Our own Judd Zulgad caught up this week with Tarvaris Jackson, a Vikings QB for five years (but almost certainly not a sixth). Jackson had some interesting comments, and we're going to run them through the truth wringer, PolitiFact-style. Sure, some of these truths will be subjective. But that won't stop us from grading his statements on a 1-10 scale (1 being least true, 10 being, like, totally true).


Jackson said: "It's probably time for a change. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play up here the last five years. ... [But] I'm not trying to be a backup. I'm trying to go somewhere where I have a chance, and I don't feel like I'd get that chance here. It's time to move on. No hard feelings or anything. It's a business."

Truth meter: 9. This is an accurate and self-aware statement. No quibbles. He only loses a smidgen for the "no hard feelings" part. Of course there are hard feelings. We'll get to those in a bit.

Jackson said: "Since Day 1, I don't really think I was really welcome here anyways, because nobody really knew who I was, being from a smaller school. A lot more things probably play into it, too. It's just the way things are. I can't help that."

Truth meter: 7. Again, pretty self-aware. But the small-school thing wasn't the defining factor. We wondered, too, if he was wading into some controversial territory -- putting all the cards on the table -- with the "a lot more things probably play into it, too" comment. We would have loved to hear him say he wasn't embraced here because he was a black QB. That would have opened up a GIANT can of worms and perhaps even fostered an interesting inward look from fans. But Judd dutifully asked the follow-up question, and Tarvaris didn't go there.

Jackson said: "Just the way things happened, like the way I was thrown into there, the way where it was me or Brett [Favre] or all this stuff. Just a lot of different things played into it that kind of soured our relationship. Fans are going to be fans."

Truth meter: 4. Some things about the Jackson era weren't entirely fair to him, including the 2009 saga of "will Brett Favre arrive or not?" But much of that was brought on by Tarvaris himself. If he's now looking for an opportunity to be a starter, he had plenty of them in his five years here. You can't complain about being thrown into the fire on one hand, and complain about being replaced on the other hand. His best and most fair chance probably came in 2008, when he was in his third year. He put up his best overall numbers, including a 95.4 passer rating, but the things that haunted him throughout his career were still very prevalent in that season: he had a hard time staying healthy, and even when he got on a little roll, you always had a bad feeling it could all come crashing down because of a dumb mistake. The playoff game against the Eagles sealed his fate. It's not a good idea to jump in the air and throw the ball in mid-leap. It's even worse when that becomes your patented move.

Jackson said of his relationship with Brad Childress, to whom he has not spoken since the coach was fired: "It was up and down. It was kind of a weird relationship. I felt like he was backing me, but sometimes it was kind of hard to think that. He just was doing his job the way he felt like he had to do it. Even some of the things I didn't like that he did, I just had to respect that if he's the head coach and if you're going to do it, you're going to do it your way."

Truth meter: 7. The public sees a stubborn resolve Childress had to make Jackson into a starting QB -- an attitude that ultimately helped get Childress fired. But we can see this one from Jackson's point of view, particularly when it came to the secret dance to get Favre in 2009. While it's true that Jackson's uneven performance in his first three years prompted the move to get Favre, it's also true that the coach sent a pretty strange message by suddenly switching gears and showing up with a new QB in his SUV in the middle of the preseason.

Jackson said: "This reminds me of me transferring from Arkansas to Alabama State. Like [I have a] sour taste left in my mouth. It really, really motivated me to try to get to the NFL, and it really motivated me to try to be the best. I think this situation, the ways things happened here, it adds a lot of fuel to the fire."

Truth meter: 5. This might be our least favorite quote of the entire story because it seems to attempt to pass the blame almost 100 percent for how things went down here. Let's not forget: Jackson started 17 total games in 2007 and 2008. If he had shown more in those 17 starts -- again, the decent 2008 numbers say one thing, the eyeballs said another -- he might still be the starter today. Was there a lot of pressure on him from day 1, being a relatively unknown QB from a small school, being a guy a new coach traded up to get? Sure. But plenty of QBs have come into higher-pressure situations and thrived. If he wants to use his five years here as motivation, that's good for him. But we can only hope he looks at it on a whole and from a standpoint of, "I blew that chance, I don't want to blow another one," and not just that he got a raw deal and wants a fresh start.

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