Matchup to watch: Rosenfels vs. the Rams

Sage Rosenfels has handled a difficult situation with the Vikings professionally, but he has a chance to increase his value to other teams with extended action tonight.

Few players are in a more unenviable position than the Vikings' Sage Rosenfels. After being acquired in trade last year, he thought he had a better than 50-50 chance of winning the starting job. When Brett Favre was signed, all that got scuttled and Rosenfels never played a game for the Vikings. As they enter the 2010 preseason, the Favre situation remains in play and Rosenfels is likely to be shopped around if and when Favre returns, making Rosenfels' battle with the Rams defense this week's matchup to watch.

Before Favre arrived last season, Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson were battling for the starting spot and John David Booty was locked in at the No. 3 quarterback. When Favre arrived, everybody knew the handwriting was on the wall and that Booty was going to be the odd man out. This time around it's much different.

The team is excited about the prospects of rookie Joe Webb, who surprised the coaches with his throwing ability to the point that they scrapped the plan to make him a wide receiver (what he was drafted to be) and instead switched him to quarterback. He is the third QB, but the chances of sliding him through waivers are almost nonexistent. Someone will snap him up (remember the failed Tyler Thigpen practice squad experiment?). Jackson is locked and loaded to be the starter if Favre doesn't come back and the No. 2 QB if he does. With the infatuation of developing Webb, it looks like Rosenfels is the man on the bubble.

As such, the Vikings are hoping to get teams interested in trading for him instead of simply releasing him and getting nothing in return. The Vikings love to stockpile draft picks and Rosenfels is an ideal candidate to pick up a mid- to late-round pick for the 2011 draft. The best opportunity to give teams a chance to get recent film on Rosenfels will be the Rams game.

Childress has stated that Jackson will likely play just one series – he said Thursday he could play one or two series, but probably not two. Childress added that Webb is expected to play the entire fourth quarter. In between that – almost the entire first half and the third quarter – is expected to be a long, long look at Rosenfels.

A good performance would allow the Vikings a better opportunity to trade him and get a draft pick. From his perspective, getting traded instead of released would allow Rosenfels to keep his $2.6 million base salary as opposed to likely having to sign for less if he were released.

A consummate team player, Rosenfels hasn't groused too much about his position, but this isn't easy for him. He realizes his NFL future likely means leaving the Vikings, so he wants to put his best foot forward. With the expectation that Favre will return after the second preseason game, Rosenfels' final Vikings opportunity may well come in the next two games, with most of his work coming against the Rams.

He has the opportunity to raise his own stock and his veteran pride won't allow him to take a step backward. He will be pressing to have a huge game and get his name back out there among the decision-makers for the other 31 teams. For him and the Vikings, the best time is now.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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