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News » With Vikings, Rosenfels finally gets his shot 2009-02-27

With Vikings, Rosenfels finally gets his shot 2009-02-27

With Vikings, Rosenfels finally gets his shot 2009-02-27
He will spend this weekend at the nuptials of former Houston Texans teammate Eric Winston.

But first, Sage Rosenfels had another marriage to attend.


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Rosenfels and the Minnesota Vikings officially tied the knot Friday when he was acquired from the Texans for a 2009 fourth-round draft choice. And talk about your wedding gifts. Not only is he the likely new starter for a division-winning team, agent Rick Smith negotiated a two-year, $9 million contract extension that includes $5 million in guarantees (he's due to earn a $1.35 million base salary in 2009 as part of his original Texans contract).

"I wasn't sure what was going to happen this year because you never know what teams are thinking," Rosenfels told FOXSports.com on Thursday morning while heading to Minnesota (the Texans allowed Rosenfels to take his Vikings physical one day early so he could attend Winston's wedding).

"I've always hoped for this opportunity. Now that it actually did happen, I couldn't be happier."

But for this marital bliss to last, Rosenfels must prove he is an upgrade to incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and that the Vikings were wise not to pursue a more established veteran free-agent quarterback like Kurt Warner or Kerry Collins. Otherwise, this relationship could end in a divorce that costs Vikings coach Brad Childress his job and ruins any chance Rosenfels has of ever establishing himself as more than a backup.

During his eight-year NFL career, Rosenfels has a 6-6 career mark as a starter. Ten of those appearances came the past two seasons in Houston when replacing the injured Matt Schaub. Rosenfels' statistics are as middle-of-the-road as his starting record — a career 62.5 completion percentage with 30 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.

His most memorable NFL moment was one Rosenfels literally doesn't remember. That's a good thing.

He experienced one of the greatest individual meltdowns in league history during last October's 31-27 home loss to Indianapolis. The Texans squandered a 17-point lead with less than five minutes remaining as Rosenfels committed three turnovers, including a lost fumble on a play that invoked flashbacks of Denver quarterback John Elway's "helicopter" against Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII.

Rosenfels believes he suffered a concussion when spun in the air on a hit by Colts defensive end Raheem Brock. Rosenfels was trying to dive for a first down on a third-and-eight inside Colts territory, which he admits was a major mistake under the circumstances.

"I remember running and going up. The rest of the game is pretty foggy," said Rosenfels, who proceeded to lose another fumble and throw an interception. "It's disappointing because I was playing one of the best games of my life for the first 56 minutes.

"People who know me and my teammates know there's a lot more to Sage Rosenfels than one play. It was a play where I gave too much effort and didn't use my mind. I tried to make too much happen and it cost me and my team. I hope between now and the end of my career that I can make some great plays where people remember me for the right reasons."

The Vikings are convinced that will happen, especially after seeing Rosenfels rebound first-hand three weeks later. In his first appearance since the Colts game, Rosenfels was 21-of-29 passing for 224 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a 28-21 loss at Minnesota.

Rosenfels has shown flashes of being able to post such numbers on a consistent basis. He was just never given a legitimate chance to compete for a first-string spot until now.

No front office staff knows Rosenfels better than Minnesota's. Rick Spielman, the club's vice president of player personnel, traded with Washington for Rosenfels in 2002 while holding a similar position with Miami. The Vikings tried to acquire Rosenfels last offseason but were unwilling to meet Houston's demand for a second-round draft choice.

In retrospect, the Vikings should have upped the ante to get the deal done.

Quarterback play was the biggest reason Minnesota lost its first-round home playoff game against Philadelphia. Jackson was horrific in that 26-14 loss, completing just 15 of 35 attempts for 164 yards with one interception and no scores.

After floundering in Minnesota's first two games last season, Jackson lost his starting spot to journeyman Gus Frerotte. One of Jackson's teammates said he had the "deer-in-the-headlight" look inside the huddle that caused Vikings players to lose confidence in him. Any strides that Jackson made when returning to the starting lineup at the end of the season were undone by the Eagles loss.

Rosenfels won't lack bravado in what will likely be a training camp battle with Jackson for the starting spot (Minnesota is expected to cut Frerotte soon). Rosenfels also believes he has the skill set that will make him a good fit for Minnesota's West Coast-style offense spearheaded by all-pro running back Adrian Peterson.

"Hopefully I can add some things to the mix and push the offense over the top," Rosenfels said. "In Houston, we did a lot of play-action and bootlegging. I think with the way Minnesota runs the ball, some of that stuff will fit right in."

Like a ring on a finger.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 27, 2009

TJ Rushing Name: TJ Rushing
Position: S
Age: 25
Experience: 3 years
College: Stanford
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