I always have told myself I would restrain. Really, please believe me. But I think I have watched too much ESPN lately and the bad mojo radiating from my television has taken over me, just for tonight.
I am writing about Brett Favre.
This will be brief, that much I can promise you.
Chris did a great job summarizing the Vikings’ offseason in “Know Your Enemies” and Gene wrote one of the best pieces about Favre that I may have read to this date. So I will take my crack on what Favre’s latest soap episode means on the field.
It was always evident that Favre would return and if he didn’t the Vikings would all of a sudden be in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. So since is it official, are they still the team to beat?
The quick answer is no because the Packers have definitely closed the gap, but let’s not forget this team returns all 22 starter (sans Cedric Griffin until returns from ACL surgery) and was one bonehead Favre throw away from the Super Bowl. This team will still be one of the best in the NFC.
Except for a few of the league’s current hallmark franchises (i.e., Colts and Patriots) the window of opportunity is small, especially for a team like the Vikings who are built on veterans. So is the last chance for the Vikings and are they, mainly Favre, better than last year?
I would say yes and no. The Packers are built to win now and some players are boasting Super Bowl or bust. This is all true, except that as long as Rodgers is in the fold this team will have a larger window over the next several seasons. This is completely different for a team like Minnesota, otherwise they wouldn’t have bent over backwards to get Favre back. However, that does not make them any better in 2010.
As Chris first mentioned, it is going to awfully hard for Favre to repeat his numbers from 2009. He will probably be solid, but his stable of weapons that he had last year are not quite are scary as they were last year. Sidney Rice is still nursing a hip injury, with strong rumblings that he is using it as a quasi-holdout for a new deal (Rosenhaus is his agent FYI). The news about Percy Harvin is becoming discouraging more and more everyday and he will not be on the field anytime soon it looks like. Peterson wants a new contract and might be wondering why he doesn’t get the same star treatment as Favre. Also, a move that is flying a little under the radar is rookie Toby Gerhart replacing Chester Taylor, who was a very valuable third-down back and was one of the big reasons for Peterson’s success to this point. Peterson should be able to handle the workload, but that is not guaranteed.
Sidenote: Living in Minneapolis, if I hear one more person tell me how great Gerhart is based on the fact that the ONE game they saw him play ALL year he destroyed a horrible Notre Dame defense, I may lose it. JUST STOP!
Besides his toys being less than shiny, Favre is another year older with a bad ankle. Recall how he got the bad ankle? I’m sure you do and with the book now out on how to beat Favre, expect every team to send blitz packages for every direction until he A) throws another crucial pick or B) he stays down for good.
So how much of a difference does Favre make? Not much because he will not be nearly as good as he was last year. If the Packers managed a split with the Vikings last year they would have won the division. This Vikings team will still make the playoffs and are one of the most talented teams in the league. However, all of that offensive firepower they had last year has already started to taper, with the Packers’ gaining strength in the meantime. They will be in the thick of it until Week 17, but that window will never be as open as it was last year.
Is it crazy that I am almost more worried about Cutler than Favre in 2010?