Tarvaris Jackson heard the boos. He admitted to being frustrated. He failed to connect on his first six pass attempts.
And yet nothing has changed when it comes to his standing as the Vikings' No. 2 quarterback behind Brett Favre. Coach Brad Childress made that clear late Thursday night after his team finished the preseason with a 31-24 victory over Denver at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.
Vikings fans won't be happy to hear this and they certainly weren't happy with Jackson's performance. He heard plenty of boos Thursday, including a loud chorus of them after his first-quarter pass to the far sideline from the Vikings 22 yard line was nearly picked off by Broncos cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson. Thompson could have walked into the end zone if he had caught the ball.
"Yeah, it was rough," Jackson said. "You don’t want to start 0-for-6, but it is what it is. It happened, it’s over with and we go on.”
The Vikings sat the majority of their starters Thursday tonight, knowing that in a week they will open the regular season with Favre as their quarterback in New Orleans. Jackson admitted he heard the boos but he wasn't about to admit they bothered him.
“Yeah, I hear it. It is what it is," he said. "I’ve got to a point now where of course you want to play for the fans. But at the same time I’m playing for my teammates, I’m playing for myself, my family. Whatever they do, they do it. Regardless of the situation if they are going to boo they boo. I can’t do nothing about it. ... This is year five [for Jackson]. Maybe my rookie year, second or third year I would have gotten mad. It’s gotten to a point now where I don’t even care.”
That clearly was frustration on Jackson's part and who could blame him? He has reason to be upset. Jackson finished Thursday 2-for-8 for 2 yards with a 39.6 passer rating. He finished the preseason 12 of 26 for 60 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Rookie Joe Webb, who seemingly could do no wrong judging by the reaction of Vikings fans to his second-half performance, passed for 100 yards and had a touchdown, an interception and a 92.1 passer rating on Thursday alone.
I wrote about this for the morning paper, but the Vikings are going to have some tough choices to make when it comes to what to do at the quarterback position as they cut down to the 53-man roster by 5 p.m. Saturday. Do they keep Favre, Jackson, Sage Rosenfels and Webb?
That appears to be a possibility. The popular opinion seems to be that Jackson should be the odd man out but that isn't going to happen with Childress having final say on the roster.
The Vikings could look to trade Rosenfels, who completed only one of four passes for 10 yards and had a 39.6 rating on Thursday, but that would mean having Jackson as Favre's top backup and then the inexperienced and raw Webb behind him.
Rosenfels had an impressive preseason and entered Thursday having completed 30 of 47 passes for 392 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Rosenfels said all he can do is "wait and see what happens."
"There always things you wish you could do better," he said. "The full body, all of the plays, all of the pass plays and all of the plays from the preseason, I'm pretty happy with it. There's not much more I could have done. ... For the most part I thought my body of work was pretty good and it's up to the decision-makers right now."
Childress knows this won't be easy.
"It would be hard to keep four and not keep another good football player off your roster," he said. "That’s where we are right now with numbers.”