Where Gonzo Makes His Case for Brett Favre

As Anthony has informed all of you already, Brett Favre has apparently chosen to have surgery on his injured right shoulder, undergo four to six weeks of rehab, and apparently prepare himself to play football again in 2009.  And, based on the information we've been given to this point in time, it appears likely that the team he's going to play for in 2009 is. . .the Minnesota Vikings.

I've spent a great deal of time over the lifespan of this blog saying less than complimentary things about Brett Favre.  Anyone that's followed the site for any length of time knows this.  And as many of you have been, I've been thinking about what would happen if Favre were to become a member of the Minnesota Vikings.  I don't know what's scarier as it pertains to this situation. . .the fact that we're discussing it in the first place. . .

Or the fact that I'm pretty sure I've convinced myself that this might not be the most terrible idea ever.

On the Field

Now, the natural inclination of many folks will be to look at the last five games of the 2008 season for Brett Favre, and come to the conclusion that he's washed up and done for and whatever else.  The fact of the matter remains that when he's been healthy over the course of the past couple of years, he's done a pretty damn good job of running the offenses he's been a part of.  To wit:

Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT
Pre-injury Favre, 2007-2008 601 882 68.1 6616 48 28
Post-injury Favre, 2008 98 175 56.0 1011 2 9
Vikings QBs under Brad Childress 848 1424 59.6 8824 47 51

Keep in mind, those numbers are generated over 27 games for the pre-injury Favre, five games for post-injury, and 48 games for the quarterbacks the Vikings have used during the Brad Childress era.  Prior to his arm injury, Favre had thrown more TD passes in just over a year and a half than Brad Johnson, Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, and Gus Frerotte combined for in three full seasons of play.  Not to mention the significantly higher completion percentage, which would be a huge boon to this offense.

Now, I'm sure people will also point out that Favre has sort of "worn down" as the season has progressed over the past few years, as his end-of-year performances have suffered significantly as those seasons have worn on.  However, the Minnesota offense is an offense that would work quite well for minimizing this.  How?

In the two seasons since the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson, the team has ranked 32nd (2007) and 28th (2008) in passes attempted.  The team has averaged 442 pass attempts per season for the last two years, or right around 27.6 attempts a game.  Maybe I'm crazy for thinking this way, but I don't think the number of passes this offense attempts is going to increase significantly with Favre at quarterback.  Even if those attempts increased to 30 per game, which would be 480 for the season, Favre has thrown more passes than that in 15 of his 17 seasons as a starting NFL quarterback.

With Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, and the Vikings' offense the way it's currently constituted, this team isn't going to magically start throwing 40 passes per game overnight.  The offense will still be predicated on pounding the ball with the running game, and working the play-action pass off of that.  In addition to that, teams wouldn't be shoving eight guys in the box on every first and second down with Favre behind center.  As a result, Adrian Peterson would be even more effective, which would mean less reasons to throw the football. . .and those 25 to 30 times that we would be throwing the football would be that much more effective.

For the past four or five seasons, Favre has been expected to put his team's offense on his shoulders and carry them to the promised land.  In Minnesota's offense, he wouldn't have to do that.  In New York, prior to his injury, he showed signs of being the caretaker quarterback that this offense needs running it.  In his first 11 games with the Jets, he was completing almost 71% of his passes at a clip of 7.1 yards/attempt.  After his arm was injured during the last five games of the season, his team's running game fell apart as well, forcing him to shoulder (pardon the pun) more of the workload in the Jets' late-season swoon.

If Minnesota could keep him healthy and keep him upright. . .and with the reluctance to blitz that Favre would bring to the offense, there's a reason to think that that's very possible. . .Favre would be an asset to the Minnesota offense.  Not to mention that if he were to get injured, his presence here would have upgraded not only the starting quarterback position, but the two backup spots as well, as we'd have Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson as the #2 and #3 quarterbacks rather than the loser of the Jackson/Rosenfels derby at #2 and John David Booty at #3.

Yes, Favre might only be a temporary Band-Aid on our quarterback situation.  The thing is that Minnesota doesn't have a franchise quarterback at the moment, and there isn't one that's just going to fall into their laps any time soon.  The only way to get a "franchis quarterback" is to spend a season being horrible so you can get one, and then a season or two with him getting his head pounded in so he can "adjust" to the NFL.  This team has a chance to win now. . .and, as much as it pains me to say it and as much as it pains some of you to hear it, a healthy Brett Favre gives us that opportunity.

Now, I realize that, to some people, this is a move that would be seen as high treason by the Beloved Purple.  It wasn't all that long ago that I was one of those people as well.  However, I've acquiesced to the fact that I'm not Zygi Wilf, and I don't control how he spends his billions of dollars or how he tells Rick Spielman or Brad Childress to run his football team.

Also, it's not as though this is the first time this has ever happened with this football team. . .after all, this team brought in Jim McMahon at the tail end of his career, and people absolutely hated Jim McMahon.  Now, I realize that Brett Favre is approximately ten times the quarterback that Jim McMahon ever was, and has inflicted a much greater amount of pain and suffering on fans of the Minnesota Vikings than Jim McMahon ever did.  So, when the Minnesota Vikings take the field in 2009, yours truly will still be cheering for them to win every game and to garner that ever-elusive Super Bowl title, regardless of which players jog out of the tunnel.

Even if one of those players is Brett Favre.

To steal a line from later-day American philosopher Rocky Balboa. . .if I can change, and you can change. . .we can all change.  It sounds like it's inevitable anyway, so we could just as well try to embrace the positive of this whole situation.

And that's it for me until I come back from leave, unless something truly huge and breaking comes up.  Until then, I leave you in the very capable hands of my quartet of co-writers, who will guide you through the next week of Viking football in our own, special Daily Norseman way.  Have a good one, ladies and gentlemen, and we'll see you when I get back!

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