So Brett Favre told Minnesota that he is, indeed, retiring. Then again, he told us he was through a bunch of times. You've heard it before. Then you saw him come back, play hurt, leave, come back, then have an MVP-caliber season last year at the age of 40.
Just how much more does Favre have left in the tank? We may never know. What I do know, however, is that the Minnesota Vikings have a few reasons to stay optimistic despite Favre's untimely departure.
First of all, let's cover this so I can move on, Favre might come back. Gimpy ankle or no gimpy ankle, when Favre said that the ankle was taking longer to recover because he was 40 years old, I had a feeling this might happen. I found out about his reported retirement this morning. I went to my brother (the bigger NFL fan in the house), who was still sleeping at the time, and opened the door to his room.
"Dude, Brett Favre is retiring."
"Oh. That's cool," he replies.
His take? Favre's coming back. A couple minutes later, I walk back into the house, and my brother went on.
"If Favre is a true competitor, he will come back. Look at the past three seasons. What was Favre's last pass with the Packers?"
An interception in overtime against the Giants in the NFC Championship, a play that Favre could have ran and set up for a field goal, he explains.
Vikings fans, which situation would you prefer?
"What about last season?"
An interception, a pretty dubious one on a blown call at that, against the New Orleans Saints, once again in the NFC Championship.
"He's coming back. I'm almost sure."
So there's that.
And if he doesn't?
The Vikings have a very, very solid team without him. Remember Adrian Peterson? Fumblina is still an All-Pro Running Back. It's another, less noted player, however, that might be the key to the Vikings having another playoff season without Favre:
Tarvaris Jackson. My high school crony Avery once randomly said, "You know who's one of the classiest guys in football? Tarvaris Jackson."
I scratched my head; the aforementioned brother of mine lamented that Jackson was an awful quarterback, and Jackson essentially showed me how raw he was, going 15-35 and throwing a game-deciding pick to Asante Samuel.
Avery insisted, however, that Jackson fought like hell for his starting spot from Sage Rosenfels. Despite that, Jackson took a back seat to Favre after his arrival and continued to "bust his a--" in practice and learn as much as he could. Brad Childress even referred to Jackson as "a sponge, a flatline guy."
On the Favre issue, Jackson says, "It's always back and forth with Brett," before adding, "It's his decision. He deserves the opportunity to decide when he's going to retire or not, whether he wants to retire or not. It's up to him. Right now, I'm just trying to focus on getting better."
Listen, Viking Nation, if your backup quarterback, who had been very literally slighted out of a starting job by Brett Favre, is this optimistic about his situation, shouldn't you guys be? If he's working this hard on improving, I don't see why the Vikings have any reason to worry.
Even with Favre coming back, what are the chances that last year's magic repeats itself, anyway? If Favre comes back this year on a gammy ankle, will it really make the Vikings better than they were last year?
Jackson is a quarterback very capable of delivering; the parts of the Vikings offense are already put together, they just need to hand Jackson the keys, and get him acclimated to the pressure of the NFL, so that the Vikings can contend in the Playoffs for the seasons to come.
At the age of 27, it might be a little bit late, but it just might be time for Tarvaris Jackson's coming out party. All the Minnesota Vikings need at this point, is an official announcement from Favre. If that means anything anymore.