Former NFL quarterback Tarvaris Jackson passed away in a single-car crash accident in Alabama Sunday night. Jackso was a quarterback for the Vikings for 5 years, 4 years with Seahawks, and had a brief time with the Bills. Jackson was primarily a backup throughout his 9-year career but did have a couple of seasons as a starter. In 9 years Jackson threw for 7,263 yards with a completion percentage of 59.6%, 39 touchdowns and was even a part of the Seahawks 2014 Superbowl winning team. Today we will honor his life as we take you back to a timeline of his career.
2006: Drafted-Rookie Season
With the 64th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. The Vikings were always quietly watching Jackson throughout his collegiate career with Alabama State and were impressed with his play in the East-West Shrine Game along with his impressive combine workouts as he had one of the top 40-yards dashes for a quarterback. Minnesota did everything they could to get Jackson in the 2nd round as they traded two 3rd round picks to get the 64th overall pick as they feared Jackson would not make it to the 3rd round. On July 26, 2006, Jackson signed a four-year deal with the Vikings, which included a $1 million signing bonus.
In the pre-season, Jackson looked impressive as he was ranked 15th out of 110 in the league for a QB rating with a 106.1 rating. He also showcased his impressive run skills as he averaged 11.3 yards per run and was beginning to draw comparisons to Michael Vick and was even considered as a right-handed Michael Vick. Jackson would go on to earn the backup role beating out Mike McMahon and J.T O’Sullivan but would later compete with quarterback Brooks Bollinger as Sullivan and McMahon would be cut and Bullinger would be brought in. Jackson would go on to have minor surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee on September 25 just shortly after the 2006 season started. Jackson would be back at practice just 2 weeks later after the surgery but was limited for most of the practice.
In a week 16 matchup against the Chicago Bears Jackson got to play in his first NFL game. Starting QB Brad Johnson was benched in the 4th quarter as he threw his 4th interception late into the 4th quarter and Jackson was the next man up for Minnesota as backup Bollinger was injured. Jackson came into the game and would go on to complete 3 of his 4 passes before fumbling the ball resulting in the Bears recovering and running the clock out. In week 15 Jackson entered the game once again in the 4th quarter as Bollinger once again was underperforming and Jackson entered the game and was given a standing ovation by Viking fans as they were chanting his name all game.
Jackson would go on to throw his first touchdown as he completed a 35-yard pass to receiver Mewelde Moore to make the score 26-13 with the Jets still up. Jackosn would end the game with 177 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception in the red zone. He also contributed in the run game as he ran for 20 yards on 3 rushes. Jackson would start in his 1st NFL game as he went up against the Green Bay Packers in week 16 but was given horrible play conditions as there was rain throughout the game making it impossible for both teams to get their offenses rolling. Jackson would go on to throw for 50 yards completing 10 of his 20 attempts and threw 1 interception in a 9-7 loss to the Packers. Jackson would finish up his rookie season recording 2 touchdowns, 475 yards on a 58% completion rate and threw 4 interceptions.
2007: 1st year as a Starter
Jackson was announced the team starter shortly before the start of the 2007 season coming off his rookie year where he only started 2 games and lost in both. Jackson led the Vikings to an impressive 8-4 record as the starter but his play was beginning to be terrible despite the good record. To start the season the Vikings started rough as they were 2-5 and were one of the league’s worst-ranked offenses. The Vikings passing game became so bad that teams would begin to focus on stopping running backs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor as they would feel no threat in the passing game.
In a game against the 49ers, the cornerbacks did not even cover the receivers for most of the game as the corners would blitz 20% of the plays. Jackson and Minnesota picked up their game in November as they would go on a 5 game win streak to bring them an 8-6 record their first time being over .500 since week 1 when they were 1-0. Through that 5 game span, Jackson threw for 4 touchdowns and threw for 916 yards Minnesota would go on to score 40+ points in two of those 5 games. The Vikings would go on to lose the last two games ending their record with a .500 record at 8-8. Jackson recorded 1,911 yards on a 58.2% completion but with only 9 touchdowns thrown and 11 interceptions thrown Jackson showed little to no improvement from his rookie year. After the season head coach, Brad Childress would go on to say he doesn’t know if Jackson would be the starter next year and would evaluate every one.
2008-2010: Departure with Minnesota
Heading into the season it was announced after training camps that Jackson would be the starter for the 2008 season after impressing coaches once again. In the second pre-season game of the season, Jackson injured his knee once again keeping him out of action for the rest of the pre-season. Jackson would be healthy by week 1 and would start for the Viking against the Packers but would lose the game for Minnesota as he would throw an interception to end Minnesota chances of a comeback. The following week against the Colts the Vikings failed to get in the red zone as they attempted 5 field goals and finished the game with 15 points all coming from field goals. Head coach Childress would go on to address concerns about Jackson and whether he will continue to be the starter for Minnesota and Childress would go on to say he will be the starter. Despite that comment later on in the week in a coach meeting, Jackson was announced as the backup for the remainder of the year.
Jackson would get playing time in the second half of week 14 in a matchup against the Lions leading Minnesota to a comeback win as he threw a game-winning touchdown towards the end of the 4th quarter. The following week Jackson was announced as the starter as the starter Gus Frerotte was still out with injury. Jackson had one of the best games of his career as he threw for 163 yards and an impressive 4 touchdowns in a 35-14 win. In a week 16 loss Jackson threw for 233 yards along with 2 touchdowns along with rushing for 76 yards. The Vikings would go on to clinch an NFC Wild Card spot and would go on to take on the Eagles. Jackson was the starting quarterback and underperformed in his first playoff appearance as he threw for 164 yards and 1 interception recording no touchdowns in a 26-14 loss. Jackson would finish the regular season throwing for 1,056 yards on a 59.1% completion percentage and threw 9 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions.
In the 2009 season, Jackson was competing against QB Sage Rosenfels who was acquired in the off-season. Jackson and Rosenfels would go on to compete throughout training camp and they were rumored to split games during the pre-season. Things would change when Brett Farve would come out of retirement and sign with the Vikings leaving Jackson and Rosenfels now competing for the backup role. Jackson showcased why he should be the backup as he put on an impressive game as Farve’s back up where he threw for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns during Farve’s debut. Jackson would win the role as Favre’s backup but got little to no playing time for the whole season.
The Vikings would go on to re-sign Jackson to a 1-year deal worth $1.176 million on April 19 as they would see what Favre would do next. Favre would end up returning for the Vikings leaving Jackson as the backup for another year. Jackson would only make 2 appearances in the regular season week 8 and week 13 as he came in to finish the game as Favre was injured. Once again Jackson got little to no playing time and on March 3, 2011, the Vikings declined to tender Jackson’s contract resulting in him becoming a free agent.
2011-2012: Sign and traded
Jackson would sign a 2-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks on July 29, 2011. Shortly after the signing, it was announced that Jackson would become the full-time starter, reuniting with former offensive Darrell Bevell and receiver Sidney Rice as they all played together in Minnesota. Jackson would go on to start 14 games for Seattle and go 7-7 throwing for 3,091 yards with a 60% completion percentage, and 14 touchdowns all career highs. Jackson also threw a career-high for interceptions with 13 thrown. In the off-season, the Seahawks acquired Matt Flynn and drafted Russell Wilson to compete for the starting job. On August 26, 2012, Jackson was traded to the Buffalo Bills for a 7th round.
2013-2015: Final years in the league
Jackson was the third-string quarterback for the Bills and saw no playing time for the entire season. On February 15, 2013, the Bills re-signed Jackson to a 1-year deal worth 2.25 million, four months later Jackson was released by Buffalo. On June 12, 2013, it was reported the Seahawks were favorites to sign Jackson for the 2013 season. The very next day the Seahawks signed Jackson to a 1-year deal. Jackson would officially become the team’s backup after the release of Brady Quinn. Jackson appeared in 3 games for the Seahawks recording 151 passing yards and 1 touchdown. In 2014 Jackson became the first backup quarterback in 13 years to play in the Superbowl as he played in the 4th quarter. Winning a Superbowl with the Seahawks in 2014 and came close to capturing another Super Bowl but failed as Pete Carroll chose to pass the ball on the 1-yard line. Jackson played until 2015 with the Seahawks where he was primarily a backup and hardly got playing time. Jackson would become a free agent in 2015 and went unsigned as nobody showed interest in the 9-year veteran.