NFL Nation: Joe Mauer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A few of you have noted I got a little aggressive in Friday evening's post on the Minnesota Vikings' decision to keep Tarvaris Jackson as their No. 2 quarterback and trade Sage Rosenfels to the New York Giants. I don't take back any of it, but I do think it's fair to allow coach Brad Childress to close the book on the topic.

Childress addressed the trade in his opening comments of a Sunday news conference and then took a couple questions before shutting down the discussion. In short, he reiterated that Jackson had outperformed Rosenfels in practice and downplayed its significance on the overall bearing of the team; he compared the backup quarterback to "the catcher that plays behind Joe Mauer," the Minnesota Twins' reigning MVP.

So here are Childress' verbatim comments on the issue, for those who want to read his extended explanation. After that, we move on. Promise.

Opening statement:

I think I've consistently stated to you guys the development that I've seen within Tarvaris and the camp that he had. I think he's probably positioned himself as I see it with his progress in the system, with his working knowledge, with his athleticism, to give us the best chance to win should Brett [Favre] get hurt.

But once again, I would talk about that in the same light and probably moreso than the catcher that plays behind Joe Mauer. I know Mauer has missed games. I don't think you've seen Favre miss that many. I know it's always the provocative thing to talk about the second quarterback on the roster, but maybe history has a chance to change. I doubt it. Tarvaris gives us the best chance to win though.

Sage seemed to have more productive preseason than Tarvaris. What did Tarvaris show?

That's a good question. I think you have to understand that the guy that started with the first group [Jackson] got to play eight snaps in the St. Louis game. The second guy [Rosenfels] got to play, I think he had 36 attempts. Am I right about that? Eight snaps, 36 snaps. The guys that they played with, the guys that he played with. It's a completely different set of circumstances.

I would hope that if Tarvaris was in there going with the two's that he would have been able to light it up the same way, to throw it to a guy on the post with nobody covering him. One-on-one is usually your best matchup, but the one where Joe Webb had with Javon [Walker] where the corner fell down, one on zero, that's better than anything you can ever imagine.

I don't profess to say that every situation was that situation. It's apples and oranges. You earn those snaps on the merit of how you practice and what you do on the merit of those practices. It's not just what it seems like. Those guys are graded every day. We keep track of every snap they take. We take copious notes on catches, drops and completions. He gives us the best chance. Did Sage progress? He absolutely did in a year, to the point where he's worth a fifth-round draft pick to leave. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ...

What's your confidence level if something were to happen to Brett?

I'm not going to deal in hypotheticals. I'm done with the backup quarterback. I'm done with it. If that's all you've got to write, good Lord. We're talking about the two highest scoring offenses playing in the league last year. Let's talk about the game instead of Joe Mauer's backup.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune report that Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield did not attend Tuesday's voluntary organized team activity.

Normally, you can't get too excited when a player skips a voluntary workout. But the absence comes immediately after Winfield missed the Vikings' mandatory minicamp to attend the funeral of a close friend's mother last weekend. Coach Brad Childress acknowledged Winfield was at the funeral but would not discuss whether the absence was excused.

Childress also made clear that all veterans had been "invited" to attend this week's OTAs. It's well-known that Winfield is entering the final year of his contract and has yet to reach an agreement on an extension. Are the two issues connected? Winfield deserves the benefit of an opportunity to explain before we jump to any conclusions. But the evidence, at least, is mounting.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty joked Tuesday that he will sign an executive order for Twins catcher Joe Mauer to play quarterback for the Vikings in light of the indecision of retired quarterback Brett Favre. It's at the beginning of the video here. (Mauer once turned down a scholarship to play quarterback at Florida State.)
  • Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press checks in with former Green Bay offensive lineman Jerry Kramer.
  • Green Bay safety Atari Bigby on the effect of his ankle injury last season: "Every step hurt. Every step. Walking around, not even on the field -- I mean, just like walking in the mall, walking from my couch to the bathroom." Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette traces Bigby's comeback.
  • Former Chicago safety Mike Brown will visit Kansas City, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. It's believed to be Brown's first free-agent visit since the Bears told him this winter that they did not plan to re-sign him.
  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz on the best golf advice he's ever received: "Go out, and when you hit a good shot, enjoy it and be happy. And when you hit a bad shot, tell yourself, 'You know, I'm really not that good,' because if you think that you're good, every bad shot you hit, you're going to get frustrated." Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press reports.
  • Will the Pontiac Silverdome be a prop in a future Steven Spielberg movie? Kathleen Gray of the Free Press looks into it.

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