Another off-season is upon us, another season of speculation about the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback situation. Brett Favre unretired for the second time last year to lead the Vikings to another NFC north title but not quite to the Super Bowl. Not only did he return to play football at an age that is down right geriatric in the hard-hitting and fast-paced NFL, but Brett Favre also had one of the best seasons of his career. Fans and players both hope the 40-year-old quarterback will don purple again in 2010.
While it would be fantastic to have another season with Brett Favre leading the Vikings offense, I have a sinking feeling we won’t get it. I’m a ray of sunshine that way. The only certain thing in all this uncertainty is that no one really knows who’ll be the starting quarterback for the Vikings in 2010.
Gee, like that’s a new one.
Just look at the last two seasons. This year Sage Rosenfels and Tavaris Jackson were to duel it out in training camp for the starting position, then Brett Favre signed with the team and Rosenfels and Jackson were warming the sidelines, clipboards in hand. The previous year Tavaris Jackson was the starter. And Coach Childress was adamant that Jackson was the starter, right up to the point when he benched Jackson in favor of Gus Frerotte. Why should next season be any more certain than the last couple?
Life is sometimes described as “nasty, brutish, and short.” Life in the NFL looks a little worse but with better compensation. Football is remarkably temporary. It’s a fickle, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sport where the average career is somewhere around 11 to14 years. No one knows from one violent, fast play to the next who will be the starter for the next play. If you like consistency or long careers, watch golf.
It’s one of the wonders of the age that Brett Favre managed to play every game in the 2009 season. In just the Vikings game against the New Orleans Saints for the NFC championship Favre was hit so many times that I winced every time he took a snap because the odds were pretty good that he’d be pounded into the turf like a tent peg. But that game wasn’t unique. Vikings coaches and players sold Favre on playing for Minnesota saying he’d simply have to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson. Easy peesy lemon squeezy. But the running game stymied and Favre ended up throwing the ball like it was going out of style. And, since he spent all that time in the pocket trying to throw the ball, it would have been nice if he had had the offensive line to protect him. Sure Steve Hutchinson is good and so it Anthony Herrerra, but both Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan were first year starters. And then there’s Bryant McKinnie.
Is anyone really surprised that Bryant McKinnie, Love Boat scandal graduate, was dismissed from the Pro Bowl for excessive partying? He lobbied for fans to vote him to the Pro Bowl and then blew off most of the meetings, the picture, and all but one of the practices leading up to the Pro Bowl. His foot and ankle, apparently, hurt too much to show up for a picture or practice, but not enough to interfere with his busy schedule of partying and going to strip clubs. While this happened in the off-season, I can’t help remembering the amazing frequency with which Favre got hit because defenders were able to over-power 6’8” 330 lb Bryant McKinnie. Would you want to come back for another year if you knew all that stood between you and being horribly mangled was Bryant McKinnie?
If the Vikings are going to seriously court Brett Favre and bribe him into playing the second year on his contract with them, then they have to give him better protection than he’s been getting. And, with all the hassles of an uncapped 2010 season, the Vikings don’t have the same freedom to acquire that protection for Favre that they did a year ago. Faced with that, I don’t see Favre coming back for another year. Having Favre on the Vikings was fun while it lasted, but the 2010 looks like it will be yet another quarterback surprise.
*This piece is also posted at vikingsmix.com under my alter-ego Skol Girl. Check it out and get your fix of blogs and news stories about the Minnesota Vikings.