According to fans of the other teams in the NFC North, over the past few weeks, the Vikings have been screwed because they were going to sign Brett Favre, screwed because they then failed to sign Brett Favre, and most recently screwed because they actually signed Brett Favre. Apparently the Vikings have been screwed so frequently over the past month or so that you'd think Hugh Hefner had moved the Playboy Mansion to Eden Prairie.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all about enthusiasm for your team and everything. But there's a fine line between enthusiasm and delusions of grandeur, and the Chicago players, fans, and media have not only gone over the line, but obliterated it like Pete Rose running over Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game. They'll tell you that they're not afraid of Brett Favre in Minnesota, or what the Vikings' offense can potentially do with him at the helm.
But they are. You're damn right they are. To suggest otherwise is nothing short of hilarious.
Leading the parade of delusion is a guy named Jon Greenberg from something called ESPNChicago. . .apparently there isn't an ESPNMinneapolis, ESPNGreenBay or ESPNDetroit yet. . .who sounds like he's already chalking up two wins for the Bears over Minnesota.
But enough about the fans -- what does Favre's return mean to the Bears? Well, for one, they don't hate it.
Second, get those interception celebrations ready.
Instead of trying to pick off journeyman Rosenfels, they'll have to put their hands into harm's way as the oldest Viking this side of Eric the Red throws bullet pass after bullet pass over, under and around receivers. It's not as if the Bears don't have enough film on the guy. They know his tendencies, his strengths and his weaknesses. Two of his top receivers, Berrian and Bobby Wade, are ex-Bears. Percy Harvin is a rookie. Sure, Favre will make them respect the pass now, but I'm betting that the vets on the Bears' defense are licking their collective chops at the thought of Favre in purple. All those picks, all those sacks.
See, before the Bears get too excited over the prospect of "all those sacks" and "all those picks," there's a teeny, tiny little X-factor that they seem to be forgetting. He wears #28 and lines up behind the quarterback on most offensive plays for Minnesota. His name is Adrian Peterson. Maybe you've heard of him. I know most Bear fans have heard of him. Want proof?
|14 Oct 2007||20||224||11.2||3|
|17 Dec 2007||20||78||3.9||2|
|19 Oct 2008||22||121||5.5||2|
|30 Nov 2008||28||131||4.7||1|
The next time the Chicago Bears stop. . .or even slow down. . .Adrian Peterson will be the first time that the Chicago Bears stop. . .or even slow down. . .Adrian Peterson. Adrian Peterson is to the Chicago Bears what Michael Jordan is to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bears have faced Peterson twice with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback (the two games in 2007) and twice with Gus Frerotte at quarterback (the two games in 2008). They've tried seven-man fronts, eight-man fronts, nine-man fronts, blitzes, run blitzes, stunts, and everything else that the idiot they call Bob Babich can throw at the Vikings' offense. . .
And they've never even come close to stopping him.
And you know. . .in between sending warm, heartfelt text messages to the mother of his son, Brian Urlacher hasn't gotten any younger, and was an outright liability for the second half of last season. Tommie Harris. . .or, as we here in Minnesota know him, "the guy that would be #3 on the DT depth chart if he was a Viking". . .isn't getting any healthier. Don't forget Charles Tillman, who according to the Football Outsiders Almanac, gave up more first downs + touchdowns in coverage than any other CB in the NFL last year, and the 6th most yards in coverage in the league. Rumor has it that he's exploring an endorsement deal with Quizno's, because he's. . .MMMMMMMMMMMMMM, TOASTY. The only guy on Chicago's defense worth being scared of is Lance Briggs, and at last check, he can't do the entire job on his own.
The Bears can't stop Adrian Peterson with Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte calling the signals. What in the sweet blue hell are they going to do against a guy that can actually beat the blitz and make teams pay for putting 8 or 9 guys in the box on every play? It's going to be great to see. . .all those holes to run through. All those missed tackles. All those touchdowns.
And I can already hear the cries of "OMG BUT WE GOT JAY CUTLER WHARRGARBL" emanating from the Windy City. While it's true that Brett Favre threw the most interceptions in the NFL last year. . .does anyone want to take a stab at who was #2 on that list? If your answer was "Jay Cutler," please come down and collect your prize. Favre had a quarterback rating of 81.0 with the Jets last season, and Cutler blistered that with a mind-blowing. . .um, 86.0? That's it? Really? Man. . .and here I thought this guy was the second coming of Sid Luckman. And while Favre played the last month of the season with an injured bicep tendon, Cutler's only affliction during the same time period was attempting to throw passes with both hands wrapped around his throat. The last time we saw Cutler, he was getting pimp-slapped from one side of San Diego to the other by the Chargers in a win-or-go-home game for the AFC West crown.
One other minor caveat. . .he no longer has Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to make him look good, either. Oh, yeah. . .Devin Hester has looked great in practice thus far. And really, why wouldn't he? After all, he gets to go up against the Bears' secondary every day. And for all the hype Matt Forte gets, the run offense that Cutler played with in Denver last year averaged almost a full yard/carry more than Chicago's did last year despite nearly having to bring back Sammy Winder to carry the mail.
Do the Vikings have the best QB in the NFC North? No. The thing is. . .neither does Chicago. As much as it pains me to say it, the best QB in the NFC North resides in Green Bay. . .and if the Packers' transition to the 3-4 goes more smoothly than I expect it to, there's a hell of a lot more reason to be scared of Green Bay in this division than there is to be of Chicago.
The Bears, their fans, and the Chicago media expect everyone to. . .if I can borrow a phrase. . ."crown their asses" immediately. They've acted like the Vikings hardly exist since just before the 2009 Draft. But, at last check, the Vikings are still the team to beat in this division. . .and until the Bears can somehow manage to even slow down Adrian Peterson or get a quarterback that shows that he's worth even 10% of the hype that he's received, the Vikings are STILL the team to beat in this division. I'm sure Bear fans don't like hearing that. . .and, quite frankly, that's just too damn bad. It's a fact, and they can deal with it in their own special way.