Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

The Minnesota Vikings signed Brett Favre yesterday...

Does this mean the Vikings are the NFC favorites to go to the Superbowl? To win the Superbowl? Well, to paraphrase Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction, "Let's not start sucking each other's [lollipops] just yet." While this Vikings fan is excited that we have a quarterback with the experience and skills to win it all, I also want to break this down calmly and rationally.

• Best run-stop defense in the league—you just can't run on them.
• An improving secondary anchored by Antoine Winfield, who just signed a big contract.
• The best running back in the NFL, Adrian Peterson, paired up with pro-bowl caliber running back Chester Taylor—simply the best ground attack in the league.
• First-round pick Percy Harvin adding blinding speed to the passing game and possible the running game as well. This guy's faster than AP, if you can believe that.
• Possibly the best offensive line in the the league, and certainly the best left side tackle and guard to protect Favre's blind side as well as clear out running lanes for the ground game.

• Experience that no other Vikings QB even comes close to.
• The ability to complete third-down passes into tight zones and past defenders.
• The arm strength—surgically rebuilt and tested—to heave the ball downfield to Harvin or Bernard Berrian.
• Mental toughness and on-field leadership, especially late in games.
• Two Superbowls, one win, and the desire to go out on top just one more time.

• Almost 40 years old. I'm 41, and a long walk makes me sore. Can he physically endure the grind of a five-month season?
• Surgically repaired arm that is still not 100 percent.
• Throws lots of stupid interceptions.

Will this work? Experience says no. Joe Montana was younger and healthier when he was traded to Kansas City, and although he made the Chiefs exciting contenders, he couldn't get back up the mountain. On the other hand, the Vikings have had luck in the past with over-the-hill QBs such as Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham. If we only had Randy Moss around for one more season, as well.

Look, here's the bottom line for me. I'm thinking about the Vikings' playoff loss at home to the Eagles. All Tarvaris Jackson had to do was complete a few short third down passes, but every time he just threw the ball into the turf. The Eagles put nine men on the line to stop AP because they knew T-Jack couldn't complete a pass. With Favre, if any defense stacks against the run, he connects for a long pass. If they play nickel, one of the runners gains ten yards. Pick your poison, but the Vikings are good for at least 24-28 points a game this season.

Will all this translate into postseason glory? Who can tell? Last season, it would have been easy to pick Pittsburgh since they're good every year and almost always in the discussion, but Kurt Warner and the Arizona freaking Cardinals? I dare you to find anyone who picked them to win the NFC. Winning a championship takes luck, good health, fortunate calls, hard work and mad skills. With Favre, all the pieces are in place. But they still have to play the games.

But boy, will these games be fun to watch.

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