The Vikings have five quarterbacks on their roster: Tarvaris Jackson, Gus Frerotte, Brooks Bollinger, John David Booty and Kyle Wright.

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is impressed with how hard all five have worked this offseason.

"We have great competition going on there, and they all look better because of how well the guys are beginning to know the system, where the ins and outs are and going where they need to with the ball," Bevell said.

"I think they're doing a great job. They've come in, they've worked hard, they've picked up the system well and it's just a matter of getting reps for them right now, with the number of quarterbacks we have."

Bollinger played in five games last year, starting one. Little has been said about Bollinger's chances when it comes to making the team this fall, but Bevell has a lot of respect for the 28-year-old North Dakota native.

"Bollinger is the ultimate professional," said Bevell, who like Bollinger won a Rose Bowl for Wisconsin. "He competes hard every opportunity he gets and he's going to compete all the way to the end, and the chips will fall where they may."

Most in the media believe that the three quarterbacks who will survive will be Jackson, Frerotte and Booty. Frerotte was signed as a free agent this offseason, and Booty was a fifth-round choice in this year's NFL draft out of Southern California.

But Bevell said those decisions won't be made until training camp.

"You just have to let it play out," Bevell said. "[Bollinger] will fight all the way to the end and we'll see what happens."

Bevell is impressed with Fre- rotte, who is entering his 15th NFL season and second stint with the Vikings.

"He's a true professional. He comes in and picks up the system quickly, goes where he's supposed to with the ball, has the answers, throws a nice ball, he's accurate, he has the ability to move around a little bit," Bevell said. "You can see why he's won all those games.

"He's got years of experience on him, which will help Tarvaris and the young guys. But also, if we need him to, he can step right in and he'll perform well."

As for Jackson, the consensus is that the 25-year-old starter has shown great improvement.

"He's light years better right now, but it's in practice," Bevell said. "You have to be able to carry it over to the field, so we've got another process of training camp, and then we'll take it to the field.

"I see improvement in every area, whether it's the mental part, whether it's his leadership skills or how he's carrying himself, where he's going with the ball -- I see improvement everywhere."

If you want my opinion, the presence of a veteran quarterback such as Brad Johnson was beneficial for the young quarterbacks in past seasons. Frerotte will do the same for Jackson and the other QBs.


Steve LaCroix, Vikings vice president of sales and marketing, said the team expects to renew about 90 percent of its season tickets from last year and reach a total of some 55,000, below the 61,000 that were sold during the Randy Moss days. However, they have sold 3,000 new season tickets. The Vikings will have a number of five-game packages that go on sale Tuesday. The Vikings have a two-game package consisting of the Packers and Seahawks games, with some 500 already sold. LaCroix said high-definition television has become so good that it has impeded the selling of season tickets.

While Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough hasn't recently talked to team doctors about Mark Parrish, who was knocked out of the playoff series against Colorado because of a concussion suffered in Game 1, Risebrough expects Parrish to be healthy this upcoming season.

New San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan coached the Houston Aeros -- the Wild's American Hockey League affiliate -- from 2001 to '05, including winning the Calder Cup in 2003. McLellan was an assistant coach on the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings this past season.

Some of the limited partners in the Wild's old ownership group have dropped out, with the primary owners now Craig Leipold and Phil Falcone. Former owner Bob Naegele remains a limited partner. Any new owners have to be approved by the NHL.

Former Gophers and Hill-Murray baseball player Robb Quinlan has been getting a chance to play with the Angels recently. He entered Saturday batting .423 (11-for-26) with two RBI and three runs scored in his previous 10 games.

It was almost the start of baseball spring training camp before ex-Twins righthander Kyle Lohse got a major league contract this year, but he improved to 8-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 88 2/3 innings for St. Louis after he threw eight strong innings against Philadelphia in a 3-2 victory Saturday -- this after the Phillies scored 20 runs on the Cardinals the day before. Lohse was signed to a one-year contract for $4.25 million.

The Gophers men's basketball team has one commitment -- Royce White of Hopkins -- and have only two or three scholarships available for the 2009-10 freshman class. White was recently rated a five-star player and No. 8 in the 2009-10 class by White will attend Vince Carter's camp in Orlando to held June 25-28 for the top 20 high school wing players in the country, as well as the LeBron James skills academy July 5-9 in Akron, Ohio, which attracts the top 80 players in the country. White also attended James' camp last year. And he was invited to the NBA camp for the top 100 players but had to turn the invitation down because of conflicts. Hopkins' Trent Lockett was rated a four-star player and 98th overall in that 2009-10 class. No doubt the Gophers are hot after Cooper's Rodney Williams, who is being recruited by schools such as Kansas and Connecticut. Williams was rated a four-star player and 28th in the 2009-10 class. ... The Gophers will have three seniors next season: 6-9 center Jonathan Williams, whom big things are expected of this season, and guards Travis Busch and Jamal Abu-Shamala.

The word from Pittsburgh Steelers minicamp is that former Gophers standout Gary Russell could win a starting job at running back, with former Viking Mewelde Moore sharing playing time. Willie Parker broke his leg late last season, and the Steelers want to cut back his workload.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio described former Vikings first-round pick Troy Williamson to the Associated Press as "a heck of a sixth-round pick. He's really had a good offseason for us. Obviously, we got him here with lowered expectations. He can just come in here and play football and have fun." With the Vikings for three seasons, Williamson caught three touchdown passes in 39 games.

The Seahawks could end up starting former Gophers wide receiver Logan Payne as well as tight end John Carlson, a second-round pick from Notre Dame and Litchfield, Minn. Starting receiver Bobby Engram might hold out, and Deion Branch is out until September after knee surgery. Another Seattle receiver is ex-Viking Nate Burleson, who caught 50 passes for 694 yards and nine touchdowns last year.

Eleanor Augustin was a great sports fan, the mother of one of the Twin Cities' most popular and effective sports writers, Mike Augustin of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She died Friday in St. Cloud at age 103. Mike Augustin worked at the Pioneer Press from 1969 to '97, when he died at the young age of 57.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast twice a week at