In what seems like ages ago now, some optimistic blogger wrote:
[Vick signing with the Eagles] is going to become the new media obsession. His first practice, first preseason game, the time he'll have to sit out, the reinstatement, the first regular season game. We're going to hear about it all. In all things, there is an upside, though--at least we won't get anymore stories about Brett Favre's un-re-un-re-un-re-un-re-tirement for a while.
Well, it was true. For all of 3 days. Thank you, Jay Glazer, for picking at this scab.
Favre is clearly one of the better QBs in NFL history, and he's a no-brainer to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. And this is coming from a guy who watched Favre burn his favorite team more times than he can count over the past 15 years. I'm no fanboi. But unless time travel is finally available and the Vikings get the mid- to late-90s era Favre, this really isn't going to be a major impact to the bottom line.
Favre is the type of QB who can go out and single-handedly win you a couple of games you had no business winning. Last year's 6 TD performance against the Cardinals is a case in point--the Jets give up 35 points at home, yet win running away. There is no doubt that Favre can still have a similar effect for the Vikings a year later, and perhaps give the Vikings another one or two wins in games they had no business winning.
He's also capable of producing some absolute clunkers. He was dreadful down the stretch for the Jets last year. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt for his injury (which is pretty generous considering he hasn't recovered yet and still hasn't met Brian Urlacher on the field this season), he's turned in some memorable collapses in recent years when the stakes were highest: the 6 INT performance against the Rams during the 2001 playoffs or the 4 INT performance against the Vikings during the 2004 playoffs, for starters. How about the INT in overtime at home against the Giants in his last playoff game?
Here's the bottom line: Favre wearing Viking horns will result in the Purple winning a couple of games they shouldn't have won. It will also result in the Purple losing a couple of games they shouldn't have lost. The end result will be a wash--a couple ecstatic victories for a couple of agonizing losses.
If the Vikings go anywhere this year, it is going to be on the strength of the defense and the dynamic power of their running game. Those are traditionally a pretty strong basis for a championship team. Sage Rosenfels, the starting QB of the current 10 minutes (at least), isn't going to make anyone flash back to the days of Fran Tarkenton. But he's likely to be acceptable enough to pull a Trent Dilfer for the team and give them a shot.
One could debate the analogy between Rosenfels and Dilfer, but that would sort of be like arguing who you'd rather have save your life if you needed emergency surgery: Frank Burns or Nick Riviera. If you're in that situation in the first place, you've done something horribly, horribly wrong, and that's what the Vikings have managed to do to themselves at QB during the Brad Childress era. Luckily for the Ravens, it worked out with Dilfer. It remains to be seen if it will with the Vikings, or if they'll go with another doctor entirely with Favre, the football equivalent of Dr. Jekyll (and Mr. Hyde).