Tarvaris Jackson
Tarvaris Jackson at the Vikings 2008 Training Camp.
No. 7     Buffalo Bills
Personal information
Date of birth: (1983-04-21) April 21, 1983 (age 36)
Place of birth: Montgomery, Alabama
High School: Montgomery (AL) Lanier
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
College: Alabama State
NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 2 / Pick: 64
Debuted in 2006 for the Minnesota Vikings
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
  • NFL FedEx Air Player of the Week
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2012
TDINT     38–35
Passing yards     7,075
QB Rating     77.7
Stats at

Tarvaris DeAndre Jackson (born April 21, 1983) is an American football quarterback for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He has also played as a starter for the Seattle Seahawks. He played college football at Alabama State University.

Professional careerEdit

2006 NFL DraftEdit

The Vikings scouting and personnel had reportedly been watching him closely in secret over his senior season, particularly liking his performance in the East-West Shrine Game. They were also impressed by his workout at the scouting combine (among the top-5 quarterbacks in ball speed and 40 yard dash). Several NFL teams including the Vikings had arranged secret workouts with him too. Jackson was selected with the last pick in the 2nd round (64th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft, while he was projected to go much later in the 4th-7th rounds. The Vikings traded two 3rd round picks to get the 2nd round pick with which they drafted Jackson, fearing he may get picked sooner than anticipated. Jackson's early selection caused some surprise as he was the 5th quarterback taken and the 1st Division I-AA player selected (the last I-AA quarterback drafted was Spergon Wynn in 2000). He was also the first quarterback from Alabama State to be drafted into the NFL since Ricky Jones in 1992. Even Jackson was surprised by the pick saying, "I was more focused on [getting drafted in] the third round and even that was stretching it".[1] Most pre-draft publications did not even have him listed as one of the top 10 eligible quarterbacks, while he was the 5th selected. On 26 July 2006, Jackson signed a four-year deal with Minnesota, including a $1 million signing bonus.[2]

Vikings coach Brad Childress was quoted days before the draft as saying he was interested in finding a "developmental guy", a "diamond in the rough" quarterback of the future, raw talent he could teach a system.[3] Both new coach Childress and Vikings former quarterback Brad Johnson have had a lot of success developing quarterbacks in the past - A.J. Feeley and Donovan McNabb owe a lot of their success to Childress, and Chris Simms says Brad Johnson was the best tutor he's ever had. Jackson's quarterback coach at Alabama State, Reggie Barlow, played wide receiver with Brad Johnson at Tampa Bay so Tarvaris had been looking forward to learning from him. Other Vikings coaches have experience developing quarterbacks too. Vikings Quarterbacks Coach Kevin Rogers had developed Donovan McNabb in college. And Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell had spent time as Quarterbacks Coach to Brett Favre too. The use of two 3rd round picks showed how much they felt Tarvaris was the guy they wanted to use their skills to develop.

The day after the draft Vikings coach Childress was quoted by the St. Paul Pioneer Press as saying: "I think you judge quarterbacks a little bit differently...When you see what you want at the quarterback position, you need to go get it. And that's exactly what I see with Tarvaris Jackson is a guy that's a piece of clay, that has all the skills in terms of, No. 1, what's he look like throwing the football?...He's got a great throwing motion; he's athletic. He has all those things that we're looking for, and he's wired right. That's important for a quarterback. I think he's a flatline guy. I think he's a sponge. You're talking about a guy that never had a coach there as a quarterback coach. So what can he do with coaching?"[4] Jackson's agent, Joel Segal, said: "After the draft, there were two clubs that expressed disappointment and were mad they didn't get him. They were planning to take (Jackson) very high in the third round, and were lamenting the fact that the Vikings beat them".

Pre-draft measureables
Wt 40y 20ss 3-cone Vert BP Wonderlic
226 lb* 4.75s*[5] 4.38s* 7.40s* 3112"* 22*[6] 19 [7]

(* represents NFL Combine)

Minnesota VikingsEdit

2006 seasonEdit

Tarvaris Jackson's 2006 pre-season passer rating was 106.1, 15th in the league out of 110 quarterbacks who performed. Only one quarterback from his draft class (Jay Cutler) did better. He also showed great scrambling skills averaging 11.3 yards in rushing (the only Viking other than Brad Johnson to average more than 3.3 yards in rushing). ESPN analyst Mike Tirico referred to Jackson as a right-handed Michael Vick. His pre-season performance was enough to surpass 2nd and 3rd string QBs Mike McMahon and J.T. O'Sullivan on the depth chart. After the pre-season, McMahon and O'Sullivan were cut from the team and Brooks Bollinger was brought in, whom Jackson then competed against for the number two spot.

On September 25, 2006, Tarvaris Jackson had minor knee surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee. He returned to limited practice after two weeks, and then came back to play his first NFL game with the Vikings in week 13 against the Chicago Bears[8] in the fourth quarter after Johnson was benched for throwing four interceptions and backup QB Brooks Bollinger was injured. Jackson completed three of his four passes before fumbling the ball to Chicago and the Bears then ran the clock out. Following this game when Jackson was asked if he was ready to take over as starter he said "Not really...We still have a chance to make the playoffs, so we're still trying to do that. So it's obvious that Brad is still our quarterback so we can stay on that."[9]

Two weeks later in week 15, Johnson started the game but was benched in the fourth quarter when the Vikings had been underperforming the entire game losing by a score of 26-7 at the time Jackson went in late in the third quarter against the New York Jets. Although Johnson had not thrown an interception that game and had a respectable passer rating of 94.2 in the game, the Minnesota fans jeered Johnson throughout the game and chanted "We want Jackson!" at numerous points because Johnson had only thrown 9 touchdowns all season (in 14 games) and had a career worst 71.9 passer rating throughout the season. Jackson received a standing ovation as he trotted out onto the field. A landmark in Jackson's career happened that game when Jackson completed his first touchdown pass to Mewelde Moore. Jackson threw 177 yards, a TD, and ran three times for 20 yards while the Jets protected their large lead. He also threw an interception in the red zone.

Jackson was named the starting quarterback for Minnesota towards the end of his rookie season. Jackson's first game was a week 16 night game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Game conditions were very poor. A steady rain fell throughout the evening and the kickoff temperature was only 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The Vikings lost by a score of 9-7 with the only Vikings score coming from an interception for a touchdown by defensive back Fred Smoot. The offense set a franchise low record of only three first downs the whole game, did not get close enough to the end zone to even attempt a field goal, and only had 27 passing yards gained against the NFL's 19th ranked defense (ranked 26th against the pass). Jackson had a passer rating of 36.5, had a 50% completion rate (10-20 for 50 yards), 1 interception, and a fumble. Packers quarterback Brett Favre only managed a slightly better 52% completion rate (26-50) and threw 2 interceptions. He did throw for 285 yards, though, but could not find the end zone either. Despite the performance's lack of "merit" (according to Childress), number 7 out of Alabama State remained the starter for the rest of the regular season.

2007 seasonEdit

Jackson did not live up to the Vikings' expectations in 2007 despite finishing 8-4 as a starter. Jackson had 9 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with a 159 yards per game, causing the Vikings to have the second-worst passing offense in the NFL. His 70.8 passer rating was 28th among NFL quarterbacks. Jackson missed three games because of injuries, which included a strained groin, a concussion and a fractured index finger. The Vikings failed to make the playoffs. Analysts put the Vikings' 8-8 record on the successful running of Chester Taylor and rookie Adrian Peterson, which has proven to take the pressure off of Jackson and the defense.

Later in the season, opponents decided to focus all their defensive efforts on stopping Peterson and the Vikings running game while daring Jackson to beat them in the passing game. The Washington Redskins successfully utilized five defensive lineman or four linebackers against the Vikings, leaving only two or three defensive backs in pass coverage.[10][11] And the 49ers blitzed their cornerbacks 20 percent of the time instead of covering receivers with them.[12][13] On the season's last game against the Broncos Jackson led the Vikings to two fourth quarter drives to tie the game and send it into overtime. In overtime Jackson fumbled on the second play of overtime and the Vikings lost the game. Jackson showed slow improvement over the season: he played a large role when the Vikings went on a five-game winning streak in November, but also showed his inexperience in several ill-judged interception plays, jump passes, and turnovers. After the season, Childress would not say if Tarvaris Jackson would be the starter in 2008, explaining that he wanted to "evaluate the total body of work" first.[14]

2008 seasonEdit

There was a lot of media coverage on Jackson the summer of 2008. The Vikings returned seven players that were in the 2008 Pro Bowl (only three teams had more), and spent $60 million in guaranteed contract money upgrading their team with Jared Allen, traded from the Kansas City Chiefs, and free agents Bernard Berrian and Madieu Williams. Several analysts believed better quarterback play was all that was needed to make the Vikings one of the top contending teams in the NFL, and with the Green Bay Packers losing Brett Favre the NFC North Division was up for grabs. Sport's Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman predicted the Vikings would win the Super Bowl.[15]

Coach Childress decided to stay with Jackson as the starting QB and brought in Gus Frerotte to be his backup. It was widely reported in the off-season that Jackson had a new swagger, handled situations in practice well where he looked lost in the previous years, and had an improved grasp of the Vikings offensive system.[16] Childress threw a "Coaching 101" clinic for media reporters in which he played a tape of Jackson showing the progress he made in 2007 through a series of missed passes or poor decisions that he made in early games but executed properly in later contests and concluded with some tape of him hitting a target net with every 15-yard pass he threw during an offseason drill.[17] Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell repeatedly told the press that although it was Jackson's third year with the Vikings it was really his second year playing, and NFL quarterbacks improve the most between their first and second years.[18] Jackson had another good preseason, until he injured his knee again in the second preseason game which kept him from playing the last two preseason games.

In the first game of the regular season Jackson threw a game-ending interception and in the second game the Vikings made six field goal attempts and no touchdowns. The Vikings lost both games by close margins, and Jackson's 64.8 passer rating ranked him 26th in the NFL. Childress said in the second post-game press conference that Jackson would still definitely be the starter next week, but on Monday after a coaches' meeting he changed his mind and benched Jackson for the remainder of the year.[19]

File:20090104 Chester Taylor.JPG

After being relegated to backup after an 18-15 defeat to Indianapolis in Week 2, Jackson saw his next significant action in Week 14 against Detroit, where he played the entire second half in place of an injured Gus Frerotte. With the Vikings trailing 6-3 at halftime to the winless Lions, Jackson completed eight of ten passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, an 11-yard strike to TE Visanthe Shiancoe that would be the game-winning score for the Vikings.[20] The following week, with Frerotte still injured, Jackson was the starting quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals and he played arguably the best game of his career. Jackson completed 11 of 17 passes for 163 yards and, most impressively, threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions. Jackson earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance as well as the FedEx Air Player of the Week award.

The Vikings lost 24-17 to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16 despite Jackson's performance. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 76 yards (which matched the total of Pro-Bowl running back Adrian Peterson). With the Vikings in a win-and-in situation against the New York Giants in Week 17, Jackson overcame an interception in the end zone by leading the Vikings on a touchdown drive (a 54-yard strike to Bernard Berrian) and the game-winning field goal drive on the following possessions. The Vikings defeated the New York Giants 20-19 and earned the NFC North title. [21]

The Vikings season ended in the Wild Card Playoff round with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson went 15-for-35 for 164 yards in the game with one interception.

2009 seasonEdit

Jackson went into the 2009 season in competition for a starting job with Sage Rosenfels, who the Vikings had acquired from the Houston Texans. The Vikings also pursued former New York Jets and Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who had retired after the end of the 2008 season. Favre announced that he would not join the Vikings prior to training camp, however, and Jackson and Rosenfels split duties in the early part of camp.[22] Jackson was the second quarterback to play in the opening preseason game, and was expected to start the second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.[23]

That changed, however, when Favre announced that he would play for the Vikings after all, signing with the team on August 19.[24] Jackson, Rosenfels, and 2008 third-stringer John David Booty were believed to be competing for two roster spots, and for the primary backup job. Many observers believed the Vikings would attempt to trade Jackson.[25]

Jackson helped his case with a strong performance in Favre's debut game, throwing for 202 yards and two touchdowns in backup work.[26] Ultimately, the Vikings elected to keep Jackson and Rosenfels on the active roster, with Jackson as the primary backup to Favre.[27]

Jackson entered the Vikings' first two games of the season in mop-up duty.[28][29] He also was used as a decoy in punt coverage during week two.

2010 seasonEdit

The Vikings re-signed Jackson on Monday, April 19 as they waited for Favre to decide whether he would return for another season, which he did. Jackson was a restricted free agent who was given a one-year tender worth $1.176 million. Jackson backed up Favre for the 2010 season.

Jackson took over for an injured Favre in Week 8 against the New England Patriots. Jackson threw for one touchdown in the loss. Jackson took over for an injured Favre yet again in Week 13 against the Buffalo Bills. Jackson threw two touchdown passes to Sidney Rice in the 38-14 win, but also threw three interceptions.

Jackson started On December 13, against the New York Giants in place of the injured Favre. In that game Jackson suffered a turf toe injury and missed the rest of the season.

On March 3, 2011, the Vikings declined to tender Jackson a contract offer to play for them in the 2011 season. Under league rules, Jackson became an unrestricted free agent.

Seattle SeahawksEdit

2011 seasonEdit

Jackson officially signed a two-year contract with Seattle Seahawks on July 29, 2011[30] and was announced as the starting quarterback shortly after.[31] In Seattle he had been reunited with Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell and Wide Receiver Sidney Rice both members of the Vikings during his time there. Along with wide receiver Mike Williams, Jackson was appointed to offensive team captain, which was previously owned by Matt Hasselbeck, who signed with the Tennessee Titans. Despite having a below-average year compared to other quarterbacks in the league, Jackson had the best year of his career, finishing with 3,091 yards passing, throwing 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. During the off-season, the Seahawks acquired former Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn and drafted Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson to compete with Jackson for the 2012 starting quarterback position.

Buffalo BillsEdit

2012 seasonEdit

On August 26, 2012, Jackson was traded to the Buffalo Bills for a conditional seventh round draft pick.[32] He was third on the quarterback depth chart for the Bills and was listed as inactive for the entire 2012 season.

2013 seasonEdit

On February 15, 2013, the Bills re-signed Jackson to a one-year, $2.25 million deal, guaranteeing him an opportunity to compete for a starting job for the upcoming 2013 season.[33][34]

Career statisticsEdit

College Edit

Year Team Passing Rushing
Att Comp Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Att Yds Avg TD
2001 ARK 9 3 33.3 53 5.89 0 1 7 14 2.0 0
2002 ARK 39 14 35.9 143 3.67 1 2 14 -16 -1.1 0
2003 ASU 261 135 51.7 1,984 7.60 18 9 92 454 4.9 5
2004 ASU 350 183 52.3 2,562 7.32 20 9 67 215 3.2 3
2005 ASU 296 181 61.1 2,655 8.97 25 5 95 271 2.9 3
Total 955 516 54 7,397 6.69 64 26 275 938 3.14 11


Year Team G GS Passing Rushing Sacked Fumbles
Att Comp Pct Yds Y/A Y/G TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Sack YdsL Fum Lost
2006 MIN 4 2 81 47 58.1 475 5.86 118.8 2 4 62.5 15 77 5.1 1 8 374 1
2007 MIN 12 12 294 171 58.2 1911 6.50 159.3 9 12 70.8 54 260 4.8 3 19 70 5 3
2008 MIN 9 5 149 88 59.1 1056 7.1 117.3 9 2 95.4 26 145 5.6 0 14 97 5 3
2009 MIN 8 0 21 14 66.7 201 9.6 25.1 1 0 113.4 17 -10 -0.6 0 0 0 0 0
2010 MIN 2 1 58 34 58.6 341 5.9 113.7 3 4 63.9 7 63 9.0 0 6 43 1 0
2011 SEA 16 15 450 271 60.2 3091 6.9 206.1 14 13 79.2 40 108 2.7 1 42 293 9 5
2012 BUF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 51 35 1053 625 59.4 7075 6.7 138.7 38 35 77.7 159 643 4.0 5 89 540 24 12


  1. Jackson's Reaction. Jackson's reaction after getting drafted.
  2. "Vikings sign quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to four-year contract". Originally published on 26 July 2006. Retrieved on 16 April 2007.
  3. Childress Quotes before draft. Childress quotes before the draft.
  4. Childress Quotes after draft.
  6. » News » Stories » April 27, 2006: Gil Brandt's Analysis By Position: Quarterbacks
  7. [1]
  8. HOME -
  9. Benoit, Andy. "Vikings Staring at a Quarterback Controversy". The Sports Network. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  10. Washington D focuses all its attention on Peterson
  11. Wrinkles Changed Playoff Complexion
  12. Star Tribune: Fans shouldn't go overboard on Jackson yet
  13. Vikings Enjoying Quite A Turnaround
  14. Childress noncommittal over quarterback's long-term future
  15. Dare I pick Minnesota to win it all?
  16. QB Jackson acting the part
  17. Coaching 101 clinic
  18. Bevell on T-Jack
  19. Childress makes switch from Jackson to Frerotte
  20. Tarvaris Jackson steps in for Gus Frerotte, leads Minnesota Vikings to comeback victory
  21. Minnesota Vikings wrap up NFC North championship on final play of regular season. Next up: Philadelphia Eagles
  22. The Sporting News
  24. Ed Werder, ESPN
  25. Bleacher Report
  26. ESPN, Kansas City 13, Minnesota 17
  28. Gamecenter
  29. Third and one: Vikings
  30. Seahawks Sign Rookie, Veterans and Draft Pick to Roster
  31. Carroll hands the ball to T-Jack
  32. Sessler, Mark (26 August 2012). "Tarvaris Jackson to be traded to Buffalo Bills". Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  33. Brown, Chris (February 15, 2013). "QB Tarvaris Jackson re-signs with Bills". Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  34. Florio, Mike (February 19, 2013). "Tarvaris Jackson deal has base value of $2.25 million". Retrieved 2013-03-31.

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