Posted at 7:07 AM on December 22, 2008
by David Zingler
After watching the squad literally and figuratively fumble away a chance to clinch the NFC North yesterday, Vikings fans are understandably depressed (and it's not like the weather is helping any). There is however, one significant positive we can take from yesterday's game: Tarvaris Jackson.
Jackson is finally taking hold of the position Brad Childress so desperately wanted to give him. The 25-year-old went 22-36 for 233 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions yesterday while picking up another 76 yards on the ground on 8 carries.
More important than the stats was Jackson's sound decision making. He seemed relaxed and in control; he knew when to tuck the ball and run, when to keep looking down field and when to throw it away.
These aren't just anecdotal observations either. In 123 attempts over roughly 4.5 games, Jackson has tossed 8 TDs versus 1 INT. That's one TD per every 15 attempts. Frerotte meanwhile has 12 TDs and 15 INTs in 301 attempts over 10.5 games (1 TD for every 25 passes). Jackson's QB rating stands at stellar 96.8, Frerotte's is a miserable 73.7.
The question of who the Vikings should start next week and in the playoffs (if they make it) has clearly been answered. I can't imagine Childress going back to Frerotte at this point. It's more important than that though.
In the end, we aren't going to judge Jackson against a mediocre journeyman like Frerotte, we want to know if he is the guy we can count on to be the starter next season and beyond. We need to know if we should start bidding in the Matt Cassell sweepstakes or spend a high draft pick on a QB in April. I think Jackson is the guy and I think he'll prove in the coming weeks.
(Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)