Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pride Goeth Before Destruction

If there is a silver lining to the Minnesota Vikings' decision to move Sage Rosenfels, it is a silver lining with four prongs of varying worth. Those prongs are the fifth-round pick that the Vikings receive in return for Rosenfels, the release of a player not content with his situation on the team, the near certain retention of Joe Webb, and the possibility that Vikings' head coach Brad Childress might someday be forced to reckon with the decision.

Of these benefits, none remotely assuage what in the minds of most informed viewers amounts to a decision to release Rosenfels in favor of retaining a far lesser player. The perception of this being yet another foolish quarterback move by Childress is only enhanced by the utterly inexplicable decision to include kick returner Darius Reynaud in the deal. If the Vikings' intention was to become weaker at quarterback and at kick returner, they can proudly proclaim "Mission Accomplished."

The loss of Rosenfels means, of course, that Childress' five-year experiment with Tarvaris Jackson will continue, but for no apparent reason. Jackson's sole role with the team is that of backup to Brett Favre. With a one-year deal, that might be the only role that Jackson ever again fills for this team. If so, the Vikings still lost time, money, and one more year left on Rosenfels' contract in exchange for retaining a player that nobody else wants.

Certainly, none of this makes sense to anyone other than the handful of fans who myopically and mindlessly continue to support Childress' backing of Jackson on the wisp of a hope that Jackson might do what he has yet to do. It makes far less sense when factoring in Reynaud's inclusion in the deal to give the New York Giants a solid backup to Eli Manning and a starting kick returner, all for a late-round selection in next year's draft. And it makes the Vikings' deal for Rosenfels an utterly wasted and expensive venture, particularly given that the Vikings gave up a fourth-round last year pick to obtain Rosenfels.

In sum, in exchange for a late-round selection in the future, the Vikings gave away their best backup quarterback and their only kick returner to a team that the Vikings' ownership group idolized as children. Either the Wilf's have reverted to adolescence or Childress' pride simply won't let him give up the ghost. Including Reynaud in the deal only further suggests the bloated value that Childress places on Jackson.

Of course, it would have been better if Childress had simply said after making one bad move that he even would have considered throwing in Reynaud if it meant he could keep Jackson. But pride required action. That meant moving Reynaud with Rosenfels and keeping Jackson. It's Childress way of saying not only that he does not value one of his detractors, but also that he values highly his hand-picked successor who has never been. And all of it was done to justify a series of bad decisions dating back to the dealing of picks to trade up to take Jackson.

Ultimately, it is more pride than one man likely can swallow and pride that could lead to the Vikings' downfall should Favre get injured this year or retire after the season.

Up Next: Moneyball. Plus, Housh.


Cabrito said...

Well said, VG. It's disappointing to lose Rosenfels while keeping Jackson, but frankly, the issue of who would better serve as Favre's replacement should the old guy go down is really of no great interest to me. If such a disaster occurs, the Vikings are sunk anyway, no matter who lines up behind center.

What really annoyed me about the Vikings' recent move was throwing Darius Reynaud into the deal. What a simply idiotic decision that was. Effective punt returning, I'm sure you'll agree, is a skill that few players possess, even those who are highly proficient in their roles on regular offensive or defensive teams. Excellence at this specialty position requires not only raw speed but also quickness (the ability to accelerate rapidly), shiftiness, strength enough to shake off single tacklers, and above all the ability to spot a potential opening in a fraction of a second and take advantage of it. From what I saw of Reynaud the past few seasons and this preseason, he has all these attributes. Why would the Vikings dump him, especially in view of the fact that they don't seem to have anyone else to fill the role except possibly Harvin, who is hardly a reliable substitute for obvious reasons? I just don't understand it, VG. Do you think the Giants insisted on him being thrown into the deal, or do you think Chili did it to sweeten the pot? Whatever, it's inexplicable -- and inexcusable. Of course, I realize we have a coach whose idea of a good punt return is a fair catch, but still, the other members of the Vikings' organization should have had more sense.

Now that the season is about to start, here's a pertinent question for you: have the Vikings improved their team over last year, or are they weaker? I know it's a tough question to answer, because injuries have to be factored in. But even if those injuries hadn't occurred, where's the improvement? In the OL? In the offensive backfield? At safety? Where, then?

vikes geek said...


You have read my mind. See the Housh article later today.

Including Reynaud makes no sense. If the Giants insist on more, you simply don't make the deal--one that already was bad and that any other team in the league in need of a backup (or, in some cases, a starter) wouldly gladly accept.