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Wednesday's Notebook: Why the Favrephobia?

Favregeddon Turns Into Favrephobia

I mentioned this story on Tuesday night but was surprised to see it buried on the Strib's website and receiving only scattered attention elsewhere.  According to Rasmussen Reports, only 29% of Minnesotans feel that signing Favre is a good idea for the Vikings, while 42% think it's a bad idea and the rest aren't sure.  What I found even more surprising is that 44% would be less likely to support public financing for a new Vikings stadium if the team inked Favre -- and for only 7% of those polled, the acquisition of Favre would make them more likely to support a stadium bill.

I don't get it.  For one, I'm stunned that a hypothetical signing of Favre has such an impact on the team's public support for a new stadium.  No, publicly financing a new stadium has never been terribly popular and probably isn't becoming any more popular, but it's surprising that bringing a single player into the mix could apparently threaten to cause so much political damage for a team that's spent years struggling for a stadium.

One possibility is that those being polled simply disapprove of the Packers organization rather than the player -- that is, they think signing Favre is a bad idea because they don't like the Packers.  Maybe they think Favre is too old to contribute.  Maybe they see the media circus surrounding Favre and think he'd be a distraction.

And that's just trying to explain the disapproval of the Vikings fans who were polled -- there's a good amount of Packer Backers in Minnesota and it's easy to see why'd they disapprove of Favre signing with the Vikes.  That could be another factor contributing to the surprising poll numbers.

Moving on, I'll catch you after the jump for some talk about ESPN's preseason power rakings, a Percy Harvin interview, what Pat Williams thinks about Tarvaris Jackson, and the latest on the Williams Wall lawsuit.

Stuck in the Middle

ESPN's first power rankings of the new season are out, and The Worldwide Leader placed the Vikings in 14th -- with the Bears two spots ahead of them at #12, the Packers trailing at #17, and the Lions obviously in dead last.  Here's Kevin Seifert's blurb on the Vikings from the article:

Subject to change based on the Vikings' pursuit of Brett Favre. Without him, they have the same major question -- quarterback.

A decent ranking, and yes, with all the unknowns this team has at the quarterback position right now, I can reluctantly understand why ESPN put the Vikes behind the Bears in the rankings.  As Seifert himself suggested, the addition of Favre would be good for a decent boost in the rankings and should unquestionably put them above Chicago.

Phat Pat to T-Jack: Work Harder!

You've gotta love this news, because it's something we've been waiting for and something that will be good for the team.  I'm talking about a respected veteran stepping up and calling out Tarvaris Jackson.

The support expressed, at least in public, for T-Jack by members of the team has been admirable.  When you've got a young quarterback leading the charge for your team, it's nearly impossible to prevent some frustration from leaking out into the press -- but this group of guys has been exceptionally good about supporting Tarvaris.

Still, I don't mind one bit the quote Pat Williams recently gave to Sirius NFL Radio about the young quarterback:

“I talk to Tarvaris all the time (and) tell him you have to put in the time,” Williams said. “This ain’t college no more. This is the NFL. You have to put in more time than you are used to putting in. If you are putting in four hours, you have to put in eight. You have to put in more time than what he’s doing. I think if he puts the right time in, he will be a great quarterback in the league.”

It's been one of the aggravating parts of watching Tarvaris: You know the physical tools are there, as he can be very elusive when under pressure and has an outstanding arm, but there are lots of technical kinks in his game that have held him back.  I think it's perfectly reasonable to wonder if he's been putting the time in to work these kinks out of his game -- and if he hasn't been putting enough time in, he needs to be called out. 

Phat Pat's absolutely on-target: Doing the work to fine tune his game is what now stands between Tarvaris and his ability to become a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL.  He has the raw skill but not the polish.

So I'm glad Pat spoke up about this -- although Tarvaris has been given support in the past from his teammates, we're well past the point of handing him with kid gloves.  He's got a lot of work ahead of him, and he needs to realize that.

On another note, I loved this comment from the article:

By the way, when a relatively old, and relatively fat guy on your team is calling you out for lazines…well, that’s gotta sting a little.

Hey now!  Yeah, it's somewhat ironic that a guy who looks like this is telling T-Jack to shape up, but Young Jackson's gotta respect his elders!

Percy Harvin: Seriously, I'm not Evil

Mr. Harvin has already convinced Chilly that he's actually an OK guy, but what about the rest of us?  Well, he had a word for us in an interview with Bob Sansevere:

When you read stuff about me, you'd think I'm always evil. But I'm actually kind of a goofy person. I'm a real outgoing person.

Regrets? Just in my past. Just in the way I handled things. I always shouted and yelled, and even though I was right, I didn't go about it the right way. If I learned that at a younger age, a lot of my problems wouldn't have occurred.

Easy, one's accusing you of being an accomplice to this guy or anything.  We just want to make sure you'll stay somewhat out-of-trouble.  No, you're not expected to be an altar're just expected to avoid being a distraction to the team while providing a positive influence in the locker room.

That's why I think speculation about "character concerns" in players often gets overblown.  Not just because players' personal lives are under more scrutiny than ever, but because we're really not asking much from them.  Don't do anything too stupid while off the field and do your job while on the field.  To read this interview and claim Harvin is somehow a "bad" guy would be absurd -- he just needs a little guidance, and I'm sure that will be provided.

League Appeals Williams Wall Case

As you know by now, a federal judge dismissed all but two of the Williams Wall's claims against the NFL -- with those two claims now heading to state court.  The league obviously wasn't pleased with the continuation of this case in a new arena and has appealed the decision:

In Tuesday's filing, attorneys for the NFL said they will ask the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to review whether Magnuson misapplied federal law when he didn't dismiss those two claims outright.

There you have it...another twist in this saga.  The Williamses have a case that's absolutely worth pursuing, but dang, it's hard to see an end in sight to this.