Quarterback mystery goes into high gear

The Vikings' starter isn't a secret for Sunday, but they are guarded on their backup information while Cleveland is playing their starting situation coy as well. Welcome to the regular season.

Brad Childress isn't saying who will be his No. 2 quarterback … at least not yet. Tarvaris Jackson doesn't know.

The closest indication as to who was in the lead for the Vikings' backup quarterback spot may have come from a cryptic quote by Sage Rosenfels when asked about the possibility of being the No. 3 quarterback.

"It's been a long time since that's happened. I've been at least a (number 2) for the last four years. This will be my fifth," he said. "That's a tough situation. You can never have too many good quarterbacks."

Of course, a short time later, Rosenfels put it back into guessing mode when he said, "That's the situation that we're both in. We'll both just have to make the most of it. If and when the team needs me, I'm going to be ready to play. However that deal shakes out, that's not going to affect my preparation."

Childress said he wouldn't declare the Vikings' emergency quarterback for the game until the mandatory 90 minutes before game time. Teams have to declare their inactive list at that time and get their game-day active roster set to 45 players. However, they are allowed to declare an emergency quarterback that can play if the other quarterbacks – usually two of them – are both injured during the game.

No question, there is a bit of gamesmanship that is going on with the Vikings, but even Childress admitted that not knowing the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback isn't that big of a deal.

"It doesn't (matter). Schematically, you're going to look at what you're seeing," he said of the Browns' situation. "You're going to go back and look at Jets tape and see what you've seen. I know, as do our guys, that there will be unscouted looks. They certainly haven't showed their whole hand offensively or defensively. But you're just going back and looking formation-wise where they are putting people. What kind of players they are. It will be more about us deploying to what they do."

Browns coach Eric Mangini declined to say whether Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson would be his starter on Sunday. Scouting the Browns becomes even more difficult because Mangini in his first year with the Browns after being fired by the New York Jets after the 2008 season.

The fact that Brett Favre played for the Jets last year and is now the Vikings' starter could give the Vikings an assist in game-planning. Linebacker Ben Leber said the whole new dynamic in Cleveland makes it "tricky" for preparations.

"This is a tricky team because it's a whole new offense. We're going to probably go back and look at some Jets stuff. They don't have a whole lot in the preseason to go off of," Leber said. "Really, we're just going to play our rules and play what they showed us in the preseason and just be ready for whatever they throw at us. It really makes no difference who they have at quarterback."

As for their own quarterback situation, Childress said the Vikings could even switch who is the No. 2 quarterback "from time to time" during the season, depending on the opponent that week and how Jackson and Rosenfels practice during the week of preparation.

Rosenfels said the preparation between the No. 2 or No. 3 starter isn't much different.

"You try to make the most of your reps on the scout team," he said. "You get little to nothing with running the offense. In my history, when I wasn't the starter, I was doing a lot of work after practice with an assistant coach and calling the plays and going through the reads and those things that you're just not going to get. I can't speak for (Jackson), but for myself the preparation is no different."

And then Rosenfels put the whole mystery into perspective.

"The good thing is we're worried about a No. 2 position right now. We're not worried about the starting center or starting left tackle," he said. "The good thing is that our team doesn't have a lot of worries right now. It seems like you guys are a little more worried about the backup quarterback. It's something that's out of my hands. I'm just going to get ready for the ready for the regular season because it's a long grind."

Said Childress: "At least you know who the starter is here."

NOTES

  • Two Vikings were missing from practice on Monday. LB Erin Henderson was hurt in the preseason finale and wasn't on the practice field and Childress said safety Madieu Williams came down with the stomach flu on Friday.

    "He actually left during the course of the game and had a little stomach flu. First time I ever had a guy that you weren't going to play that went down on the sideline, had to go get an I.V., and in fact he wasn't in the game."

  • New center Kory Lichtensteiger, signed on Sunday, is wearing number 67.

  • With the release of CB Marcus McCauley, Asher Allen is in the process of switching jersey numbers from 30 to 21.

  • The Detroit Lions will start rookie QB Matthew Stafford instead of former Viking Daunte Culpepper.

  • The New York Giants signed former Vikings fullback Nehemiah Broughton to their practice squad. Broughton was released by the Vikings on Saturday on their cutdown to 53 players.


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