Lurtsema's Reaction: The Favre factors

Former Vikings defensive lineman Bob Lurtsema examines the Brett Favre potential from many different angles – what his signing would do for opposing defensive linemen, for the team's current quarterbacks and even for the stadium drive. But what if Favre wanted to wait until August? Lurtsema has his opinion on that as well. Subscribers get it all inside.

VU: Knowing your past feelings on Brett Favre, I'm assuming you are in favor of him coming here.

BL: Absolutely. There's not a downside with having Favre come in. Your window of opportunity sometimes might be a year, might be two years. It's about one year here because the defense is good enough to take it all the way through the Super Bowl and be world champions. The one questionable spot on the offensive side of the ball is quarterback. Because of the quarterback, at the end of last season, teams were putting eight or nine men in the box. That's a lot of pressure on the running game, but defenses felt comfortable enough that the Vikings didn't have a strong enough passing game to really worry about that. They said if they were going to lose, the run was going to beat them and you did see Adrian Peterson's numbers drop sometimes during the latter part of the season.

Speaking from a defensive lineman's standpoint, if you get a Brett Favre in there, no longer can you have nine in the box. You have to respect both the pass and the run. So that would open up the run more for Adrian Peterson. If you know a run is coming, that really shrinks the holes because I'm not going to be flying outside or taking an inside move or this or that – I'm going to protect my area. It's huge. If you put nine in the box with Brett Favre in there, hello Visanthe Shiancoe and all the rest. It's over. You can just crown them right now. It's done. It's that big of a difference with a quarterback that can read that quick. I'm saying I want him, I'd love to have him here and he's the missing piece – as long as he's healthy. He's got the greatest attitude in the world, like a kid in the candy store come Thursdays and Fridays for the upcoming game. I wouldn't worry about his attitude because he loves to win.

The only negative would be if there is a flaw with his arm or his throwing because of injury. To me, that would kill the deal, although an 80 percent Favre is better than what the Vikings have right now.

VU: Do you believe Favre will stay retired once training camp or the regular season starts?

BL: Do I believe he'd still be retired when training camp starts? Working with Darrell Bevell when he was in Green Bay, Favre knows the system. He'd have to learn the players a little bit because they'd have to get on the same page with him. With Brett, if you're the fourth receiver, you might almost end up being the primary as fast as he reads. It would keep the receivers on their toes and they've got to be ready to play. I'm not too worried about Favre missing camp. It's no different than Jim Marshall. Jim Marshall never practiced – I'm the one that practiced for Jim all week. With Favre's experience and ability, he doesn't really need training camp. To a degree, the offseason is overrated for the veterans. I don't like him missing training camp and such, but if he missed the first couple of preseason games, that wouldn't bother me at all – even if he came in after two weeks, that wouldn't bother me.

VU: So even if he comes back in mid-August and says, ‘Yeah, I want to play and I want to play for the Vikings,' you would take him?

BL: Those would be the sweetest words I've ever heard. I would grab him immediately. Absolute no-brainer. There are exceptions to every rule. With Favre, it's a different situation. You've got a guy that's almost 40 that's going to step on the field and it would be like a 20-year-old learning how to walk. It's that simple.

VU: How do you think this whole Favre thing has affected Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson?

BL: If they are professionals, not at all. That should have no effect whatsoever because teams are always looking for somebody to take your job. That's what it is in the National Football League. It's about competition and it's about being the best. If you put your head down and go back into your shoebox and disappear because you're a little upset, you've got your athletic attitude slightly bent, you'd better start looking for the exit door because you're going to be out of there soon.

I remember when I was with the Vikings in 1975 and they drafted Mark Mullaney in the first round and Art Riley in the second round – two defensive linemen. I said, ‘Well, it's been fun. I'm out of here, but I'll give it my best shot and see what happens.' Well, they cut the No. 2 draft choice and Mullaney played behind me, so I've live through that particular scenario. So I say with a lot of confidence that if you're going to worry about that, you're in the wrong profession.

VU: How do you think a Brett Favre signing would affect the stadium issue, if at all? Do you think that would support the stadium drive or do you think it would have had no affect at all?

BL: It would be a huge plus. The energy that he would bring to this entire state and the winning – which they have the team to do right now with or without him – but with him it increases your chances threefold going beyond one game in the playoffs. The stadium issue is about energy, it's about excitement. They have over 320 events at the Metrodome right now and you'll lose about 80 of them with the Twins, but you're still going have about 250 events. It would bring so much energy. I've never seen the fans so excited since the Brett Favre talks started. We can argue about his personality and we could go hours about when he did retire and I can compare it to the stories of what I've live through, but that's all going to get boring. The bottom line is this: What would he bring to this football team and what would he bring to the great state of Minnesota? It would create a great history for the Vikings because right now they don't have that solid history without winning everything. If he could bring a Super Bowl to Minnesota, that energy would be contagious and that could carry over into the stadium momentum.


Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins VikingUpdate.com for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.


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