There have been two reports in recent days — one by ESPN and another by ProFootballTalk – that there are a faction of players in the Vikings locker room who would prefer to see Tarvaris Jackson starting at quarterback instead of Brett Favre. Neither story cited any particular player, but Jackson is definitely popular among many of his teammates.
“I’ve seen the same reports that you’ve seen,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said this afternoon. “Those are opinions. It’s hard to shoot holes in an opinion. An opinion is just that, it’s an opinion. So, I certainly don’t see anything that looks close to that.”
Running back Adrian Peterson, who is friends with Jackson, said he hadn’t seen or heard those reports. ”That’s something new to me,” Peterson said. “I’m not sensing nothing like that at all. I don’t know where that came from. That’s news to me.”
There was no question Jackson was disappointed to have lost his chance to compete with Sage Rosenfels for the starting job when Favre was signed last Tuesday, and certainly some of Jackson’s teammates have sympathized with him. However, if the Vikings win with Favre at quarterback no one is going to be complaining about this move.
“I think all of them will cite business issues,” Childress said when asked about the players. “Business is business and whether they like it or not that’s the way it is. As I told Tarvaris, ‘I don’t expect you to like it.’ As Tarvaris did, he’s a highly competitive guy, he came back and played very well [against Kansas City last Friday]. That benefits him, that benefits us. There is no downside to that. I don’t expect those guys to like it. I expect them to deal with it and go forward and by and large that’s exactly what has happened.”
Said Peterson: The key word [in this situation] is professional and that’s how you’ve got to handle it. Guys come in competing for jobs each year. If there was a running back they brought in this year that was being more productive than me or whatnot, then I’m sure I would be sitting on the bench. That’s what it’s all about. It’s business and you have to approach it with that mindset.”
Childress even shared a story about himself as a teenager as an example of the business is business philosophy. ”I got fired from a job at an apartment complex one time,” he said. “My dad was a very minimal partner in it. I was a lifeguard and I decided to go over and have a little party at the clubhouse and got fired. The man that was the majority owner of the place fired me. I was in tears. He said, ‘Hey, it’s nothing personal, Brad, Harry [Brad's dad]. Business is business and friends are friends. So business is business.”
Childress also made it clear he’s glad his players are supporting Jackson.
“I think it’s tremendous that guys feel that way about their teammates,” he said. “We don’t live in a vacuum certainly. Those guys don’t sit at their stalls and not get to know each other. That’s part of the dynamic. And people come and go and that’s part of the dynamic, too. That’s part of this deal, too. Does anybody like it? No. I told you guys before, that’s the hardest job when you have to tell people their dream is done. But it is a dynamic that’s real.”
Peterson knows this and says he will continue to support Jackson as a friend. ”Oh yeah. Definitely,” he said. “That doesn’t change anything now that Brett’s starting now. I still support him. Keep his head up. As a professional player, he’ll handle it the best way.”