Stormy days at Winter Park

Published 8:31 am Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh, to be a fly on the wall these days at Winter Park.

The coaching staff and front office must have had some discussions this week about the team and what to do about the quarterback position.

The Vikings 18-15 debacle Sunday against the Colts has raised many questions about Tarvaris Jackson and his status as the starting quarterback and it doesn’t look like there are many solid solutions to the problem.

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The Vikings front office has definitely grown impatient with Jackson and his lack of progress, but head coach Brad Childress has patiently stood behind Jackson, firmly believing he can transform a second round pick from Division I-AA Alabama State into an NFL quarterback.

Childress was given credit for developing Donovan McNabb with the Eagles and preached patience with McNabb. McNabb responded in his second year with Philadelpia with an 11-5 record and 21 touchdown passes. The Eagles made the playoffs that year.

Jackson has been a completely different story for Childress, and the brass is not happy with the situation. Can you blame them? Zygi Wilf has poured millions of dollars into the team with free agent acquisitions and the most glaring problem has been at the quarterback position. The writing is certainly on the wall for Childress and Jackson after another terrible performance against the Colts.

The Vikings made several attempts to land a functionable quarterback during the offseason. They made a play of Sage Rosenfels, but got stuck with Gus Frerotte after the team decided a second round pick was too much to give up for a questionable quarterback. Rosenfels wasn’t the answer but the intention was to try to create some competition for the spot.

Will the Vikings put Frerotte into the game this Sunday? It’s more likely than Jackson having the best start of his career.

The entire situation has to be incredibly frustrating for Wilf, who has invested a lot of money to build an instant contender, to see his team be so hamstrung by one position. But perhaps therein lies the biggest problem for an NFL team, finding a quarterback that can win games for them.

Sure the Ravens did it with Trent Dilfer and a great defense, the Bears reached the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman, but Jackson can’t even compare to those two right now.

Some might say the burden cannot be entirely placed on Jackson and that the entire team has missed plays over the course of this season. That is true as well, but when you have the most dynamic rushing attack in the NFL and aren’t able to get them touchdowns because you can’t effectively pass, you have problems.

It’s not as if Jackson needs to make incredible plays, if he makes the routine and spreads the field vertically from time to time, that opens everything up for the offense and enables the team to be incredibly more successful. He has not been able to do so thus far.

It has become apparent that the cord between Childress and Jackson will be severed at some point this season which is probably the right decision, but what does the team do then? Will Jeff Garcia find his way to Minnesota and lead another team to the playoffs — probably not.

The defense is aging and if this season becomes another lost season, there will be significant questions whether the defense will be able to be as strong for another year. Pat Williams and Darren Sharper are two veterans that have played very well over the last couple of seasons. Sharper has hinted at retirement already and a man the size of Williams doesn’t typically have a long shelf life.