The Minnesota Vikings began to trim their roster down to the mandatory 53 lottery tickets by trading two guys that had done everything possible to make the final cut. Earlier this evening, QB Sage Rosenfels an RB Darius Reynaud were traded to the New York Giants for conditional draft picks. 'Conditional' means that if Reynaud and Rosenfels either suck or don't play it will be a seventh round pick, but if they play a lot and/or tear it up it will be a high draft pick. Considering Eli Manning and Ahmad Bradshaw are ahead of Rosie and Reynaud, I'll go with the former, and if you ask me, the Vikings traded the wrong guys.
My Captain Morgan induced reasoning after the jump.
If I ever get to meet Sage Rosenfels, I'm going to shake his hand and offer to buy him a beer. I can't think of a more difficult position a quarterback has been put in over the last 10-15 years in the NFL than Rosenfels was put in here in Minnesota. He came to the Vikings with a big raise and the promise that he would get a fair chance to compete for the starting job. At the time, that was true. The Favre rumors were distant rumblings, much like a thunderstorm that you saw way in the horizon, one that could go right over you or pass 20 miles to the north.
Well, Hurricane Favre rolled through Minneapolis, and the quarterback situation changed immediately. Before Favre signed, Jackson had been given the nod over Rosenfels, but that went by the wayside as soon as the Gunslinger donned the purple. All of last year, Jackson was the #2 quarterback, and Rosenfels was the highest paid clipboard carrier in America. Nice work if you can get it, but it wasn't what Rosenfels was looking for. But he said all the right things and waited for another opportunity this year.
Rosenfels did nothing to play his way out of Minnesota, but the NFL is a cold business. As the 2010 pre-season unfolded, it became apparent that Tarvaris Jackson was going to be the #2 quarterback if Brett Favre returned, and after the draft, Joe Webb's athleticism couldn't be ignored. So it became an unwinnable battle for Rosenfels, yet like the true professional he is, he fought on.
And in that fight, he out-performed Jackson. Rosenfels got the most playing time, put up better numbers, and generally passed the eye test over Jackson. You can make a solid argument that the veteran experience of Rosenfels outweighs the athletic ability of Jackson. You could really persuade someone when you factor in the athletic ability of rookie Joe Webb, who looked better than both Rosenfels and Jackson at times during the pre-season. But Tarvaris Jackson is no rookie. He is entering his fifth season, and he knows the offense. With the offensive line in flux, his athleticism can't be overlooked in case, you know, the Apocalypse hits. And by Apocalypse I mean Favre getting hurt.
So Jackson it is, and we wish Sage and his family well in the
Big Apple Big Toxic Waste Dump that is New Jersey.
RB Darius Reynaud is in a similar situation. Although I can say I'm not surprised Rosenfels got traded, I am surprised that Reynaud was shipped off. Reynaud always had an uphill battle to make the final 53, and I always thought he was kind of a long shot. But switching from WR to RB was his best chance, and in his defense, he made the most of that opportunity. The Vikings offensive line has been...uh...unsettled so far, and Reynaud looked better than any other of the backup running backs so far in training camp. Like Rosenfels, his performance had to be taken in context with the level of competiton he was going up against, but also like Rosenfels, he passed the eye' test.
What really surprises me about moving Reynaud is I thought his punt return ability combined with his performance in the backfield almost assured him a spot on the roster. I really thought he could be a primary backup to Percy Harvin, as he was able to play either WR or carry the ball, like Harvin, and could be either the punt returner or kick returner. If, you know, the mini-Apocalypse hit. And by mini-Apocalypse I mean Harvin missing significant time because of his migraines.
Yes, I've been backing reynaud on this site since the VIkings announced the position switch, but I honestly thought Reynaud had played well enough to earn a roster spot. However, I don't make those choices, and we should all be thankful. I know a lot of Chilly/TJ bashers will be angry with this move, and I understand that.
But we can do nothing about it other than move on. So move on we will, to New Orleans and the season opener next week.
Without Sage Rosenfels and Darius Reynaud.