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With Jackson sidelined, Holcomb and Bollinger spilt snaps

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Tarvaris Jackson hobbled straight-legged off the field after watching all of practice on Wednesday and tried to stay positive.

"It felt a little better," the Minnesota Vikings quarterback said when asked about his injured groin. "It's day to day."

As much as Jackson is trying to remain hopeful, the Vikings appear to be making other plans for Sunday's game at Kansas City. Jackson did not practice Wednesday and veteran Kelly Holcomb could be leapfrogging incumbent backup Brooks Bollinger on the depth chart.

Coach Brad Childress hinted he has decided who will play against the Chiefs, but said he would not divulge that until later in the week.

"I hate to be evasive," Childress said with a wry grin. "But I'm evasive."

Childress, of course, doesn't want to tip his hand too early and make things easy on Chiefs coach Herm Edwards. He said he would divide the snaps in practice between Holcomb and Bollinger and wait to see if Jackson's groin felt better toward the end of the week.

Even if it does, a week on the sidelines might do the young Jackson some good after a disastrous game against Detroit on Sunday. The second-year player looked flustered all afternoon, throwing four interceptions before limping off the field in overtime of a 20-17 loss.

But Jackson says that performance is exactly why he wants to play this week.

"Yeah, especially after the game I played Sunday," Jackson said. "I want to get back out there again this week and just try to correct some things and get better."

Bollinger has been the No. 2 quarterback since training camp opened, but the Vikings traded for the veteran Holcomb just before the start of the regular season to get more experience behind Jackson.

Holcomb, in his 12th season, played in the final preseason game against Dallas and has been rushing to digest the playbook and offensive philosophies in hopes of getting a chance to play this season.

While not as mobile as Bollinger, Holcomb has a much stronger arm and more than double the career starts (21 to 9). He also played in a similar offensive system in Philadelphia, so Childress thinks the transition has been smooth.

"I have seen him develop, and really it was developing the small things, whether it be a snap count or how we do a motion or how we call something, but systematically it's close to what he has done," Childress said.

So does Holcomb think he's ready to step in if needed?

"Oh, there's no doubt," he said. "You never know what's going to happen in this league. If it happens, it happens, but you have to be prepared to play and you have to go out there and show people that you can produce."

When Jackson went down on Sunday in Detroit, Bollinger was rushed into duty. He helped move the Vikings to the 50-yard line before fumbling a snap from Matt Birk. The Lions recovered, which led to a field goal and their first victory over the Vikings in 11 tries.

Bollinger isn't sure if the gaffe cost him his spot on the depth chart. But he'll find out soon enough.

"I'm just coming in preparing the way that I always do, and honestly I don't really know what's going to happen," Bollinger said. "But I know, as you saw last week, you have to be prepared for any situation."

No matter who plays this week in Kansas City, Childress made clear he still sees Jackson as the starter when he's healthy. Childress likes Jackson's work habits and his strong arm, and said he did not regret awarding him the starting job in training camp.

"The one thing you can't give somebody is experience," Childress said. "But you know if a guy has got skills and ability and the mental prowess to be able to play the position; and the competitive grit to play the position. There is no doubt in my mind he is going to be successful in this league."

Jackson isn't letting one bad game, and one gimpy groin muscle, get him down.

"That's part of your job and you've got to have a short memory because you've got 10 other guys depending on you and you've got your whole team depending on you, really," Jackson said. "You don't want to lose your confidence just because you had a bad game. But at the same time you want to make better decisions."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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