Tag:Tavaris Jackson
Posted on: April 10, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 4:43 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Minnesota Vikings

Posted by Andy Benoit



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups .



The Vikings’ perils couldn’t have been any worse for Minnesotans and any better for bloggers. Brett Favre drama took on a whole new tenor. Added to the cacophony of “Will he play?” questions was “Do you think it was him?” speculation.

Favre’s acrimonious relationship with Brad Childress did not improve, either, which was part of the reason the head coach was unable to survive through November.

Things didn’t pick up once Childress was fired. Symbolically, and fortunately for Zygi Wilf and his cadre of business cohorts seeking a new stadium, also literally, the Metrodome roof collapsed, leaving this team homeless for the holidays. The novelty of relocated Monday night games distracted from the fact that the Vikings finished the season in the same way they started it: with a thud.



Fullbacks

There is no reason to keep Naufahu Tahi on the roster. Even if the 29-year-old fullback had played well in 2010 (and he did not), his presence would be a hindrance. Adrian Peterson is a violent, decisive runner who does not have good patience when it comes to setting up his blocks. Peterson’s natural tendency is to get the ball and explode.

When there is a fullback in front of him, he’s forced to slow down and wait for the play to develop. Tahi, like most fullbacks, can’t hit the hole as quickly as Peterson can, even when he’s starting out two yards closer to the hole.

Peterson is better in an empty backfield. And, with a plethora of tight ends already on the roster, including blocking specialists Jeff Dugan and Jim Kleinsasser, the Vikings are better running out of dual tight end formations anyway. Save a roster spot; dump the fullback.




1. Quarterback
Favre is really gone this time (*) and, with Childress gone, the front office has realized it is finally free to admit that Tarvaris Jackson is not the answer.

2. Offensive Tackle
The Vikings won’t draft someone at this position because that’d be admitting it was a mistake to sign Bryant McKinnie to a long-term deal and invest a second-round draft pick in Phil Loadholt. The reality is, the 6’8” 350-pound McKinnie’s heart is the size of a dwarf’s. The 6’8”, 335-pound Loadholt is still developing but is yet to show any signs of ferocity.

3. Cornerback
Antoine Winfield is creeping up in age but can still play, especially if asked to man the slot. Problem is, Minnesota doesn’t have any stability outside. Cedric Griffin tore both ACL’s at different times in 2010. Asher Allen has become every quarterback’s favorite opponent. Last year’s second-round pick, Chris Cook, has character concerns and just six games to his name, thanks to injuries as a rookie.




This team’s window of opportunity has closed. The Vikings knew this was coming – why do you think they were so desperate in their pursuit of Favre last summer? Now they must develop a new green quarterback behind an offensive line that is much, much worse than people realize (Favre’s quick decision making masked many pass protection deficiencies last season).

The defense, which already needs help in the secondary given that the pass-rush has tailed off, will take a step back if nose tackle Pat Williams does not return (he’s an unrestricted free agent).

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Posted on: December 16, 2010 11:28 am
Edited on: December 16, 2010 11:32 am
 

Tarvaris Jackson heads to IR

Posted by Will Brinson

Tarvaris Jackson's consecutive start streak is over. At one. Brett Favre's replacement was placed on injured reserve Thursday, effectively ending his season and likely his career as a Viking.

Jackson suffered a turf toe injury against the Giants Monday, so Minnesota went out and signed Patrick Ramsey to back up rookie Joe Webb (who, apropos of nothing, is probably eligible as a wide receiver in fantasy, which I find fascinating) for Monday's game against Chicago.

Jackson's contract is up at the end of 2010, and it seems likely, with Brad Childress out of the picture, that both the Vikings and Jackson end up going their separate ways.

As for the fact that Favre isn't headed to IR yet, well, let's just say there's still a chance we see him play this year. Although a cameo against Chicago in eight-degree weather seems like a poor choice, unless Minnesota wants to see him end his career like a bug drifting around the Autobahn at windshield level.

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Posted on: December 12, 2010 2:54 pm
 

Favre says he 'does not think he can play' Monday

Posted by Will Brinson

The temporary issue with the Vikings-Giants game (aka "WHERE") is solved, as the teams will square off in Detroit Monday night at Ford Field (and tickets are free!). So what then, will happen with Brett Favre, who said he couldn't have played Sunday.

Well, it appears his consecutive games streak will end at 297, if the reports currently circulating hold true.

Favre texted Jonny Saraceno of USA Today on Sunday about his status.

"I doubt it, but [the Metrodome collapsing] does buy a little time," Favre texted. "This is unbelievable!"

He was referring to the Metrodome, of course, but for all we know he means his chance at playing Monday night against the Giants.

According to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, Favre is also telling "friends and associates he does not think he can play" Monday.

In other words, right now, he's "doubtful" at best, and it seems as if Tavaris Jackson will get the starting nod for the Vikings on Monday night in Ford Field.

But, this is Brett Favre we're talking about folks, and there's no reason to firmly believe he's going to miss the opening snap of the game until you actually see the ball in Tavaris' hands on the first play from scrimmage.

Until then, there'll be plenty of speculation surrounding Favre's status, and there's always a chance he wakes up on Monday, feels great, gets dressed and leads the Vikings to a miraculous win (or embarrassing loss). There's also a chance he suits up and gets injured, although Leslie Frazier has indicated he won't play Favre early and pull him just to keep the streak rolling.

If Favre doesn't play, though, there's a very good chance we've seen him take his last snap in the NFL -- once "the streak" is broken, it doesn't seem like he's got a whole lot come back and play for in the final three weeks of the season.

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 1:53 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: It's time for Tavaris Jackson

Posted by Will Brinson

Brad Childress' departure from the Minnesota Vikings organization certainly doesn't mean that Wednesdays aren't FavreDays still -- and so it's now Leslie Frazier handling the press conference questions of reporters while every network in the world livestreams his answers regardless of what else in the world is happening.

Frazier, who's immensely more enjoyable to listen to for 20 minutes than Chilly, said that there hasn't been a decision made on whether Brett Favre will start Sunday. In fact, he said that a decision probably won't come until Sunday, as the Vikings try to figure out if No. 4 can play. He also said that Favre won't start just to keep his streak alive.

"No, I don't think we approach it that way," Frazier said. "Either he can go or he can't go. And when he goes in there, we're of the expectation that he can play for four quarters. That would be the plan. So we wouldn't go into it, get a start, get a couple reps and get out, no."

So, even though Favre hasn't thrown a ball this week and even though he can't lift his arm very far and even though the Vikings offense went ballistic on the Bills once Tavaris Jackson entered the game on Sunday, Favre still gives Minnesota the "best chance to win." Presumably.

But does he?

The upside of Tavaris is that he's extremely mobile, he has a cannon arm and he's absolutely fresh right now. The downside of Tavaris is that he's inexperienced and he frequently makes terrible, inexcusable mistakes.

This differentiates him from Favre in that, um, he's not experienced. Oh, and that he won't be publicly upset if he can't start his 299th consecutive game.

That is to say, if the Vikings were playing to win, they would start Tavaris over Favre. And, actually, if they're playing to make sure that Favre doesn't get literally killed on Sunday, they'll start Tavaris -- the Giants pass rush isn't just formidable, it's terrifying, and they're going to get their hands on the Vikings quarterback, whoever it is.

If it's someone who's mobile instead of someone who's got unbelievable genes and an Iron Man body gripping his extremities by strings -- not to mention a busted foot and/or feet and/or ankles -- they'll stand a better chance of succeeding against a scary defense.

Look, some of Tavaris' success on Sunday came from two things: having Adrian Peterson and having Sidney Rice. Because they played the Bills, Peterson was able to soften up the defense and make Jackson's job easier. And because Rice is as stud, some of the throws Jackson made went from jump-balls to big gains.

But, hey, that's not so different from Favre being under center anyway.

****
So, this Cardinals quarterback situation is just a total nightmare isn't it? It's terrible for the fans and it's probably worse for Ken Wisenhunt, who absolutely knows that there's nothing he can do in order to improve his team's chances of winning over the next couple of weeks -- either he starts raw rookie John Skelton, or he keeps throwing Derek Anderson to the wolves.

There's a sound argument to be made from the perspective of "Skelton CAN'T be worse than Anderson -- just play him!" But there's also a sound argument to be made for the other side, as well. Because, you know, if you start Skelton and he gets hurt or stinks the joint up, you're wasting money on Anderson on the bench and getting the same result, with the possibility of hurting Skelton's development long term.

In hindsight, the team shouldn't have been so cheap that they weren't willing to pay Marc Bulger as well (we learned recently that Whiz and the Cards wanted to go after Bulger but didn't want to wait for the Rams to release him) and, instead, ended up with two rookies backing up their de facto starter in Anderson.

The moral of the story? You should always sneak into Kurt Warner's and do your best God voice to convince him to rejoin the team regardless of how morally corrupt that is make sure you have reasonably viable options at quarterback.

****
The notion of a "starting running back" is a little outdated in this two-back world we live in, but it still prominently exists. Look no further than the Giants situation where Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have flopped several times as the "starter." Jacobs, who regained the role recently, will continue to start "at this point," according to Tom Coughlin.

The bottom line is that Coughlin's going to keep going with the hot hand, he's going to pound both of these guys with his wide receiver corps banged up, and he'll use the "starter" thing as motivation for both Bradshaw and Jacobs.

And that, right there, is something that deserves a ton of praise -- Coughlin hasn't been scared to make change and motivate these guys in 2010, and that's why the Giants, instead of continually skidding after losses to Philadelphia and Dallas, are tied with the Eagles for the NFC East lead.

****


There's been some clamoring for Tim Tebow in Denver. After all, Josh McDaniels is gone and let's see what we've got, people! Unleash the Tebow!!! (Sorry, got excited there for a second.) This is silly.

Eric Studesville needs to win and he needs to win quickly and he needs to do it in a fashion that shows he can win next year as well (with Kyle Orton and his motley crue of wideouts), if he hopes to have a shot at the Broncos gig in 2011. It seems unlikely that he gets that job anyway, but not less likely than Tebow blossoming into a starting NFL quarterback over the next three weeks. So: upside is you have a guy who's not as good as Orton (yet). Downside: Studesville kills any chance of being a candidate in Denver and simultaneously sinks Tebow's trade value even further for next year.

****
Pants on Fire! (You see, because we examine hot seats)

John Fox: He's gone. His house, according to people I talked to recently, has been on the market for months. The only question is whether or not Frazier and Jason Garrett in Dallas can lose their jobs in the next three weeks to present attractive openings for a new gig.

Mike Singletary: MUnless the Niners rip off a miracle run, he's toast. And he clearly knows that. Why else would he make the flip-flopping of Troy Smith and Alex Smith "week-to-week"?

Jeff Fisher: Seems kind of crazy, but at this point, if you're Fisher, why would you stay? Your crazy old boss clearly prefers a guy like Vince Young to you (the guy who's been there, winning, for 17 years!) and walking out now, even with the Titans struggling mightily, would mean an easy opportunity to land another head coaching job.

Norv Turner: Once upon about two weeks ago, Turner might have had a shot at running the table and making an argument for COY award. Instead, the Chargers came out completely flat against Oakland, at home, as 13.5-point favorites. If the same thing happens (only with a 7.5 line) against KC, Norv better watch out.

Marvin Lewis: He's hanging out in John Fox's billiards room, obviously.

Gary Kubiak: Primetime struggles against Baltimore (at home, on Monday night) could make things awkward for Kubes. Fortunately, that Denver job's open, so he could potentially "leave" Houston for a "homecoming" and just work something out with Texans ownership where they don't fire him. (And then hire Fisher! The drama! The hatred! DO IT!)

Tony Sparano: There are so many coaches getting canned or sitting squarely on the heater that Sparano gets overlooked, but following up a blowout of Oakland with a terrible loss to Cleveland means he has to beat Buffalo and Detroit at home to close out the season at 8-8, as the Fins travel to the Jets and the Pats as well in the next four weeks. Losing one of those has the makings of a canning.

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 9:25 am
 

Vikes, Frazier 'hoping' Favre can play on Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

Even Leslie Frazier's brilliant start with the Minnesota Vikings (2-0! A win against the Bills! And one against the Redskins!) couldn't possibly be derailed by Brett Favre's on- and off-field issues -- when Favre went down, the Vikings went up, shredding through Buffalo with Tavaris Jackson at the helm.

Favre's dealing with another injury (this time a separated shoulder) for the first time in his career, but just because he's hurt every body part he's got at this point doesn't mean you should expect him to sit. Because the Vikings don't.

"He probably won't practice tomorrow, but we'll get a chance to see how he looks on Thursday and just try to make a determination based on that, you know, how things will look for Sunday," Frazier said Tuesday in a radio interview. "But we're all hoping that he'll be healthy enough to play. He's still a great quarterback and if he's able to play it gives us a great chance to win against New York."

Now, Frazier has to say something like that -- unlike Brad Childress, he already seems to grasp that keeping a hold on the Vikings head coaching job is much easier if you please No. 4.

That being said, he and Minnesota won't go so far out of their way that they risk losing a game to please Favre; if he physically can't go, they won't force him on the field just to keep his consecutive games starting streak alive.

Or, at minimum, they'll put him out there against the Giants and let someone on the offensive line "miss" a block in the first quarter that leads to more of what you see above. Seriously: if Favre tries to go against the G-Men's pass rush, they're going to end up killing him. 

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Posted on: November 21, 2010 11:29 am
Edited on: November 21, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Favre: Childress insults are a 'damn shame'

Posted by Will Brinson

All the speculation surrounding the Minnesota-Green Bay game today is that it could be Brett Favre's last game in the NFL. There's a belief that if the Vikings lose to the Packers, Favre will limp off into the dusty sunset. (Please note, of course, that you should never, ever, ever-ever-ever assume Favre's gone until papers are filed.)

But No. 4 insists that he's ready to bring it against his old team and, according to ESPN's Ed Werder, Favre has been slinging the ball all week, at some point leaving a dent in wideout Greg Camarillo's helmet with a cannonball of a throw. He's also unconcerned about leaving anything on the field.

"If it comes off, it comes off," Favre said about his arm.

While the idea of the final picture of Brett Favre's career being him shrieking in horror as blood spurts from a dismembered shoulder is a little amusing (in a morbid cartoonish way), it's more than likely that we'll have some sort of image that involves Favre vs. Brad Childress -- Favre told Werder this week that he's still cheesed about the way Chilly handled his presser after the first Packers game.

"It's a damn shame," Favre said " What I think about is going to my press conference knowing he'd taken some shots at me."

Of course, Chilly went to his press conference knowing that Favre has more power in the Vikes' organization than the coach, so, it's kind of hard to blame him, you know?

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Posted on: October 31, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2010 12:24 pm
 

Report: Favre playing with boot, might not finish

Posted by Will Brinson

Sick of hearing that Brett Favre might not play this week? Well, we have some good news for you: he might not play the whole game against the Patriots this week.

This is according to Ed Werder of ESPN, who reports that not only will Favre be playing in a boot, but he's prepared to not finish the game, should his injury require the services of Tarvaris Jackson.

Yes, this means exactly what you think it means: his streak (which was, ironically, being featured in a piece by Tom Jackson as this news scrolled the bottom line) is the most important thing in the world and easily trumps the need for the Vikings to actually win a game.

Hopefully Favre won't feel the need to keep the charade going more than a few snaps. (Unless, you know, he's actually not injured. Then he should play, because Tarvaris Jackson is who we think he is.)

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Posted on: October 27, 2010 3:28 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 5:48 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: 'What's Best for the Team'?

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park . 

Week 7 might see an unusual number of coaches actually doing 'what's best for their team' (Brad Childress' words) when it comes to quarterback decisions.

Or perhaps not -- many an external factor can change a coach's choice on who to start.

Let's begin in Minnesota, or, technically, in New England -- where the Vikings will take on the Patriots in a game that's got a storyline or two.

There's Randy Moss' return to New England after being traded from the Pats earlier this season, a monumental factor that's being even more monumentally overshadowed by the fact that every single bone in Brett Favre's foot has been reduced to little tiny pieces in the past week or so.

OK, that's a stretch, but we do know it's a pretty severe injury. Or, at least some of us do.

"You're talking to the wrong guy to rate severity," Childress said. "I just know how they were advertised to me, and I didn't use any [medical definitions] that weren't said to me."

Chilling words (pun intended) from a coach who seems to be more passive-aggressive than anything when it comes to making a decision about who'll start for him under center.

The pervasive understanding sure seems to be that Childress, if he had his druthers or any, ahem, "juevos rancheros" at all, would start Tavaris Jackson at quarterback for the Vikings. This would require Childress being in charge, though, and his description of Favre's injury ("an evolving situation") is pretty indicative that he's not.

Favre doesn't call the shots, of course, but it's pretty clear that if he wants to play, he's going to play, despite what he says; and yeah, the same thing applies to his streak of 291 consecutive games.

"I don't want to go out there for one play, I don't want to go out there for three plays," Favre said. "If I'm able to play, I want to play the whole game and give us the best chance to win."

That's utter baloney, regardless of how nice it sounds coming from Favre. He prides himself on his iron man status as much as anything, and it's pretty obvious that if he can get that next start, he's going to get that next start, even if it's at the expense of Minnesota's success.

The only thing that could stop him is Childress stepping in, telling everyone involved that Favre is going to take a week off, get rested and thereby putting the burden on Adrian Peterson to control the game and Tavaris Jackson to make one or two big throws without any huge mistakes.

It's a plausible proposition, but probably one that won't come to fruition. But only because Favre wants to keep his streak intact grit out a win just too damn much.

****


The Titans might offer up the spiciest of all job situations, because Jeff Fisher's shown in the past he doesn't give a flip who throws the ball for his team, as long as they help Tennessee win.

Kenny Britt's emergence as a potential true No. 1 wideout -- even if he's facing future discipline -- under Kerry Collins might make the decision easier.

Clearly Vince Young has potential and whatnot, but he's remarkably inconsistent, and Collins has had tremendous success with Fisher, most notably in stealing V.Y.'s starting spot two years ago and last week against the Eagles, when he lead a measty comeback in Nashville that featured Britt catching three touchdowns for 225 yards.

As long as Tennessee has Chris Johnson, it'll obviously be dangerous, and with a bye week coming after the Titans tangle with the Chargers in San Diego Sunday, it makes a whole lotta sense for Fisher to give V.Y.'s a quite convenient extra week of rest on his injured leg.

Will ownership want that no? Probably not. Will Vince? Definitely not. Does Fisher care? Absolutely not -- a win in San Diego gives Tennessee establishes the Titans as a legitimate threat to win the AFC (if that wasn't clear already), and "CSI:Nashville" knows that keeping Collins under center for now gives them the best chance to win.

At least until he does his best "Kerry Collins in the first of 2009" impersonation -- but that's what Vince Young's sitting there for!

****
The Eagles finally make their way to the bottom of this piece (or at least the middle anyway), and with good reason -- Kevin Kolb showed Sunday why Michael Vick should be the starter.

(Ironically, yes, that was while Collins showed he should start over Young, but that's neither here nor there.)

Look, we've said it plenty of times, but Kolb's plenty good and will play plenty of snaps for the Eagles at some point; he's just a different animal than Vick.

Last week we talked about how Kolb, even when posting monster numbers against Atlanta, still looked a little weak-armed. This won't change. Ever.

And Vick is, when healthy, one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL -- he'll start until he forgets how fragile his ribcage is and takes off on an ill-advised run down the middle of the field towards the goal line. Again.

****


Perhaps the best decision by any coach -- and it's an odd choice if only because of who the coach is -- will happen in London, where Mike Singletary decided to plug in Troy Smith as the starter while Alex Smith is out.

There's no telling if Troy will start for the entire two-to-three week duration that Alex is supposed to miss, but it doesn't really matter: Frank Gore would be a better option than David Carr.

Plenty of people probably weren't watching the stinker of a game he gave up in Charlotte, but believe me, he has no business taking snaps as a starter in the NFL ever again. It's like drafting Michael Clayton in fantasy -- just because he's a top pick and has tons of talent doesn't mean he has to succeed eventually.

Cut him and move on. (Oh wait, that happened in real life too. Ha.)

****
Los Pantalones Fuegos (We're talking about jobs so we might as well mentions who's seat is hot, no?)

- Mike Singletary: Right now he's getting a few too many votes of confidence. A blowout overseas at the hands of a Denver team that got torched by the Raiders last week could push him to the brink.

- Brad Childress: Weird how so many of the guys with quarterback situations are mentioned here right? 2-6 to start the season could make it worth Minnesota's while to see what Leslie Frazier can do as a head coach.

- John Fox: It's hot all season, but a win against the Rams would go a long way towards keeping him in town through 2010.

- Josh McDaniels: It wasn't the losses piling up, but the way in which they piled up (read: giving up nearly 60 points to division rival Oakland).

- Wade Phillips: Tony Romo's injury almost guaranteed that he won't be fired until the end of the season, if that's any consolation.

- Jack Del Rio: Losing to a Jon Kitna-led Cowboys team just before the bye could seal his fate. Kitna will do that to you.

- Lovie Smith: He's only slightly less delusional than Singletary. And he has four wins, so that helps.

****
Quickly …

- Needless to say, giving the job to Colt McCoy was the right call for Eric Mangini. Kid's kind of hard to root against.

- Max Hall's the starter for Arizona if he's healthy and that makes the most sense given that the only other option is still Derek Anderson. It's simple science, really.

- Apparently Washingtonians want Rex Grossman to get a shot over Donovan McNabb. Please go monitor a midterm, folks -- there's more value in that.

- Darren McFadden probably has his starting job back now, I think.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com