one went on record three months ago saying as much. But the reality is Brett Favre is the starter, Brad Childress is calling the shots and everyone else will just have to fall in line.

Now that Brad Childress and Brett Favre are finally together and committed to at least a one-year relationship, reports are surfacing that some players in the locker support Tarvaris Jackson

The web site Pro Football Talk reported on Wednesday morning there is a still "a faction" of players that prefer Tarvaris Jackson over Brett Favre, according to "a source with knowledge of the locker-room dynamics in Minnesota."

"This ‘faction' of for now undetermined size regards Favre as an ‘old guy' with talents inferior to those possessed by Jackson," Mike Florio wrote on the site.

That should hardly be a surprise. Besides the fact that there are 80 men currently on the Vikings roster and you could likely find differing opinions on various subjects, Jackson has had three-plus years to form bonds with his teammates.

In fact, defensive end Ray Edwards told me in May, well before Favre even signed, that Jackson was "my quarterback."

"He's my quarterback," Edwards said when I asked him about the Favre possibilities back in May. "I don't care what they say about Favre – of course, Favre's a great quarterback – but Favre ain't here. Tarvaris is here and that's my quarterback."

At that time, the obvious follow-up question was this: What about Sage Rosenfels, who was involved in the two-horse race that even Jackson admitted was 50-50 at the time?

"Like I said, Tarvaris is my quarterback. If he loses his job, then, hey, he's still my quarterback. I came in with Tarvaris. We've been friends ever since and I have faith in him," said Edwards.

Edwards was drafted in the fourth round in 2006; Jackson was a second-round pick that year and has spent time on and off as the Vikings' starter since then.

"Those are opinions," Childress said when asked about the Pro Football Talk report and another by Adam Schefter of ESPN that said that Favre starting is an "issue" and causing a "schism" in the locker room. "It's hard to shoot holes in an opinion. Opinions are just that – it's an opinion. I certainly don't see anything that looks close to that."

The reality is that there probably are a number of players that still support Jackson because he has been around the team for so long. There are probably those who think Sage Rosenfels is the best option as well, despite him only being with the team since February.

Running back Adrian Peterson said he doesn't see a faction in the locker room.

"That's something new to me. I'm not sensing nothing like that at all. I don't know where that came from. That's news to me," he said.

Players are cut, traded and benched daily in the NFL and plenty of players have said they recognize that the Favre signing is an attempt to improve the team.

"I think all of them will say business issues – business is business. And whether they like it or not, that's the way it is," Childress said. "As I told Tarvaris, I don't expect you to like it. And, as Tarvaris did – he's a highly competitive guy – he came back and played very well. That benefits him. That benefits us.

"… So, I don't expect those guys to like it. But I expect them to deal with it and go forward. And by and large, that's exactly what's happening."

While Favre went 1-for-4 for 4 yards in his Vikings debut last Friday, Jackson came off the bench and completed 12 of 15 passes for 202 yards, two touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 rating.

Yet all the players know who is starting Monday night in Houston. The Vikings didn't sign Favre to a two-year, $25 million contract to put him in a competition with Jackson and Rosenfels. Favre will be the start until he or Childress decide otherwise, or until an injury makes that decision for them.

Some of the players would be wise to take advantage of having a Pro Bowl quarterback in their presence in the locker room.

"I'm taking advantage of it. To get to sit there and chit-chat with Brett Favre, it's fun," Peterson said. "He's a good guy. I was a fan of his for a long time and still am. I'm definitely taking advantage of it."

"… He's an easy-going guy. Easy to sit there and conversate with. He's a good teammate."

Childress said he learned all about separating business from friendship when he was growing up. His father was a minority owner at an apartment complex and the younger Childress was a lifeguard there … until he was fired.

"I decided to go over and have a little party at the clubhouse, and got fired," Childress said. "The man that was the majority owner of the place fired me. I was in tears. He said, ‘Hey, it's nothing personal,' … Business is business, and friends are friends."

Childress hasn't related that story to his players yet, but he might have to when it comes time to make a decision on which quarterbacks will remain on the roster. Currently there are four. By Sept. 5, when the final cuts are made, there likely will be only three survivors.

Jackson has had his opportunity to seize control of the starting job several different times. Each time he has been good enough to offer hope but not consistent enough to guarantee it.

"People come and go, and that's a part of the dynamic too," Childress said. "It's a part of this deal. Does anybody like it? No. Like I told you before, that's the hardest job, when you have to tell people their dream is done.

"But, it is a dynamic that's real."


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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