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Vikings bench Jackson, will start Frerotte at QB

The Baltimore Sun

Out with the new, in with the old.

With the passing offense sputtering in two losses to open the season, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress decided the team can no longer afford to let quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, 25, learn on the job.

Yesterday, Childress turned to 15-year veteran Gus Frerotte to run the offense for the rest of the season.

"I'm just not seeing right now the aggressiveness from Tarvaris that I saw throughout the offseason, training camp, the two preseason games that he played in," Childress said. "And part of it may be experience. I know Gus will give us that."

Jackson has completed just 51 percent of his passes this season. He threw a game-ending interception at Green Bay that sealed the Packers' victory and was partly responsible for the offense settling for five field goals and scoring no touchdowns in an 18-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

It's an abrupt and drastic move for a team that entered the season with sky-high expectations after spending $60 million in guaranteed money to position itself as an NFC contender.

Only two weeks in, the Vikings already are two games behind the NFC North-leading Packers with games against the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints coming up.

Jackson admitted to "inconsistent play to say the least" but said he was surprised by the move.

"I could easily hold my head low, keep my head down, you know, be a cancer to the team," Jackson said. "I'm still frustrated and mad about the situation, but I'm going to use that as motivation."

Colts:: Coach Tony Dungy doesn't doubt Bob Sanders will be back in the team's lineup this season. He's just not sure how long Sanders will be out. The 2007 Defensive Player of the Year could miss up to six weeks after spraining his right ankle against the Vikings, and team officials are contemplating whether Sanders might need arthroscopic surgery on his knee, too. "We're really not sure," Dungy said. The latest injury continues a strange even-numbered-year hex for Sanders, who played in just six games during his rookie season in 2004 and four games in 2006. In odd-numbered years, Sanders has started 14 and 15 games, respectively.

Redskins:: Chris Cooley's explicit blog photo was discussed at a team meeting, with player and coach on different wavelengths as to which was the more pressing concern: the nudity or the secret study material. Coach Jim Zorn addressed the team, stressing the need to keep all game-planning under wraps. Zorn was concerned that Cooley posted a photo of study questions while preparing for Sunday's game against New Orleans, which Washington won, 29-24. Cooley, meanwhile, was again expressing regret for the fact that the photo exposed more of himself that he had planned. Cooley was studying in the buff when he snapped the photo, and he posted it without examining it closely. Cooley took down the photo and posted an apology the next day. Cooley, however, dismissed the notion that he was giving away Redskins state secrets.

Chargers:: With his toe injury lingering, running back LaDainian Tomlinson sat out practice as his winless team began preparing for its home game against Brett Favre and the Jets on Monday night. Tomlinson, who has yet to find his way into the end zone this season, said his jammed right big toe isn't as sore as it has been. Tomlinson was held to 26 yards on 10 carries in a 39-38 loss at Denver on Sunday.

Chiefs:: Tyler Thigpen, the first player from Coastal Carolina selected in the NFL draft, will be the first to start at quarterback. Thigpen, 24, will be under center Sunday for Kansas City when the team plays at Atlanta. It will be exactly 11 months after the struggling young Chiefs last won a game. A 23-8 loss to Oakland on Sunday, in which Thigpen came off the bench for Damon Huard and finished 14-for-33, was the 11th straight regular-season defeat for Kansas City.

Raiders:: Running backs Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden, who helped the team post its first 300-yard rushing performance in more than two decades Sunday, missed practice. McFadden watched with a protective boot on his right foot to protect his turf toe injury. Fargas also was on the sideline with a groin injury that is considered more serious. ... Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly accepted responsibility for his arrest early Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence, saying he "didn't make the right decision."

Bengals:: Quarterback Carson Palmer walked without a limp, an indication that his sprained left ankle is doing fine. The Bengals are 0-2 heading into a game at the Giants on Sunday, one that will provide either a U-turn for their season or a plunge into the abyss. "We have a lot to play for, a lot of pride," Palmer said. "The Giants started 0-2 [last season]. A lot can be done from 0-2."

Bears:: Return specialist Devin Hester did not practice after undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging the previous day for a left rib injury, and his status for Chicago's home opener Sunday against Tampa Bay remained in question. Hester was taken from the sideline on a cart during the third quarter of the Bears' 20-17 loss to the Panthers on Sunday.

Jets:: The team announced a partnership with online ticketing Web site StubHub to auction off 2,000 seat licenses that will put big-spending fans 5 yards behind the team's bench in the new Meadowlands stadium, scheduled to open in 2010. Bidding will be conducted on StubHub's Web site Oct. 19 to 27.

Jaguars:: Jacksonville, still trying to tweak its injury-riddled offensive line, re-signed veteran guard Chris Naeole, who spent the past six seasons with the team but was released in March, four months after he ruptured his quadriceps tendon.

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