Over the last month, football fans have been inundated with the on-again, off-again Brett Favre saga. He retires, then he un-retires. His surgically repaired arm is sore, but he’s reportedly throwing pain-free. He’s not going to play football, but he’s constantly talking to Minnesota.
What the heck is going on?
Well, leave that side of the saga for the papers and pundits. All we want to know is what the situation means for the Vikings. So let’s make it simple: If Favre is healthy, he’s going to play in Minnesota. So how will that affect the men in purple? Consider the following a guide to Favre fallout:
Winner – Bernard Berrian: Berrian emerged as one of the NFL’s most dangerous deep threats a season ago. His blazing speed and sure-handedness saw him haul in 48 catches for 946 yards – over 20 yards per catch on average. He was also on the receiving end of the longest passing play in the NFL last season, a 99-yard touchdown score against the Bears. He’s the kind of player that would benefit largely from a strong-armed, gunslinging quarterback who isn’t afraid of getting picked off. Sound like anybody you know?
Loser – Adrian Peterson: Because the Vikings’ passing game was so inept a season ago, Peterson was called into extreme duty. Extreme as in the “363 carries for 1760 yards” duty, a lot of work for a guy who plays on the unforgiving Metrodome turf eight games a year. Peterson will probably be called upon less if Favre is behind center, although his pass-catching totals out of the backfield (Peterson only caught 21 passes last year) could increase. Just don’t expect him to surpass 350 carries.
Winner – Percy Harvin: The speed demon from Florida was Minnesota’s first-round (22nd overall) selection in the 2009 Draft, and would be a great tool for Favre to utilize. Harvin is Reggie Bush-like in his ability to run and catch; Minnesota could line him up all over the field and get Favre – the master of improvisational quarterbacking – to simply get him the ball. Harvin is a dangerous open-field runner who can make opposing defenders miss. Think Dorsey Levens in Green Bay during the 1997 season (1,435 rushing yards, 53 catches for 370 receiving yards), one of Favre’s favourite all-time targets out of the backfield.
Loser – Tarvaris Jackson: Things looked bad enough for the 26-year-old Jackson this offseason when Minnesota signed Sage Rosenfels to compete for the starting QB job. After Jackson’s three largely ineffective years with the Vikings, it was time for a change, and in came Rosenfels. But if Favre joins the QB party, what does that say for Jackson? (Hint: It’s not good). In 2006, the Vikings used a second-round pick to select Jackson, then thought to be the QB of the future. Three years later, he could be Minnesota’s the third-stringer. That’s a huge fall from grace.