This will in all likelihood be the final installment of the running story RE Peyton Manning, as the cold hard reality is he is likely to end up with another team here shortly- Arizona, Miami*, Washington**, New York Jets, Tennessee*** are all strong candidates- but, hey, since we're free to speculate now without running afoul of NFL tampering laws, let's give it just one more go for ol' times sake.
*My money is on Miami- Peyton vs. Tom Brady twice a season, giving Manning at least the opportunity to really solidify himself as the better of the two, something we all know he wants. **Conversely, Peyton vs. Eli twice a season doesn't strike me as something Peyton would look forward to. ***Tennessee would be the ‘Brett Favre' move for him, but seeing the teary-eyed joint press conference today, I have a bit of a feeling that Peyton doesn't have enough acrimony towards Indy to make this move.
Just as before, I've re-edited this story, placing the original parts after the jump, with the dates of the info on the top to keep things clear. But before making said leap of faith, let's review one other important piece of information here, aside of course from the fact that Manning's FA status is actually factually official now- the video that appears to show Manning throwing deep, and throwing deep well. It certainly seems to be a key indicator that Manning may actually have enough of his arm strength back to be the perennial contender he once was, and if that's true, then this is a guy who could potentially take a strong enough team to multiple Super Bowls within the next 4-5 years. Of course, are the Vikings that strong enough of a team? As many have pointed out, there's a gulf of difference between us and our 2008/ 2009 incarnation, when all it took was a great QB to make us the best team in the NFL.
And of course, as Eric pointed out earlier, the apparent interest in bringing back one Mr. Sage
Rosencopter Rosenfels would certainly seem to rule us out- having three QBs is often one more than many an NFL team; having four is almost (almost) unheard of.
So again, as before, feel free to re-read past thoughts on this, or just jump straight to the comments and pick it all back up where we last left off. Also, if you actually haven't voted in the poll yet, now would be the time.
Okeedokee, let's do this. LEAP OF FAITH!
Semi-Original Story Lines: February 7th, 2012
Since we last discussed the inevitable discussion, there have of course been some interesting developments. The biggest of course is that Peyton Manning's doctors have cleared him to play, but Jim Irsay has said that the Colt's doctors have not.
There are two ways (at least) to see this information. One, Peyton Manning really isn't ready to play yet, but he got some ‘friendly doctors' to say so. Of course, when it comes to medical stuff, it's never as cut and dried as we'd all love to believe- hence the whole ‘second opinion' thing that exists in the medical community. The second possibility here, and I've got to give credit to my grandmother for thinking this one right off the bat before I had even considered it, is that Irsay is making sure he's got a good reason to either cut or trade Manning. Despite the fact that Indy's getting Lucky, there's no denying Manning's impact on that franchise and that city, and his popularity amongst the fans is extreme. Even if it is the logical decision to do so, Irsay may face major fall-out from the fan base for cutting Manning just to move on- hence his desire to have a good reason to do so.
Either way, it is almost a near certainty that Manning will not be a Colt for much longer. Whether he will be an outright free agent,
or potential trade bait prior to March (when the Colts will owe him his big bonus), is a different story entirely. My money is on Irsay swinging a trade- he could easily net at least a first rounder plus some for Manning, and for a team that's rebuilding, that's by and far the smart route to go. Edit: Clearly I was wrong. However, Peyton Manning is a unique player in many capacities, and he is one of the few who could essentially determine his own future. If Irsay were to set up a trade for a team that Manning has no interest in playing for, don't count out his ability to block it himself.
Furthermore, rumblings are that the Tennessee Titans fan base has already started a little grass-roots movement to get Manning. There are a few things to mention on this front, as it's very interesting to me. First off, I can't imagine Irsay would trade Manning inter-divisionally; that would be suicide in many senses. Conversely, Manning would likely love to play for the Titans, because a.) they are a good team with a good O-line that he could easily take into at least a few deep playoff runs, and b.) he could totally Favre the crap outta Indy for at least a year or two by doing so. Now mind you, this whole ‘get Manning' thing is a fan movement, and the team itself has said nothing- but it is equally important to remember that teams are not allowed to talk about any real desire to get Manning outside of the vaguest hypotheticals, because as Manning is still a Colt, it could violate league tampering laws. One would think the Titans would be interested in him, but there's no guarantees.
So, Viking fans, let's continue this discussion.
Two (edit: now just one) thought s to ponder here, as well as continuing to discuss the topics brought up originally below. Thought the first- if Manning were to be put on the trade circuit, should the Vikings make an offer, and how much? For a rebuilding team, trading away first round picks is not an ideal thing, to be sure, but would a player of Peyton Manning's caliber make that a rule to break? And secondly only, let's continue a discussion that was brought up in the comments from our first round- what are the odds Manning, should he be a free agent with his own fate in his hands, would be interested in joining the Purple Pride? What would we, what could we, offer him to make it an "offer he couldn't refuse"? (Or, of course, should we offer anything at all?)
Original Story Lines- January 30th, 2012
OK- so let's get to it. Peyton Manning, arguably at least the greatest QB of this generation, is looking more and more certain to become a completely unrestricted free agent in the near future, likely in early March. Of course, we could all be thrown for a loop and have the Colts decide to retain him and either draft/ not draft Andrew Luck regardless (although the Colts have openly state they intend to take Luck), but signs are pointing more and more towards Manning's time in Indy being over, with the public spat between him and owner Jim Irsay being perhaps the biggest indication.
For quite a few NFL teams, this leads therefore to the big question- to get Manning, or not to get Manning. Currently the two biggest names floated out there for said pick-up would be the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, although much of this is still all speculation, as you can't really do anything more than that while Manning still is with the Colts, and while his health still does remain uncertain.
And while the Vikings have not said anything either way, I know the question would of course come up for us. I knew before I even wrote this that the first two reactions would be a.) "OMG PEYTON MANNING! GETHIMGETHIMGETHIM!!!!!", and b.) "OMG NOT ANOTHER OLD QB NONONONONO!!!!". Both reactions, while knee-jerk in nature, are quite valid. Peyton Manning is, after all, Peyton Manning- he's a guy who can QB you right to the Super Bowl. Conversely, he is older now, has recently had serious health issues with his longevity on the field put to serious question, and Viking fans are, by and large, sick and tired of the ‘old QB carousel' that has happened in Minnesota, with Brett Favre's 2009 miracle being really the only positive during that time. (Edit on that thought- re-reading it, I have no clue how I didn't count the 1998 season with Randall Cunningham in that; as much as it's remembered as ‘Randy Moss' Rookie Year', Cunningham certainly deserves considerable credit.)
But there are more layers to this onion than just those two obvious thoughts. What about Christian Ponder? What about Joe Webb? Is adding a veteran QB- granted, one, who if healthy, probably has about 4 more years of very high-level play still left in his tank- entirely a wise move with our current QB situation? Would Manning accept being our lead QB all while also playing mentor to two potential starters down the road? And what of said two potential starters- after battling for the #1 spot, with the word being that battle would continue in the coming season's training camp (and likely right through pre-season), would they be OK with that battle immediately becoming for the #2 spot, a la what happened to T-Jack when Favre came to town? Is our team good enough right now for immediate Super Bowl runs, even with Manning the magnificent behind center? Is Manning healthy enough to survive behind our O-line, which, even should we get Matt Kalil, is likely to still be at best league average in 2012? And what of the salary cap- is it financially feasible for us to have such a surely expensive player on the roster?
Discuss all below!