Brett Favre Retires: Eight Reasons This Is Good News For Vikings
The initial reaction from Vikings fans is to be appalled by the departure of Brett Favre.
Favre turned his back on the rival Green Bay Packers, a franchise that employed him for 16 years, by coming to Minnesota.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Percy Harvin, and Sidney Rice all had breakout years with Favre at the helm.
He took the franchise to the brink of it's first Super Bowl Championship.
Now it looks like he has hung up his cleats for the final time. However, as with any situation, there are positive aspects to Favre's recent announcement.
The Vikings must look past the retirement in order to succeed in the post-Favre era. Here are eight reasons why the Favre retirement could be good for the Vikings.
It Forces The Vikings To Look For a Long-Term Solution
There was a long-term solution for the Vikings available for the Vikings.
However, the Vikings foolishly decided to pass on his services in order to court Brett Favre.
Of course, telling an all-time great like Favre, coming off a career year, to stay in Mississippi is difficult, but McNabb is only 33 and could have been signed to a three to five-year contract.
McNabb still plays at an elite level, and would have more weapons around him than he did in Philly. Favre may have brought the Vikings a Super Bowl, but McNabb could have turned them into a dynasty.
That opportunity, however, has come and gone, and the Vikings must move on. The team must turn to Tavaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels, or an outside source to quarterback the team.
Tavaris Jackson Will Be Forced to Step Up
When the Vikings traded up to get Tavaris Jackson in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, coach Brad Childress claimed Jackson was a "diamond in the rough", and would eventually become a franchise quarterback.
Jackson has great raw skills. He has a great arm, and is quick on his feet. In the 30 games he has played since the 2006 season, Jackson has more touchdowns (21) than interceptions (18).
He has a competent quarterback rating of 77.9, but cannot complete throws outside of the pocket—an important aspect of any fleet-footed quarterback's game—and crumbles under pressure.
Jackson will likely get the nod to start for the Vikings next year, but with Sage Rosenfels breathing down his neck he will be forced to pull it together mentally, produce, or sit on the bench.
Hopefully, with added pressure, Jackson will become the quarterback the organization thought they were getting in 2006, and lead the Vikings to prominence in coming years.
Sage Has a Chance to Shine
If Jackson flounders, recently acquired Sage Rosenfels, a lifetime backup, will have a chance to prove himself in the NFL.
Rosenfels, Iowa born and raised, has yet to feel the wrath of the natives, and may feel at home in the Midwest with the Vikings.
In his stops in Washington, Miami, Houston, and Minnesota he has accumulated 4,156 yards passing, a 30:29 touchdowns to interceptions ratio, and a quarterback rating of 81.2.
Rosenfels was upset that he was unable to compete for a job last year after hearing of Favre's arrival, and may have a chance to prove himself with the team in the upcoming year.
The Franchise No Longer Caters to One Player
It's all been said: he's a legend, a Hall of Famer, and the man to lead the team to the promised land.
Certainly he's been around long enough (19 seasons), has seniority (40 years old), and was playing in the same West Coast offense.
However, by allowing Favre to hold out, miss training camp, and personally escorting him to the off-season facility, the Vikings are sending a message that he is more important than the franchise.
With the announcement of his retirement, the Vikings can focus on a team-first mentality,and get everyone on the same page. Without giving special favors, the team can build camaraderie necessary to pull out wins in close games.
Adrian Peterson Will Thrive With a Bigger Role
Adrian Peterson got off to a slower start with Favre behind center. Favre would reportedly change plays at the line, taking carries away from Peterson, which ultimately reduced the running back's numbers.
Peterson's 1,383 rushing yards in 2009 were similar to his rookie season (1,341), but less than the 1,760 he had during his sophomore campaign.
Last year, however, Peterson did score 18 touchdowns. Many of these scores came through the air.
Without Favre, Peterson will be expected to carry a bigger load, and should thrive with more responsibility. As a passing threat, he can help Jackson by becoming a viable option if the quarterback must check down due to heavy coverage.
Vikings Know Sidney Rice Is a Threat
The Vikings expected to get a steal when they drafted Sidney Rice in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
His first two years in Minnesota were less than spectacular.
He had a decent rookie year, with 396 yards with 31 receptions, but in 2008 his production was reduced in half (15 receptions, 141 yards).
However, with Favre at the helm Rice had a breakout season last year. With 83 receptions and 1,312 yards, Rice emerged as the go-to receiver in the Vikings lineup.
Jackson should understand what Favre did to get Rice the ball, and, with increased confidence, he should become a primary target and an elite receiver in the NFL.
No More Drama
No more courting. No more crying. No more distractions.
It's time for the Vikings to move on, and eliminate distractions from the locker room.
Without a rift between players who feel the team was justified in finding a replacement for Jackson the team must now rally around him in order to repeat as division champs.
They Are a Playoff Team Without Favre
The Vikings are strong on both sides of the ball, and if Jackson steps up there is no reason why they should not take the NFC North for the third straight year.
Jackson has plenty of weapons around him. Visanthe Shiancoe, and Sidney Rice emerged as go-to players. Percy Harvin is a threat from the backfield or on the flank, and Bernard Berrian can spread the secondary.
To open up the defense he can hand the ball to Adrian Peterson, who is in the prime of his career, and Toby Gerhart, who is coming off a great year at Stanford.
On defense the Vikings have a savage front line that consists of eccentric end Jared Allen,Pat,and Kevin Williams to stuff the run.
If E.J. Henderson stays healthy, he, along with Chad Greenway, and Ben Leber make up one of the best linebacker trios in the league.
If the Vikings' safeties can step up to the level cornerbacks Cedric Griffin, and Antoine Winfield are playing at quarterbacks will have a tough time passing against the Vikings.
In 2008 a less talented Vikings team won the NFC North without Favre. Even with a stronger division, both Green Bay and Chicago have improved in the off season.
The Vikings should be a playoff team under Jackson.