Coaches will tell you that quarterbacks get too much credit when a team wins and too much blame when the team loses.
While Vikings coach Brad Childress, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers are convinced that Tarvaris Jackson is the team's quarterback of the future, he is going to have to sell the fans that he can lead this team to the Super Bowl.
The interception he threw against the Packers with about one minute to play Monday, with the team still having a chance to win, didn't help the fans' perceptions.
The two-point conversion attempt in which Jackson threw the ball behind a wide-open Sidney Rice didn't help either.
But unless he gets hurt, Jackson is going to be the quarterback for the Vikings this year. I can't see Childress giving up on him, although I believe that in Gus Frerotte, the team has the NFL's best backup quarterback.
Childress and the other coaches say they believe that inconsistency is Jackson's biggest weakness, and the third-year quarterback agrees.
"We were inconsistent, and there are a lot of areas we can improve in," said Jackson. "There are different things -- take that last throw, I kind of rushed it, I kind of had my timing off."
Jackson had missed two preseason games because of an injured knee, and he wore a brace in the game. But he had no excuses for his performance.
"I was very comfortable heading into the game," he said. "It just took us a while to get going, and we had a bad start. We were stressing the first half but didn't quite get that start, so hopefully we start out fast this week [against Indianapolis]."
Jackson admits he has several areas in which to improve, including his footwork and throwing mechanics.
But he has complete confidence in his ability to be a top NFL quarterback.
"There's 16 games, that's why you play all 16, you can't determine from one game how your season is going to go," he said.
Jackson had a 59 percent passer rating, compared with 115.5 by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and you don't win with that type of performance.
After getting manhandled by the Bears, look for the Colts to be sky-high for this one. No doubt running back Adrian Peterson will have to have a big game if the Vikings are to win, and that won't happen if Jackson doesn't have a good day throwing the ball.Bullpen fails again
The Twins' bullpen lost another game Thursday, this time in the 10th inning, spoiling a great performance by Francisco Liriano. Matt Guerrier and Dennys Reyes combined to give up the winning run to Kansas City.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson wishes he had the answer for the ineffectiveness of the relief pitchers.
"Matty gives up a seeing-eye ground ball and a flare -- what do you do?" Anderson said. "You've just got to try to keep fighting at it and play one day at a time. Hopefully they get it.
"I think sometimes they're just trying too hard. I mean, their stuff is there, it's just now they're making some mistakes. We've got games left and let's hope we can get it going."
Guerrier has been the biggest disappointment after pitching so well earlier this season.
Through July 29, his ERA was 3.23. In 19 games since then, his ERA is 10.80.
"He's been there for us all year, and he'll still be there for us," Anderson said. "He's just going through a little funk, and hopefully we get it right."
Anderson said the bullpen misses setup man Pat Neshek, who has been sidelined since early May because of elbow problems.
"It'd be nice to have him back, but these guys are capable," Anderson said. "It's just a matter of getting their confidence back and throwing up some zeros."Small towns contribute
Glencoe is a town of about 5,500 people 50 miles southwest of the Twin Cities, while nearby Silver Lake has about 800 people. But the combined Glencoe-Silver Lake school district has two representatives on the Gophers football team in Willie VanDeSteeg and Jon Hoese.
"We've got a really small town, but it's got a great football program, and they build on it every year," VanDeSteeg said. "We've been to state the last couple of years since we've been conjoined [as] Glencoe- Silver-Lake. ... We've got a lot of good players still out there that could soon get recruited here."
Hoese, a linebacker, and VanDeSteeg, a defensive end, played together in VanDeSteeg's senior year.
"Hoese is a great player, and he'll earn a scholarship here pretty soon. He's a walk-on but he's a hard-nosed kid," VanDeSteeg said. "He's a fully experienced special teams player, and that's what we really look forward to."
A year ago, VanDeSteeg played most of the year with an injured wrist.
"My health is great -- I feel great, I'm helping this team, the defense is doing really well right now," he said, adding praise for defensive coordinator Ted Roof. "Coach Roof has got a great game plan every week, and we're just going out and executing and playing football."Jottings
Unless ticket sales pick up in a hurry for the Sept. 21 Carolina game, with more than 6,000 tickets left, the Vikings could have their first blackout since the Wilf family took over the team. Several other NFL teams already have had blackouts and the Packers-Lions game at Detroit on Sunday might be one of them.
Members of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and its staff will be touring Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis today to get some idea on what it will take to build a football stadium like the one built for the Colts. They are scheduled to meet with several stadium officials starting at 10 a.m. The commission is working with the Vikings ownership to get a new football stadium built on the Metrodome site.
Twins Sports, Inc. President Jerry Bell, who has been involved in the building of three stadiums -- the Metrodome, Dolphin Stadium in Miami and the new Twins ballpark -- said he was very impressed with the new Gophers stadium after making a tour this week.
"They are going to have a great stadium," he said.
Dave St. Peter, president of the Twins, says he expects a sellout for the Sept. 23-25 White Sox series that could determine the division title. ... Rob Antony, Twins assistant general manager, said he expects Alexi Casilla and Carlos Gomez to play winter ball. ... Jake Mauer, brother of Twins catcher Joe Mauer, did a great job managing the Fort Myers Gulf Coast team to a wild-card playoff spot, and Twins farm director Jim Rantz sees young Mauer moving up in the managerial system in the future. He will be back managing the Gulf Coast team. Rantz expects Stan Cliburn to return as the Class AAA Rochester manager and sees no changes in managers of Twins farm teams. ... Nate Hanson and Kyle Carr, two former Gophers who were drafted by the Twins, will take part in the Twins' Instructional League. Rantz sees a good future for former Gophers pitcher Cole DeVries, who was 10-9 with a 2.93 record for Fort Myers. ... Baseball Hall of Famer Paul Molitor will be one of the instructors in the Instructional League.