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Favre in purple and gold would be a big mistake

July 12, 2008
By David Griswold

With the recent speculation on whether Brett Favre will be making a return to the NFL, one question has rose to the forefront.

Would it be a good move for Favre to trade in his Packer green for Viking purple?

It may go against any true Viking fan's belief, but would the 38-year-old gunslinger be the missing ingredient for a purple and gold Super Bowl? It's a simple answer: No!

With the strides the Vikings have made and the confidence head coach Brad Childress has instilled in Tarvaris Jackson, adding No. 4 to the roster would be a regression to the franchise.

There is no doubt Favre is a Hall of Famer, but over the last few years his success had a lot to do with his surrounding cast and the chemistry he had developed with the younger talent. I respect Favre as much as the next guy, but the Vikings don't need a guy to hoist the ball 60 yards downfield for a receiver to make a remarkable catch while under triple coverage?

Favre is infamously known for taking a lot of risks, and though some of them have paid off, a lot of them parlayed into turnovers. With the Vikings' current state, turnovers would be detrimental. Minnesota cannot afford to have someone taking those risks, especially when the root of the offense lies with Adrian Peterson in the backfield.

Does anyone actually believe Favre would enjoy handing the ball off 30 or even 40 times a game? Unless the Vikings can somehow acquire Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, giving Peterson the ball has to remain the gameplan.

Peterson has emerged as one of the best - if not the best - running back in the league. To take away his carries to give Favre the opportunity to throw five or six Hail Mary's down field to an adequate receiving corps would be ludicrous.

Yes, the Vikings acquired Bernard Berrian in the off-season and Sidney Rice has made strides to one day be a reliable receiver. But to ask them to make some of the catches Favre would require them to make would be too much.

The Vikings quarterback situation is most definitely in question, but what Childress and the Vikings have to do is stick with a quarterback for longer than a five-week stint. I think Spergon Wynn may have even be penciled in for a start this year.

Throwing one guy after the next under center is only doing more harm than good. Last season, Jackson began the year with the starting position, but ended up losing it because of of injuries and questionable play. But in the end when the Vikings made a run for the playoffs, it was with one quarterback, T-Jack.

Whether you like him or not, he deserves at least one full season under the helm to not only progress, but to develop chemistry with the guys around him.

When the Vikings finally decided he would be the starter, they made strides toward becoming a playoff-caliber team.

In the final week of the season, the Vikings trailed the Broncos 19-3 and Jackson almost single-handedly brought the team back to force sudden death. Though the Vikings were defeated on a questionable fumble, he still showed the ability to shine at the professional level. What else could you ask for from a young quarterback?

When a team goes out and drafts a Division I-AA quarterback, it is going to take time. But the Vikings have allowed Jackson to start just 14 games in his two-year career - not even a complete season.

Randall Cunningham had made an impact in the NFL for the Eagles, and for a season with the Vikings. In his first two years in the NFL he threw for nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 21 games. Jackson has already thrown for more touchdowns (11) than Cunningham did in seven fewer games. Now Cunningham isn't giving Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino or Tom Brady a run for their money as the greatest quarterback of all time, but he evolved into a solid quarterback. Remember, he almost led the Vikings to their first Super Bowl championship in 1998.

If Minnesota were to bring in Favre, then Childress should trade Jackson to a team that will give him the opportunity to grow and develop.

When looking back at some of the other quarterbacks to come out of the 2006 draft - Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler - Jackson has kept on pace.

Young is the only quarterback to play in a postseason game, but his 21 touchdowns and 30 interceptions are nothing to brag about. Jay Cutler has put up some impressive numbers, but he has also had some proven receiving talent to throw to.

The most proven wide-out Jackson had to throw to was Marcus Robinson, and he never had the opportunity to throw to him as a starter because Childress decided to cut the team's most productive receiver with two games remaining in the 2006 season, exactly when Jackson took over as the starter.

And that brings me to Matt Leinart. Now Leinart has one of the best receiving corps in the league and has thrown for a modest 13 touchodwns and 16 interceptions. With receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, I think Ryan Leaf could put up better numbers.

The fact is, quarterbacks need time to develop. How people can remain patient with Leinart, Cutler, Young and not Jackson boggles my mind.

The jump from college to the NFL has proven to be one the toughest jumps in professional sports. It's even more difficult when it is the most important position on the field.

So before the Vikings go out and pick up a franchise foe in Favre, I hope the team will look within the organization and evaluate the talent and potential.

Favre may have had his time in the sun, but let's hope it remains on the other side of the St. Croix River.



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