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Three's company, four's a crowd for GF's Bollinger

April wasn't a good month as far as job security for Brooks Bollinger. The 1998 Grand Forks Central High School graduate has been a backup quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings in each of the past two National Football League seasons. But the qua...

April wasn't a good month as far as job security for Brooks Bollinger.

The 1998 Grand Forks Central High School graduate has been a backup quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings in each of the past two National Football League seasons. But the quarterback position has gotten crowded on the Vikings' roster.

Incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson will return to the Vikings. And, in April, Minnesota signed veteran quarterback Gus Frerotte as a free agent, then used its fifth-round pick in the college draft to select Southern Cal quarterback John David Booty.

"It definitely doesn't help my status,'' said Bollinger, who will be entering his sixth NFL season this fall. "I've been around long enough to understand how this business works. They have four guys (at quarterback). Normally, they keep three. But you show up every day, keep doing your work and see what happens.

"Most people from the outside looking in would probably think it's a bleak situation for me. But you never know. So many things can happen.''

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The situation isn't new to Bollinger.

Bollinger was drafted by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL college draft out of the University of Wisconsin. After two seasons as a backup for the Jets, Bollinger started nine games in the 2005 season when injuries sidelined two other quarterbacks.

But, following that season, the Jets added two quarterbacks, free agent Patrick Ramsey and second-round draft pick Kellen Clemens. Bollinger subsequently was traded to the Vikings prior to the 2006 season.

"You learn there's nothing you can do about it,'' Bollinger said. "It is what it is. You just go out and keep working.

"The first time it happened, in New York, I worried about if this or that would happen. I think it affected my day-in and day-out attitude some. Now, I realize it's a long stretch between now and the start of training camp. All you can do is stay with the present and continue to work hard. I know it takes awhile for everything to unfold.''

Bollinger played in five games for the Vikings last season, completing 33 of 50 passes for 391 yards and one touchdown while being intercepted once. Even after the Vikings released one veteran quarterback, Kelly Holcomb, from last season's team, Bollinger said he wasn't surprised to see Minnesota add quarterbacks in the offseason.

"I knew the possibility was there,'' he said. "It's always a possibility in this league. I prepared myself for it. There's nothing I can do about it.''

Bollinger doesn't take the new challenges for a roster spot as a personal hit against him. Rather, he says, the people in the front office try to improve the team, just as the players work to improve.

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He knows that the possibility is there to be cut by the Vikings, or traded.

"But I don't spend time worrying about it,'' he said. "You approach it as a challenge. It's definitely motivation to compete.

"I've been fortunate to have the opportunities I've gotten. ... You never know when the next opportunity will come.''

So Bollinger goes about his daily routine. He lives in Eagan, Minn. Five days a week, he is at the Vikings' training facility throwing the football and working out. And, while the Vikings' roster is crowded with quarterbacks, he still is in a situation where he's in the hunt for playing time.

"I have a shot. That's all you can ask for,'' Bollinger said

"My status is day to day. It's the way of the world (in professional football). You learn to live with that.''

DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com .,

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