Not sure what impact Brett Favre‘s performance will have on any alleged “schism” in the Vikes’ locker room, a dynamic which at the least was woefully overblown after four passing attempts, but Minnesota and Favre were impressive Monday night.
There will always be drama with No. 4 — the latest was his opining that perhaps he had a cracked rib … while practicing all week and about to play more than a half of football — but we know that by now. All the Vikings want is solid, mistake-limiting football, with the occasional big play. Favre delivered all of that — and a shocking crack-back block out of the Wildcat, of all things — Monday night.
This wasn’t the gunslinger of old, nor is it supposed to be. It was a more methodical passing attack, with the running game the star. Lots of dinking and dunking, plenty of screens. Favre did look down field a few times and his touch on a pass to the back of the end zone — one of several plays rookie WR Percy Harvin could have made — was exquisite.
Favre did alright dancing out of the pocket, showing decent mobility and a willingness to step up into his throws, and the pocket, when need be. It wasn’t masterful, but it was precisely what the Vikings want. To me, the problems is going to be getting him through 16 games at this level, or something close to it, with the arm and shoulder — and now, ribs — and everything else that can ail a 40-year-old quarterback.
But if Favre can stay healthy and stick to this template, the Vikings will be a scary team. Will the arm tire in the second half of the season? Will he suffer in the fourth quarter of games? Those are questions that can only be answered over time. As an older player himself, Favre should know better than to execute the block to Eugene Wilson‘s legs — that can end a man’s season, or worse — but I reckon we won’t be seeing too much of Favre as a lead blocker or out in space anymore.
The person who continues to be most hamstrung by Favre’s presence is young QB Tarvaris Jackson, who got a mere series in what is the big regular-season tune-up game. Jackson could end up showcased more in the final preseason game, and I continue to believe that if the Vikings can get something of value for him, they will deal him. Could end up though, that both Minnesota and Tampa Bay enter the season with four quarterbacks, at least for a week or two, seeing if injuries arise elsewhere and the value rises for their spare passers.
And the person who stands to benefit most from Favre’s arrival is tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. The Vikings were very impressed with his play late last season. The coaches know how much Favre loves his tight ends, and even before Favre spurned the Vikings the first time, a coach there told me he figures Shiancoe would become a much bigger cog in the offense if they got Favre. They hooked up several times Monday night in what could be a precursor of things to come.