Vikings quarterback says it’s all in the execution
FARGO, N.D. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brooks Bollinger is quick to dismiss the notion that the team’s lack of imagination on offense was a key ingredient in last year’s dismal 6-10 season.
"After a while, people start dreaming things up about why we’re not winning," said Bollinger, a former University of Wisconsin standout who was in Fargo on Monday to participate in the Roger Maris Celebrity Benefit Golf Tournament. "If it works, it’s imaginative. It’s a matter of execution."
Veteran quarterback Brad Johnson, who started the team’s first 14 games last season, was plagued with mistakes throughout the year.
He finished with just 2,314 yards, eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
He finally was benched down the stretch, but the struggles continued with Bollinger and 2006 second-round draft pick Tarvaris Jackson at the helm.
Traded from the New York Jets just three weeks before the start of the regular season, Bollinger relied largely on short passes.
He was 13 of 18 for 146 yards and an interception for the season. He missed the final four games with a shoulder injury.
"It was an interesting year for me," Bollinger said. "I went to training camp with New York, and all of the sudden I get a call at 10 at night telling me I was traded. On a personal level, it was an exciting thing because I grew up in Grand Forks (N.D.) and it was close to home.
"But it was an adjustment walking into a locker room where I didn’t know anyone."
Now Bollinger finds himself in more uncharted territory.
Coach Brad Childress has said Bollinger and Jackson will compete in training camp for the starting job.
Johnson is now with the Dallas Cowboys.
In three years with the Jets, Bollinger was never considered a true candidate to be the team’s permanent starter because of the presence of star Chad Pennington.
Despite starting nine games for the Jets in 2005, Bollinger was shipped to Minnesota in favor of Pennington, Patrick Ramsey and rookie Kellen Clemens.
Bollinger said he is approaching this season with confidence.
"I’m looking forward to it," he said. "It’s just part of maturing and being part of the league. I feel good in my role. I approach every game as a great opportunity.
"I’m not going to try any harder because I feel like I do my best every time I go out there."
Bollinger said the Vikings made several positive moves to ensure the offense gets back on track, most notably the addition of running back Adrian Peterson and receiver Sidney Rice via the draft and the free agent signing of tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
"I think Adrian Peterson is a guy who helps us tremendously," Bollinger said. "He’s a stud. He’ll give us a great 1-2 punch with (running back) Chester (Taylor). Everybody wants to talk about the fact that we don’t have a Terrell Owens, a big-name receiver. But hopefully someone will emerge from the guys we have."
The Vikings are scheduled to hold training camp July 27-Aug. 15 on the campus of Minnesota State Mankato.
Minnesota opens the regular season against the Falcons on Sept. 9 at the Metrodome.
"We believe in the coaches and the offense," Bollinger said.