While Minnesota Viking fans everywhere sit and wait to see if their favorite geriatric QB, Brett Favre decides to come back for one more trip down memory lane, this writer is looking at what the alternative may be like. Could the road traveled with Tarvaris Jackson be paved with golden bricks that lead to the Super Bowl? Is this type of thinking more like traveling in a fantasy down the yellow brick road in the land of Oz?
Lets take a look at what the reality could be. In pure numbers, T-Jack’s stats appear like a recipe for success. The past two seasons he has completed sixty percent of his passes, thrown ten touchdowns, only two interceptions, and has a quarterback rating near 100. The cliche factory always tells you that “numbers don’t lie”. Why then, do so many people doubt that Tarvaris Jackson can effectively lead this team? Are people that afraid of T-Jack, or is this just an example of the mainstream media doing a good job convincing us that Favre returning is the only chance the Vikings have of going deep in to the postseason for a second consecutive year.
First, let me be clear about a few things. Brett Favre is one of the five greatest quarterbacks of all-time and this article is not meant to dispute that opinion. Tarvaris Jackson will not have the career number four has had(no one outside of Peyton Manning even has a shot), and he may never equal the efficiency numbers Favre posted last year. Those numbers were the best ever in nineteen years of playing. The real question is just how good can Minnesota be with Jackson at the controls this year?
The answer should be that they will be as good, or even better than 2009. T-Jack has shown a steady progression through the last five years. He seems to have the offense down, looks much more comfortable, and has the full confidence of his teammates. His mobility will keep him out of trouble most of the time and with the obvious exception of the 2008 playoff game against Philly, his decision making has come a long way. In fact, some things in that game are eerily similar to the way the NFC Championship game was lost. I will leave suspect play calling after entering the opponents territory for another day.
There are plenty of people, experts included, that will say they want to see Tarvaris put up big-time numbers over a full season. Fine. I agree. Others will point to 2008 and argue that Gus Frerotte was responsible for most of Minnesota’s victories. Wrong. The Vikings won games in spite of the interception machine named Gus. If not for him getting hurt against Detroit, the Vikes lose to Daunte Culpepper and the Lions. Imagine, they could have foiled that record setting season of 0-16. As for looking bad against the Eagles, Jackson wasn’t alone. Watch some film on Tony Romo against that Jim Johnson defense. Brutal.
Now time for the bold prediction portion of our programming. The regular season schedule is certainly tougher this year, but I do think Minnesota is good for 12-4, maybe 13-3 with T-Jack under center. The NFC North will be theirs again. Aaron Rodgers takes too many hits, Jay Cutler is, well Jay Cutler, and Detroit is still the Lions. That should be good enough for home field advantage in the playoffs. The biggest question marks right now are Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, and Brad Childress. Coach Chilly has to stop the tepid play calling he’s been guilty of when getting a lead or driving in to enemy territory. If that happens and Harvin and Rice can stay healthy, the Vikings will reach the Super Bowl. As far as the quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson, look for 3,750 yards, 62% completion, 24 TDs, 11 INTs, and yes the Pro Bowl. All of this, of course, depends on one person. Brett Favre.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).