I know a lot of people want Brad Childress fired and Tarvaris Jackson dumped, but neither looks like it’s going to happen, at least going by the various endorsements and votes of confidence that have come out in the hours since the season ended. Childress, the architect of what many people view as a sub-par offensive scheme, has already received words of support from members of the Wilf family, including Zygi‘s brother Mark who was quoted by Sid Hartman:
"“We have a great team, we have a lot to be proud of this year and there’s something to build on for next year,” Wilf said. “But it’s obviously very disappointing, and we’ll move on.”Asked whether Childress and his staff will be back, Wilf, the younger brother of owner and chairman Zygi Wilf, replied, “Absolutely.”"
It would be pretty hard to justify firing a coach after he led the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth. I still think changes could be made on the staff however – maybe a new offensive coordinator to bring some fresh ideas to the mix, instead of Darrell Bevell who seems in absolute mindless lock-step with the Childress version of reality.
Tarvaris Jackson is a little different matter. He may have played well down the stretch, but there’s plenty of reason to justify looking for a different quarterback to take over in 2009. Unfortunately for those who wish T-Jack would just go away, he appears to have the full support of his teammates who were not shy in offering their endorsements (via the Pioneer-Press):
"Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and receivers Bernard Berrian and Bobby Wade emphatically backed Jackson for the ’09 campaign.Said Shiancoe: “I’m not thinking about any other quarterback in the offseason, at all. I feel like he’s the man. He’s proved that he can make plays.”Said Berrian: “You see all the intangibles. He’s got the physical tools. It’s a matter of us helping him out and not leaving him out there on his own.”Said Wade: “There’s no doubt (he should start). He is what we need.”"
Those are meaningful words of support for Jackson, coming from people whose own numbers depend on his play. Others outside the team disagree that Jackson is the man however. Here’s what venerable Star-Trib columnist Patrick Reusse had to say:
"There was a single conclusion to be drawn from Sunday’s drama for the Purple zealots who chose to be rational rather than rage-filled over this sound 26-14 defeat:The Vikings have regained contending status after a bleak decade, and that means the priority for this offseason is more clearly than ever to find a starting quarterback.He can’t be too old, since the Vikings already have one of those in Gus Frerotte, and he must bring talent and confidence, both qualities that Jackson appears to be lacking."
A little harsh from Reusse. I personally don’t think Jackson is “lacking talent” and there are times where he appears to have plenty of confidence. What I think he lacks is the instinct to be a real playmaker like Donovan McNabb, a guy who can take a busted play and make something out of it. The most damning evidence against T-Jack yesterday, to me, was not his bad throwing but his lack of running. What the team needed more than anything was for T-Jack to make a few plays with his feet and get the Eagles off-balance, but Jackson preferred to plant himself in the pocket and, when he got into trouble, throw the ball away rather than run.
I do agree with Reusse that, if the Vikings go looking for a quarterback this off-season, even just to be a back-up or perhaps compete with Jackson in camp, they need to go a lot younger than Gus Frerotte (whose Viking career should now be over). The free agent list doesn’t offer a whole lot of possibilities unless you have a thing for J.P. Losman or Kyle Boller. There’s also the trade route which once looked like it might lead to Donovan McNabb – until Donovan got into the playoffs and won a playoff game, likely saving his job in Philly for at least one more year. Perhaps the Vikes could revisit Sage Rosenfels. If anyone says Brett Favre I’ll sock them.