In the midst of a difficult season, Vikings QB Jackson gets help from Eagles’ McNabb

If Jackson gets into trouble this weekend, Holcomb is ready and waiting.

>EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) – Tarvaris Jackson’s first full season as a starting quarterback has been light years from easy.

His quarterback rating and completion percentage are at the bottom of the league. There was the four-interception game at Detroit. A broken finger on a six-completion day at Dallas. Two missed games because of injury and possibly a third coming up this weekend against Philadelphia if that finger doesn’t heal up pretty quick.

In the midst of all these struggles, Jackson has received some words of encouragement from a surprising source – Donovan McNabb.

The Philadelphia Eagles star has seen his share of tough times and, as he nears his 31st birthday, sees himself as a mentor to younger quarterbacks throughout the league.

“I’ve talked to him a couple of times and just make sure to let him know to continue to keep his head up and stay confident and continue to prepare yourself so that the team will continue to see that,” McNabb said. “Everyone will begin to follow knowing that you are working hard at it.”

Be it injuries, getting booed after being drafted ahead of Ricky Williams or whether he did or did not lose his lunch in the huddle during the Super Bowl, McNabb knows all about the pressures that come with being a quarterback in the NFL.

And who better for a young QB to learn from than a nine-year veteran who has made it to five Pro Bowls, four NFC championship games and a Super Bowl while playing in one of the most demanding sports towns in the country?

“Just having a conversation with him, period, has been good,” Jackson said. “He’s an established guy in the league and just everything you can get from him is a positive.”

McNabb invited Jackson to train with him in Arizona in the offseason, but Jackson couldn’t make it this summer.

“I like to be try to be a mentor to some of the younger quarterbacks in the NFL,” McNabb said. “I just wanted to kind of work with him and kind of prepare him for what he’ll be faced with this year as well as years to come.”

It might be a good idea to take McNabb up on his offer next summer.

For the first time in his football life, Jackson has missed games because of injury. He also has shown plenty of growing pains in running the offense, often struggling to hit receivers in stride and make the right reads.

Backup Kelly Holcomb, who could play on Sunday if Jackson isn’t ready, came to the Vikings in a trade with Philly on the last week of the preseason. So the 12-year veteran knows what both quarterbacks bring to the table.