Brett Favre's Arrival in Minnesota Cripples Vikings

Peter BukowskiSenior Analyst IAugust 18, 2009

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - AUGUST 18:  Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress (L) walks with Brett Favre #4 after finishing  a passing drill during a Minnesota Vikings practice session on August 18, 2009 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Favre has reportedly agreed to play for the Vikings, a reversal of his announced retirement.  (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

I’m sick of writing about it to be honest. In fact, I think I’m going to pull a Bill Simmons and only refer to him by pseudonyms rather than his actual name. I like “Bredidict Favrald” or just “The all time interceptions leader.”

But since, I’ve already gone through it ad-nauseum, I won’t waste any more time about who is to blame for Favre’s departure from Green Bay. Anyone who knows me or has read my column understands my position.

That being said, now that Brett will be playing purple and gold, there is an interesting parallel that can be drawn between what happened this summer and what happened last summer in Green Bay.

When Favre left the Packers they were an ultra-talented, but mostly young football team. They had a 1,000 yard rusher, two 1,000 yard receivers, a set of All-Pro corners, and an All-Pro pass-rusher.  The team without Favre had question marks at quarterback, but other than that was relatively set at most positions.

The Vikings have a 1,000 yard rusher (really two), a 1,000 yard receiver (almost), a Pro-Bowl corner, a set of All-Pro defensive tackles, and an All-Pro pass-rusher. The team without Favre has question marks, but other than that is relatively set at most positions.

There is talent on the offensive line, but inconsistency and lost veteran presence could mean some struggles, at least early on. That could go for either the Packers or the Vikings.

The point that I’m trying to make is when Ted Thompson decided not to bring Favre back, he saw the big picture. The Packers could make one last run with Favre, and leave the team with no direction, particularly with the heir apparent at quarterback riding the pine yet again.

Or, the Packers could give Rodgers the shot, and allow this ultra-talented—if inexperienced—team to learn and make it’s way in the world. Now, however, they have an opportunity to grow together and develop their own leadership and identity without Favre, knowing that he wouldn’t have been there much longer anyway.

With Favre in Minnesota, the question isn’t so much about this year, but what happens in 2010? What if Adrian Peterson, much like he has throughout his football career, struggles to stay healthy? What about Favre’s health?

The Vikings are selling out for one, maximum two season of Brett Favre.  You’re going to take touches away from the most dynamic player in the NFL to give it to a quarterback who lead the league in interceptions last year and has been a Pro Bowl caliber player just once in nearly a decade?

The Vikings are crippling themselves, all to win the one game this franchise has never won, and the only one that really counts.

The problem is, Brett Favre doesn’t make the Vikings the team to beat in the NFC. They aren’t better than the Giants, or the Eagles if they’re healthy. They certainly aren’t better than the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, or Chargers.

So the upside is becoming a contender, though certainly not a prohibitive favorite, instead of doing a favor to your team and letting them grow together. If they can’t win with Brett Favre, the psyche of this team will be shot. 

Vikings management has already made it clear they don’t think the team can win with this set of quarterbacks. Add Favre and they still don’t win, then what? You have a team post-Brett Favre who thought all they needed was a quarterback. They got one, and still didn’t get it done.

That would do some serious damage.

Speaking of damage, even Favre himself doesn't know how seriously injured his shoulder is, or how healthy he will be this season. In fact, we learned in his press conference today that Favre's rotator cuff was still torn even post-surgery. 

The soon-to-be 40-year-old has broken down at the end of the last two seasons, and struggled to play in cold weather. Now he's going to play hurt for a whole season instead of just the end?

They are taking a huge risk, not just with the shoulder, but that Favre will make them so much better the Vikings will not only make the playoffs, but get home field through out. A trip to the Meadowlands or the Linc in January could mean a problem for the once invincible in cold-weather Favre.

I want to close by adding just a brief aside. Packers fans have to feel slighted. They’re angry, and if they could, plenty of people would want to put on a helmet and shoulder pads to come on a corner blitz from the blindside to take Favre out.

The players in Green Bay feel the same way.

Nick Barnett had this to say when asked about playing against Favre, “After all those years of not being able to hit him do I want to hit him? Of course I want to hit him.” Aaron Kampman simply quipped, “The red jersey will be off.”

They understand Brett came back, at least in part, to stick it to the team he says pushed him out of town. Expect the players still residing on that team to be more than happy to stick it right back because they want to show they can win without Favre.

That is the kind of mentality the Vikings ought to be instilling in their team. So don’t judge this deal based on what happens just this season. See the big picture, like TT did. Maybe you’ll see just how big a mistake this is.