Vikings Hoping Quarterback Jackson Future Is Now

By Joe Booker
Updated: May 10, 2006

TEXAS—Will former Alabama State quarterback Tarvaris Jackson be the next Steve McNair? The Minnesota Vikings think he will. Jackson, like McNair played in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Jackson was picked by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the NFL draft. He was the first player from a 1-AA college picked. He was picked behind Vincent Young, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler and Kellen Clemens.

The Vikings thought so much of him that they traded up to the bottom of the second round to get him. The Vikings had planned on taking Jackson later in the draft, but after reading reports that other teams were interested in him, they traded up with the Steelers to get him.

The Vikings see Jackson as the quarterback of the future. Brad Johnson, the Vikings starter is 38 years old and backup McMahon is 3-11 as an NFL starter. With this in mind the Vikings are hoping that Jackson will be ready sooner than later. They traded long time starter Donta Culpepper to the Dolphins.

Jackson is the third highest quarterback selected from the Southwestern Athletic Conference behind Doug Williams (Grambling) and Steve McNair (Alcorn).

“This was a great selection by the Vikings, “said Charlie Coe, Jackson’s coach at Alabama State. “He’s being a tremendous asset to not only Alabama State University and the football program, but to the Southwestern Athletic Conference and all HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges). He’ll be a tremendous quarterback at the next level.”

“We talked to enough general managers and player personnel directors to know that he was wanted,” said Coe. . “They were saying the fourth round or the third round, but when they started working him out individually, his stock rose.”

“He’s grown tremendously as a player and person,” Coe Said. “I’m just glad I was able to play a significant part as his coach at Alabama State,” Coe Said.


Replacing Jackson will not be easy. He passed for 7, 849 yards and 67 touchdowns in his three year career at Alabama State. He rushed for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was 24-12 as a starter and guided Alabama State to SWAC championship in 2004 and to the title game on another occasion.

As a senior at Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama, the 6-2, 226 pound Jackson was ranked the 25th best prospect in the state of Alabama He chose Arkansas over Alabama, LSU and West Virginia, but left after his freshman year, because he felt he would not become a starter.

He was an instant hero back home in Alabama. His first year at Alabama State he connected on 160 of 316 passes for 2, 342 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Southern, Prairie View and Texas Southern are three SWAC schools that are happy to see Jackson gone. He threw for 345 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 45-35 win over Southern. He threw for 323 yards and 2 touchdowns to defeat Texas Southern and 245 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 34-13 win over Prairie View.

Former Miami Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman believes Jackson has the tools to develop into an NFL starter.

“I’ve watched some tape on him, and he’s a very good athlete, maybe with the strongest arm in the draft,” Spielman said. “He can move around. This is a kid with a lot of upside potential and a lot of raw talent “