Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Favre and Vikings Colluding

After one season in New York and a strained-bicep induced statement that he was retiring, Brett Favre found himself among the early cuts during post-season roster clearings. Convinced either that Favre's late-season tailspin or his commitment to retire reflected what was left in Favre's professional football career, the Jets released Favre without much plan for a backup--or a starter.

One year removed from the NFL's quiet investigation into tampering allegations leveled against Favre and the Minnesota Vikings by the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings and Favre again appear to be talking about bringing the former Packer and Jet quarterback to Minnesota to help sell tickets, spur the team's anemic offense, and salvage the career of head coach Brad Childress.

As was true last year is also true this year. Despite the addition of Sage Rosenfels to the team, Favre still would be an upgrade at the quarterback position in Minnesota. Over 32 career games spanning seven NFL seasons, Rosenfels has 30 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions. In 16 games for the Jets last season, Favre threw 22 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions.

The question in Minnesota is not whether Favre can replicate his 2008 numbers. There is little question that, even with Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell playing hide the ball, Favre can toss 22 and 22 against the Vikings' relatively soft schedule.

Instead, the question is whether Favre can improve on his touchdown passes while reducing his interceptions. If not, signing Favre will become little more than a publicity stunt for the Vikings and one that allows yet another season to pass without confirmation on whether Tarvaris Jackson is meant for the NFL. With Rosenfels the likely starter were Favre not in the picture, Jackson's already cloudy future seemed precarious at best. With Favre and Rosenfels, Jackson would be thrust into clipboard competition with current third-stringer J.D. Booty. That's neither good nor bad for Minnesota, but, instead, a consideration that the team must take into account when negotiating with Favre.

There is also the nagging issue of the lack of experience on the right side of the offensive line and what that would mean for an aging quarterback already prone to the interception. Without assurances that their new center and right tackle will be able to play in the NFL, the task of any Viking quarterback will be far more daunting in 2009 than it was in 2008.

The answer, it would seem, would be for the Vikings not only to bring in Favre, but also to bring in more game-tested veterans at center and right guard or tackle. If that's possible, Favre ought to thrive in Minnesota despite the inert limitations of the Vikings' offense. If it is not possible, 2009 with Favre might be more terrifying than 2008 with whomever. And that could be the epitaph of the Childress era.

Up Next: Options and Concerns.

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