From the Catbird Seat: "A four-gone conclusion?"
Weren't we here last year, discussing this same topic?
As he is wont to do, the person of one Brett Favre is dominating the sports
headlines around the Upper Midwest, with the age-old question (if you'll
pardon the expression); will he, won't he, and if he does, where will he
Opinion in Vikingland has long been split on the subject of whether Favre
should play for the Purple. Soon to be 40 years old, Favre's reputation
as a Hall of Fame quarterback takes a back seat only to his reputation for
having a Hall of Fame ego.
Perhaps a part of that is due to the rivalry between the Vikings and the
Packers. Certainly there is no love lost between the teams and reports
indicate that Favre himself was upset over the way his 'retirement' of last
season was handled by the Packers.
Hence, all the talk about Favre coming to Minneapolis last season. Of
course, the Packers' trade with the Jets, and the insertion of a poison pill
into that trade that would have made a move to the Vikings prohibitively
expensive, stopped that sort of talk.
Yet now, after Favre's release by the Jets, the questions are being asked
again. Now it would cost the Vikings nothing except salary to obtain the
signature of their greatest rival of the last twenty years - if he wants to
Favre hurt his arm late last season and was clearly not the same quarterback
who had led the Jets to early-season success. There is rampant speculation
on whether that arm will be ready for the start of training camp - if,
indeed, there will be training camp at all for him.
The Twin Cities media coverage of the saga has at times resembled a
Pop-tart magazine tracking the movements of Britney Spears. First Brad
Childress was going to get on a plane to Mississippi to meet with Favre. Then
media reported that he was gone.
Then last week, a Twin Cities TV station did the logical thing and showed up
at Winter Park, to obtain exclusive video of the coach entering the building
when he was supposed to be quite a distance away talking to Favre. And so
the saga goes.
As of this writing, the quarterback says he is still retired. His arm isn't
healed, he hates mini-camps and so-called 'organized team activities' and
so, the speculation remains that he really does want to play but doesn't
want to take part in the drudgery of football in the off-season.
It begs the larger question as to whether the Vikings need him. There was a
great hue and cry among some Viking fans - including in this space - when
the team seemed to make no real effort to trade for Jay Cutler, who went to
the Bears. The Vikings had invested a decent draft pick in Houston backup
Sage Rosenfels but we were left humming the words to the old Peggy Lee hit,
"Is that all there is?"
If the Vikings were to make a serious play for Favre, the answer is
obviously 'no'. Childress' evident desire to talk with the quarterback who
might run his famous 'KAO' would indicate that he's at least open to
exploring his options.
That's a positive step for the coach, who has been guilty of blinkered
thinking, especially on the offensive side of the ball, during his tenure.
The Vikings have tried to upgrade the offense through this draft, with the
selections of Percy Harvin and Phil Loadholt showing they are well aware of
the areas they need to address. Yet quarterback has been the one position
Childress hasn't come close to addressing.
The signing of Favre would indicate that, at least for the short term,
Tarvaris Jackson isn't the answer. Neither, should Favre sign, is
Rosenfels. It does beg the question as to what the coach has been up to
with his signal-callers but in the end it will all boil down to one factor -
Brett Favre's will.
Where there's a will, there's a way. Whether or not Favre wears purple this
season is entirely up to him.