Vikings coach Brad Childress defends decision to keep backup QB Jackson over Rosenfels

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Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress is staunchly defending his decision to keep Tarvaris Jackson as Brett Favre's backup over Sage Rosenfels.

The Vikings traded Rosenfels to the New York Giants on Friday night. Rosenfels threw for 310 yards and three TDs in the preseason opener against St. Louis, but was just 8 for 17 for 92 yards with one TD in the next three games combined.

Rosenfels had the better statistics in the preseason, but Childress said Sunday that Jackson has been better in practice and is the guy who would give the Vikings the best chance to win if Favre went down.

Jackson took most of his snaps this preseason with the starting offense and played against the opposing team's starting defense while Rosenfels always entered the game with the second team, an important difference, according to Childress.

"It's a completely different set of circumstances," Childress said. "I would hope that if Tarvaris was in there going with the twos, that he would have been able to light it up that same way."

Favre has played in an NFL record 285 straight games — 309 including the playoffs — and the coach bristled at the line of questioning, likening it to discussing Joe Mauer's backup at catcher for the Minnesota Twins.

"We're talking about the two highest scoring offenses in the league last year playing each other," Childress said. "Let's talk about the game, instead of Joe Mauer's backup."

Translation — Childress expects Favre to take all the snaps this year, as he has since he took over as a starter in Green Bay in 1992, so the issue is rather insignificant.

Primary return man Darius Reynaud also went to the Giants in that trade, and Childress said Percy Harvin will be the team's kick returner when the Vikings open at New Orleans on Thursday night. Bernard Berrian and Greg Camarillo will split punt return duties, with Harvin possibly getting some looks there later in the season.

The Vikings also will go into the game against one of the best passing offenses in the league with only three healthy cornerbacks on the roster. Childress side-stepped a question about adding depth at that position, saying that the team's top priority was adding depth on the offensive line.

The Vikings also only have four healthy receivers on the active roster. Still, Childress said the team had no interest in 32-year-old free agent T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who was cut by Seattle.

"I'd be more prone to see if we could find a younger guy or somebody that's been around in a West Coast offense," he said.