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Andy Behrens

Exhibitionist: Rosenfels takes first round in Vikes QB battle

Andy Behrens
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The Colts have not always been kind to Sage Rosenfels(notes). For example, when they sent him pinwheeling through the air last October and returned his fumble for a touchdown, that was not kind.

But in Minnesota's preseason opener, the Colts rarely blitzed and they generously sat their starting secondary against Rosenfels. He responded with a 10-for-13, 91-yard performance, orchestrating two long scoring drives. Rosenfels connected with tight end Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) four times for 55 yards, then handed a 10-0 lead over to Tarvaris Jackson(notes).

In Jackson's five series, surrounded by third-string talent, he led the Vikings offense to three punts and two field goal attempts (one successful). He was just 7-for-15 through the air. He finished with 39 passing yards and a QB rating of 53.5.

Any reasonable observer would have to score the first round of that position battle as a clear victory for Rosenfels. (Highlights here via NFL.com. Note the fourth down pass to Shiancoe). Brad Childress was somewhat reserved in his assessment, but little needed to be said:

"I thought [Rosenfels] had a decent rhythm," Childress said. "I thought he knew where he was looking. He got the football up the field, checked it down a little bit, had a good command."

Jackson will get the start against Kansas City this Friday. If he's ineffective again – and if Rosenfels produces a solid line against back-up Chiefs – the battle could effectively end. Whoever directs the Vikings' offense this season will obviously have a few playmakers at his disposal. Rosenfels has enough arm to take advantage of the talents of Bernard Berrian(notes), Sidney Rice(notes) and rookie Percy Harvin(notes), and he obviously has a nice rapport with Shiancoe. His history of intermittent recklessness is well known, too. Minnesota opens the regular season against Cleveland, Detroit and San Francisco, so the Vikings' starting QB will have immediate fantasy relevance.

Rosenfels tweaked an ankle in his first series against the Colts, but he doesn't seem particularly troubled by the tweaking: "I'll be all right and be ready for next week."

If Jackson isn't all right and ready on Friday, he'll get the clipboard in September.

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