Jackson addresses future head-on

Tarvaris Jackson has had an interesting last 10 days, to say the least. Since the Vikings signed Brett Favre, there have been rumors of Jackson' future status with the team, and he answered those questions with aplomb Friday.

The acquisition of Brett Favre has brought forth plenty of speculation about Tarvaris Jackson's future with the team.

Jackson, as always, is confronting the uncertainty of the situation head-on and honestly. Favre is the unquestioned starter and Jackson has accepted that.

However, it doesn't solve Jackson's future in purple. He could wind up being the second-string quarterback, a position for which he and Sage Rosenfels are now competing, or he could find himself traded to another team.

"I can't control that. Either way it goes, I feel like I'll be playing football. That's my goal," Jackson said after Friday's practice. "Right now I'm just trying to get ready for the Houston Texans. I'm just loving being out here. I love being with these guys. I love just talking to these guys and being here with them, so I'm just enjoying it."

Jackson has previously refuted rumors that he would seek a trade if Favre signed with the Vikings and he believes he still will be with the team when the regular season starts.

"It's high," he said when asked about his confidence level of remaining in purple at the start of the regular season. "I feel great right now. … I feel like (I'll) just go out here and just have fun. Let it all loose. It is what is and just let it all hang out."

The Vikings have numerous options at the quarterback position. They could elect to keep all four quarterbacks, including second-year pro John David Booty – but keeping that many seems unlikely given the value coaches place on roster spots. NFL teams are required to trim their roster to 75 players by Sept. 1 and then the regular-season maximum of 53 players on Sept. 5. The Vikings currently have 79 players on the roster.

An ESPN report surfaced this week saying that there was a "schism" in the Vikings locker room as some players supported Jackson or Rosenfels as a starter over Favre. Like the rest of his teammates that have been asked about those reports, Jackson didn't put much credence in them.

"I don't listen to that stuff because we all know that the decision has already been made as far as the leader of our team, as far as the quarterback position," Jackson said. "Everybody is pretty much behind him and trying to support him, trying to get him caught up with everything we're trying to do around here as far as the offense goes. But there's not too much he's got to learn because he's been with the offense for a long, long time – probably just as long as I've been living. Just trying to support him, just trying to get better myself, just trying to watch him and ask as many questions as possible."

Jackson said his teammates still have confidence in him.

"We've been here for 3½ years. We worked together and we did a lot of things together. They've seen the way I worked. They've seen the way I've come out here every day trying to get better. They see the progression," he said. "Right now my confidence is very high within myself, period, so it's always good that your team has confidence in you."

In fact, Jackson had one of his best stints in last Friday's preseason game when he entered the game late in the first quarter. His first series was a three-and-out bust, but he pressed on and ended up with a perfect passer rating, completing 12 of 15 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

Because the offense continues to change and progress, Jackson said he is still getting used to certain elements of it 3½ years after his arrival in Minnesota.

"A lot of this stuff is second nature, but a lot of this stuff we've changed and I'm still getting used to. We've made changes every day, every season," he said. "We've got a good situation. Each time you're not going to get the same coverage for the same play every time. You're just learning for different situations. It's been different every time. I'm just trying to learn and just try to put it in my memory bank."

Some of the offense has changed this year with the addition of Percy Harvin and his versatility. Some of it is bound to change because of the different things Favre does well and the limitations he might have as a 39-year-old quarterback.

"It's going to change a little bit when we get different personnel here. That's understandable," Jackson said. "You want to cater your plays to your guys. It's a little different, but pretty much our same offense. It's not where I've got to empty out my memory bank and start all the way over, but it's pretty much the same."

So where does that leave Jackson, who is in the final year of his rookie contract that will count $740,000 against this year's salary cap? The coaches aren't telling him, at least not yet.

"We don't talk about that. The decision has been made and (Favre's) the guy. I'm just trying to support him and just try to learn from him," he said. "That's all I can do until my time is called. That's all I can do until a different situation comes about. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

Surprisingly, Jackson said the whole situation with Favre and the surrounding rumors haven't been hard on him. He's just trying to "take advantage of the moment."

After three years of being the on-again, off-again starter, there is a possibility that Jackson could be traded … or maybe still be on the roster and be third on the depth chart.

"I don't even want to think about that right now," he said.


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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