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Vikings Mourning Loss of Tarvaris Jackson

EAGAN, Minn. — The entire Vikings organization is mourning the loss of former quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who passed away Sunday night at the age of 36.

The Vikings released the following statement:

"The entire Vikings family is saddened by the news of Tarvaris Jackson being taken from us too soon. One of Tarvaris' greatest attributes was his positive outlook and approach. He genuinely cared about others, was a good friend and will be missed by family, teammates and Vikings fans everywhere. We send our deepest condolences to his family."

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Jackson appeared in 59 career games in 10-season NFL career, including 36 with the Vikings from 2006-2010. He made 20 starts in Purple and another 14 with the Seahawks.

A second-round pick by Minnesota in the 2006 NFL Draft, Jackson was primarily a backup in the five seasons he spent with the Vikings. Chad Greenway posted the following tweet about his draft classmate:

A dozen of Jackson's 20 career starts occurred in 2007 when he went 8-4 when opening games. Five more starts came in 2008, including the final three games of the season.

Jackson helped lead the Vikings to a pair of wins during those three games as Minnesota made the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

In Week 15, Jackson completed 11 of 17 passes and threw for four touchdowns in a 35-14 win over the Cardinals to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week. He closed the regular season by orchestrating a game-winning drive against the New York Giants. A 50-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell on the game's final play gave the Vikings a 20-19 victory and the team's 10th win of the season.

Jackson then started the Wild Card playoff game against Philadelphia, but Minnesota's season ended in the first round of the postseason. He later appeared in eight games with the Vikings during their special 2009 season, plus another three games in 2010.

View photos of Tavaris Jackson during his time with the Minnesota Vikings.

Brett Favre became a teammate of Jackson's in August 2009 when he signed with Minnesota. Jackson had been competing for the starting job with Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty when the three-time NFL MVP became a Viking. Favre described how great a teammate Jackson was.

"My time with the Vikings was very special because the team embraced and welcomed me as one of their own," Favre said. "Tarvaris could have been anything but welcoming, but [instead he] was pure class and as good a teammate as any I've played with. [I'm] proud to call him friend!! Such sad news."

Jackson went 10-10 in his starts with the Vikings, and went 7-7 in 14 starts for Seattle in 2011.

He appeared in three games with Seattle in 2013, serving as the backup quarterback as the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII in February of 2014.

Jackson completed 640 of 1,073 passes (59.6 percent) in his NFL career, passing for 7,263 yards with 39 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. He also tallied six career rushing touchdowns, three of which came in 2007.

Former Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress, who coached Jackson from 2006-10, praised Jackson's selfless attitude.

"[He was a] great young man and great competitor," Childress said, "but an even better teammate."

Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, who was an assistant to Childress from 2006-08 before becoming the Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach (2009-13), said he was "extremely saddened" to learn of Jackson's death.

"My sincere condolences go out to his family," Stefanski said. "I was fortunate to be a young coach as Tarvaris started out his career, and I was able to see him grow as a person and as a player. He was universally well-liked by his teammates. He will be missed."

Former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said "a lot of guys lost a brother."

"The first image that came to mind when I heard the news was that big smile! Love and will miss him! Prayers to his family," Peterson said.

Jackson began his college career at Arkansas but transferred to Alabama State.. He threw for 7,201 yards and 63 touchdowns in three seasons as the Hornets starter, rushing for 11 scores in that time.

Jackson was the quarterbacks coach for Tennessee State at the time of his passing. He has previously spent time at his alma mater as the quality control/quarterbacks coach.

Tennessee State Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips and Head Coach Rod Reed also issued statements.

"My heart is so heavy with hurt hearing of the passing of Coach Jackson," Phillips said. "We were blessed with him for a short time, but he did make an impact with our young men in this one season at TSU. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his young family and all who knew and loved him. We lift up all who are mourning today. Each loss is piercing. Today I ask God's comfort to spread through the TSU community, the nation and the world."

Reed added: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Jackson family in this time of bereavement. We are devastated. He was an awesome young man and he will be missed by our players, our staff and the TSU family."

Jackson leaves behind his wife, Lakitta, and three children.

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