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News » Brett Favre seen as good fit for Vikings


Brett Favre seen as good fit for Vikings


Brett Favre seen as good fit for Vikings
Rich Gannon believes Brett Favre remains a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. Pete Bercich called Favre a "perfect fit" for the Vikings . Steve Mariucci said Favre could learn the Vikings' offense "tomorrow."


With Favre once again at the center of the NFL world, experts weighed in Wednesday regarding how the future hall of fame quarterback would fit in Minnesota. The consensus is that the guy can still play, even at age 39, but there are plenty of questions that need to be answered, from the health of his throwing arm to his commitment level and motivation for returning. Those are questions sure to be addressed when coach Brad Childress meets with Favre, reportedly sometime this week.

The playbook might be the least of the worries regarding Favre. The Vikings have a more attractive offense now than they did two weeks ago, before they used their top two draft picks to bolster that side of the ball to take pressure off running back Adrian Peterson and the quarterback, whoever that might be.

"From an X's and O's standpoint, it would be perfect," said Bercich, an analyst for KFAN-AM and a former Vikings assistant coach. "They've talked about how, in New York, they used him a lot. They might have overused him, maybe. I guarantee you Childress is either going to show him the film or talk to him about how with (Peterson) standing behind him, he's going to get a lot of one-on-one coverage. He's one of the best play-action passers there ever was."

Combine Peterson with receivers Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin, in addition to a defense that ranked No. 1 against the run last season and No. 6 overall, and a Favre/ Vikings pairing would seem to make a lot of sense, according to experts.

Gannon said it's a much better situation for Favre and the Vikings compared with the New York Jets, who released Favre last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. From the moment he was released, national speculation has focused on Favre signing with the Vikings , the team he reportedly wanted to play for last season following his departure from the Green Bay Packers.

"It's the same verbiage, same terminology," Gannon said of the Vikings' offense and the Packers' system. "The comfort level is so important for a quarterback like that. What they did last year, in New York, they bastardized the system. They made all kinds of changes and tweaks. Everyone had to learn different stuff, because of Brett. He'd audible, and he'd be referring to the old terminology.

"Stepping into this system, with the great running game, and the solid defense... just manage the game, and take care of the Football, there's no reason he can't win 11 or 12 games."

Gannon, the former Vikings quarterback turned CBS analyst, said Favre is an excellent game manager. The 2007 Packers season showed that Favre can play in a system that relies on the running game, Gannon said.

"They ran the ball 35 times, with (Ryan) Grant, play-action, quarterback movement," Gannon said. "You don't win as many games as this guy has won unless you can manage the game. One of his strengths, and I would put him up there in the top three, with (Tom) Brady and (Peyton) Manning, is his ability at the line of scrimmage."

Gannon said Favre's ability to change protections, get out of bad plays and into good plays shouldn't be underestimated.

"You don't see many situations where he's running the ball to a strongside overload," Gannon said.

Favre's age isn't a concern, Gannon believes, but his propensity to throw interceptions and force throws could be. Favre led the NFL with 22 interceptions last season. He threw just two touchdowns and nine interceptions in the final five games, when the Jets disappeared from playoff contention with a 1-4 record.

"A lot of that is the arm injury," Bercich said. "Some of it is that he's getting old. You can arguably say that in the NFC championship game (in 2007), he was already in tail-off mode with the Packers. But the other thing is coaching. Early in the season (with the Jets), he didn't have a lot of games over 30 attempts and they were winning. The passing game was working for them. As a coach, what works for you, you continue to do. They threw more and more and that wore him out. I don't think that's going to be the case here."

The injury to his throwing arm played a role in that collapse. This year, though, the injury might not be a deal-breaker for the Vikings to sign him.

When Favre re-retired in February, he said arthroscopic surgery might be necessary to fix his throwing arm. It's still not clear whether surgery is necessary. But ESPN reported Wednesday that a surgical procedure to release the partially torn biceps tendon could allow Favre to return in four weeks for light throwing and six to eight weeks for hard throwing, which would give him time to be ready for training camp.

It would be up to the Vikings' medical staff to evaluate Favre and determine his ability to play in light of the injury.

"He's not the first guy that's had this injury," Bercich said. "They can go back in the past and see if people who've experienced this injury can gut it out."

Denver's John Elway played with a ruptured biceps tendon in 1997 and led the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory.

According to Mariucci, who was Favre's quarterbacks coach during the quarterback's first four seasons in Green Bay, Favre told him last week he doesn't know how the injury is progressing because he hasn't tested his arm.

If Favre could deliver the first Super Bowl victory in Vikings history, he would grow into an even bigger sports figure after crossing the Minnesota/Wisconsin state line.

That's another point the Vikings need to consider. What would be Favre's ultimate motivation for playing for the Vikings ? ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth believes Favre is motivated to return because of a personal agenda against the Packers. It's no secret that Favre and Packers general manager Ted Thompson don't see eye to eye.

"I think that's the question you have to ask if you're Brett Favre, because if you're coming back just to stick it to the Green Bay Packers, that to me is the wrong motivation," Schlereth said. "Yeah, you can play a game or two games on pure adrenaline. I understand that. But you can't play 16 weeks on pure adrenaline. You have to have that passion to play this game."

That could have an effect on the chemistry in the Vikings' locker room. It's well documented that Favre had his own office with the Jets, and teammates called him out after the season ended, calling him a loner and questioning his play and commitment level.

Gannon said if the Vikings sign Favre, that could send the other players a mixed message, given that the team has trumpeted a true quarterback competition involving Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson.

"The Vikings would say, 'We're always looking to upgrade our roster,'" Gannon said. "The other side of it is the players say, 'I thought we were good to go with the players we have.' You worry about how that's going to be received in the locker room."

Especially for Rosenfels, who was acquired in a trade with Houston this offseason specifically to compete for the starting job, and presumably win it.

"Then, no sooner than he gets in town, they're already talking about signing someone else," Gannon said. "That's got to be unsettling."

Bercich said the chemistry in the locker room won't be affected unless the Vikings don't win as many games as expected. He pointed out that other Jets players didn't start complaining until the team struggled late in the year and missed the playoffs.

"If he has to have an office or whatnot, I don't think that's going to matter one bit to the players, as long as they know he can help them win," Bercich said.

It's doubtful Childress would want to meet with Favre unless offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, a former quarterbacks coach with the Packers, had already vouched for Favre.

"Darrell Bevell knows what Brett Favre is all about," Bercich said. "The fact that they're even going down there (to visit with Favre) probably means that Bevell stood up and said, 'Hey, he's a good guy. He's the kind of guy you want.' The character issue you can already see is not an issue, otherwise I don't think they'd be heading down there."

Mariucci said he told Favre that to give himself the best chance to succeed, the quarterback should work hard in the offseason and immediately join his new team.

From a talent standpoint, Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams believes Favre can help the team win.

"He's a great guy," Williams told Sirius NFL Radio on Wednesday. "I think he just had a tough end to the season last year, but he started out so well I think he definitely still can play. If he came back to our team and (is) going to help us, we'd definitely want to take him."

The writers can be reached at ralonzo@pioneerpress.com and sjensen@pioneerpress.com



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 7, 2009

Thomas Jones Name: Thomas Jones
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