In 2009, the Minnesota Vikings have managed to become one of the NFL’s premier teams with an 8-1 record. This hasn’t always been the case in years past, despite a strong running game that complimented a stout defense. Key playmakers had been missing on the offensive side of the ball, most noticeably a consistent threat at quarterback, to match the lethality of the defense. Enter The Land Baron, Brett Favre.
Favre’s presence in the Vikings offense has turned a weak link into a team strength. And while the Silver Fox had signed a two year contract in August to play for the Vikings, the predominant expectation is that Favre’s time as a Viking would be a “one and done” type of deal. Yet Mark Wilf, part owner and president of the franchise, said yesterday that this may not be the case and that the organization would welcome Favre back with open arms in 2010.
“What he’s done for this team is tangible” Mark said. “His exploits on the field are well known, perhaps having single handedly won two of our games thus far, and the influence he’s had on the rest of the team is unrivaled. Brett Favre has brought a calm and steady hand when we’ve needed it most and has really helped some players grow into their own skins. Just look at Sidney Rice, for example. He’s really coming on this year, and a lot of that is reflective of Favre’s ability to share his high football IQ with the people around him. If he wanted to come back and play in 2010, the Vikings organization would be pleased to have him.”
From the distance, a voice chimes in. “Not me.”
The soft, squeaky voice of a forgotten soft-ginger haired quarterback Sage Rosencopter chirps through the cacophony of Mark Wilf laboring on about the benefits of Brett Favre. Rosencopter is wearing a Vikings team hat that has been kneaded ragged and is salt-sweat encrusted after countless hours of holding clip boards and twirling whistles on game day sidelines. He says he has a “nervous twitch” on game days that forces him to roll the bill of his cap for the entire three hours, hoping against hope that the Iron Man Land Baron will get injured, that TarVar will perform horribly and that he will then be asked to step in and lead the team to victory.
“I don’t want that old man back. I want a chance to play! He’s been playing for 70 years!” Rosencopter lamented. “I’ve been through the worst of the worse in my career. I mean, I went to Iowa State for god’s sake! And as a journeyman quarterback, I was excited about finally being given a legitimate opportunity, for the third time maybe, to become a team’s unquestioned starting quarterback with sweet spinning skills, but then Old Gray Beard stepped in and stole the starting spot from me. It’s just not fair!”
Fair or not, the results that Favre have produced are undeniable. Sidney Rice, recently coined “Showtime” by Purple Jesus, has been one such beneficiary. “He’s helped me out immensely.” Showtime has said. “It’s just his experience. The way he reads a defense, audibles to certain plays, trusts his receivers in one on ones … It’s really amazing. I don’t think there’s another quarterback in the league that can do what he does, let alone on our team. Well, for sure not on our team. It’s helped the entire receiving core grow this year.”
“Pfft.” Rosencopter said while crossing his arms with a scowl. “I can throw to you in single coverage too. It’s hard to do when you don’t even get a chance to start though. And I’ve been around forever! I’ve been in the AFC East, the AFC South, I played in the Big XII, I’ve been to Texas several times, I’ve even taken a trip to Mexico once! People can’t tell me that I don’t have experience. I can be old too! What should I do, not shave my pubes for a month? Order the early bird at Denny’s? Shake my fist at teenagers when they drive through my neighborhood fast? Look at me be old!”
Rosencopter hunches over and walks slowly to a refrigerator nearby to grab some Metamucil. But he fails to grasp what the other players and Vikings staff understands; Favre has brought an established passing threat to an offense that sorely needed it. In years past, opposing defenses had no reason to respect the passing game with TarVar’s jump passes, Gus Frerotte’s neck breaking speed, and the bevy of other failure quarterbacks that Coach Childress had sent through a revolving door trying to find some type of threat in the passing game. With Brett Favre, they finally have that threat and a quarterback that knows how to take advantage of beneficial situations.
“Oh, like I don’t know how to take advantage of situations?” Rosencopter said while finishing a game of Solitaire by himself on the bench. “I figured out how to weasel my way from Houston to Minnesota and sign a contract extension without even starting, no problem. And now look at me! I barely have to get dressed on game days and I make more than the second string guy! I’m a damn genius! … Just not when there is a pass rush facing me. That still freaks me out”
Regardless of what Favre decides after the 2009 season about his future, his short time in purple and gold has provided long term benefits to an organization and team that needed leadership at quarterback. What the future holds is anyone’s guess. At some point though, an organization that has experienced surprising success will have to decide on who will take the reigns when Favre ultimately decides to step down.
Rosencopter, naturally, has an enthusiastic response to that question. “I can do it! I know how to ride a horse!”