EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It's back to Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings this week, seemingly by default.
After watching Brooks Bollinger struggle through a 34-0 loss at Green Bay on Sunday, Vikings coach Brad Childress said Monday that "I do feel like coming out of training camp (Jackson) was the best quarterback, so I would say you would probably end up being back with Tarvaris" when Minnesota hosts Oakland this week.
"I kind of erred on the side of caution with Tarvaris," Childress said in explaining his decision to start Bollinger. "It wasn't that he couldn't practice last week, but we started Brooks and it's still my commitment to want to continue to develop (Jackson)."
In his second year out of Alabama State, Jackson has struggled with injuries and poor play this season.
He has missed three games because of a concussion, broken finger and groin strain, and has completed just 46.4 percent of his passes for a 50.6 quarterback rating.
Childress said Monday that he still needs more time this year to evaluate whether Jackson can be the quarterback of the future. With seven games left, time is running out.
"I would like to be able to evaluate him through the course of a string of games ... I think I've said I will know more about him at the end of the year," Childress said. "But by no means do you judge a guy on his first year starting or you probably (would fire) most of the guys that start and play their first year."
The Vikings traded up into the second round to take Jackson in the 2005 draft. He sat for most of his rookie season before starting the final two games.
Nevertheless, Childress declined to bring in a more accomplished veteran for an insurance policy, a strategy that has backfired this season.
Bollinger and Kelly Holcomb have been just as ineffective, though not as mistake-prone, as Jackson. Consequently, the Vikings have the 31st-ranked pass offense in the league and have struggled to take the attention away from their top-ranked running game.
"The biggest thing you are looking for from a quarterback is his decision-making and accuracy and those types of things," Childress said.
The jury is still out on whether Jackson can do those things, mostly because he hasn't been able to stay on the field for a stretch of games.
Childress said he will look at Jackson's injury history "over the body of time, and then you ask yourself is this one particularly bad year? Is it the fact that he is a China doll? Somewhere you have to have some durability and resilience."
So is Childress concerned that Jackson is fragile as a China doll?
"Not from my standpoint," Childress said. "No."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press