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Northern Direction 01/28/2010

Posted by sportretort in NFL, Sports.
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Enough time has passed for a dispassionate post mortem of the Minnesota Vikings Brett Favre experiment.    As with most things Favre, it is complicated.  Simple, it seems, will not follow this man.

I have said many times that if Favre did not lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl that the drama surrounding his courtship by the Vikings will make his signing a failure.

The year started with coach Childress picking Favre up at the airport

  While I still feel that way since the goal was not reached, I am also not sure that describing his season with the Vikings as a failure is entirely fair.  Some good things happened in Minnesota.  From the perspective of head coach Brad Childress, Favre was a success.  Childress was on the hot seat, and the Vikings hot start earned him a mid-season contract extension.  Having a job next year with the Vikings was not a given, so from Chilly’s perspective, Favre was worth the gamble.  (There are some potential long-term issues we will discuss in a moment.)

There is no denying that Viking nation was energized by Favre.  The Twin Cities were buzzing with Viking Fever all season.  The excitement was visible.  Minnesota won their division for the second straight season, and they were on

The relationship between coach and QB was not always warm

the cusp of an NFC title.  These are good things for the franchise.  Favre got off to a great start.  But to be fair, he did the same thing in New York the season before. The big question was what effects, if any, would there be from his off season sholder surgery.  The good news for the Vikings was that there appeared to be none.   Then, just as had happened the last few seasons, his team cooled off and limped home down the stretch.  They lost 3 games in a 4 game stretch, culminating with a loss on December 28th to a struggling Chicago Bears team that finished the season 7-9.  That loss denied the Vikings home field advantage for the NFC championship game.  In that game, played in New Orleans, the Vikings had survived 4 turn overs to have a chance to win.  Then bad things happened.  A horrible penalty for 12 men in the huddle, after a time out, no less, moved Minnesota out of field goal range.  That made Minnesota call a pass, and after scrambling out of the pocket, Favre decided to throw a pass across his body into the middle of the field rather than run.  There is no guarantee that Minnesota would have made the field goal to win the game, but that interception denied them of the attempt.  It looked like Favre could have picked up 5 to 10 yards, and he said afterwards that he should have run.  Instead, for the second time in 3 years, Favre’s last pass of the season was an ill-advised throw that was intercepted in the championship game that his team then lost in overtime.  It was vintage Favre to try to make an impossible throw.  But that is  water under the bridge.

The question now is where do the Vikings go from here?  Will Favre retire?  If he does, will he stay retired?  Before Minnesota signed Favre, they were already among the

Will Favre's frustration with his last pass bring him back yet again?

 best teams in the NFC.  After they signed him, they changed the nature of the team.  They had been a running team.  Favre made them a passing team.  His dust-up with Childress during the Panthers loss showed who was making that call.  What will happen now.  If Favre retires, can last season’s starter, Tavaras Jackson, reclaim this team?  Will they go back to the running game?  What is the respect level for Childress?  He acquiesced to Favre.   Did that undermine him with the rest of the team?  He also sent the message loud and clear that this team could not win with their other QB options.  So what if now they are back to those QB options? 

It was a great ride for Vikings fans.  Only time will tell if, in the long run, all the disruption was worth winning one more playoff game than last season.  After all there was, again, no Super Bowl for the purple and gold.

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