Brett Favre Ankle Surgery: Should the Vikings Have Had a Better Backup Plan?

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IApril 30, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings walks towards the sidelin with his head down against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in overtime. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Beaten and broken, Brett Favre limped off the Superdome field after several vicious hits by New Orleans' rabid front seven.

Bobby McCray came in low for a hit on Favre that twisted his ankle late in the third quarter of January's NFC Championship game against the Saints. Team doctors began looking at the injured left ankle of the old gunslinger, who stayed true to form and played through it.

What they didn't know, though, was that the ankle would require surgery to repair.

In fact, no one knew that until this morning, when the news broke.

Plenty of talented quarterbacks hit the free-agent wire, others were traded, Jimmy Clausen plummeted into the second round of the draft, and, all the while, the Vikings didn't budge.

Either the club is supremely confident in incumbent backups Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson, or they just simply misjudged the situation beyond reasonable measure.

They didn't want to upset the drama queen by drafting a quarterback, but did they miss out on their next king of the franchise?

Now, having skipped on searching for the heir to the throne this year, the Vikings may end up with the same result they would have had if they'd broken the 41-year-old's confidence in doing so: a roster without Favre.

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Could Favre have done a better job communicating the status of his ankle? Should he have been more proactive about getting it checked on instead of waiting until after the draft to reveal its unrecovered status?

The answers to both are an emphatic "yes."

Dr. James Andrews said that the ankle would, without question, require surgery in order for Favre to play. That sounds like a diagnosis that could have been obtained several months ago, perhaps even under a week after it happened. That would have given Favre a bit more time to decide if he wanted to have the surgery or retire, but now it's questionable whether he'd be back on time if he goes under the knife.

In the first place, it seems odd, to me, to hang the hopes and future of a franchise on the whims of a man who seems to be decidedly indecisive. After all, he made it a point to state that he doubted he'd return for another year at the end of the NFC Championship game, only to keep the Vikings in doubt for four months before this story broke.

But now, the Vikings' uneducated decision is really starting to look bad. The injured Favre may bow out of professional football, leaving the proven starter's throne vacant to players who bring 60-percent of what Favre does.

With what Favre did for the Vikings, propelling a team with potential to just seconds from a Super Bowl berth, it's understandable why the Vikings would want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Never, though, should the team have hitched their future to the Favre wagon, the wheels of which are falling apart as the engine can't even decide if it wants to make the trip.

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