Carter talks QBs, Favre and 1998

Cris Carter is now paid to give an opinion on ESPN, and Tuesday he was talking about the current state of the Vikings' quarterback situation, including the Brett Favre possibilities, hanging on in the final years of a career, and "taking a knee" in 1998.

Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter knows all about the Brett Favre possibilities with the Vikings, but he believes Sage Rosenfels will be the Vikings' starting quarterback in 2009.

"Even when Brett was hurt, Brett plays the quarterback position better than (Tarvaris Jackson). Now Sage Rosenfels, I believe Sage is going to be the starting quarterback in Minnesota," Carter said in a radio interview out of Atlanta. "Adrian Peterson deserves to play in the playoffs. He's the best non-quarterback in the National Football League. So he deserves to play in the biggest stage in the playoffs. Does Brett Favre give him a better chance to get there, or Tarvaris Jackson?"

Carter appeared on 790 The Zone in Atlanta on Tuesday, the same radio station in which Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton offered his criticisms of Brett Favre last week, and that was the topic where Carter started on his interview. Last week, Tarkenton said he hoped Favre would go to the Vikings so he could watch him fail.

"No athlete wants to be criticized. I don't think at any time I ever had a desire for any athlete to not be successful. I think that's contrary to our fiber as athletes and sportsmen," Carter said, acknowledging that he and Terrell Owens "aren't friendly" and don't talk because of Carter's criticism of him.

But Carter said he never wished any "ill will" against Owens.

"I just don't believe in doing things like that. That's one point that I think needs to be made. Number two, the Vikings, they are our team. Just like the Packers, they were (Favre's) team. I believe you acquire assets any way that you can get them. If you're trying to improve the quarterback position, just because a guy played for the Green Bay Packers, if you're trying to improve that position and you feel like a 60-year-old quarterback can help you with a bad arm, then you should go out and get him. That's another thing," Carter said. "As far as Brett Favre and what he took the Packers through, now I agree with Fran on that. That was ridiculous, the whole circus and everything and stringing them on. Beyond that, everyone deserves another opportunity to walk away. As an athlete, it's really, really hard to walk away from the most fabulous game there is."

Carter should know. He tried to extend his post-Vikings career with another season playing for the Miami Dolphins. After three years with the Philadelphia Eagles and 12 with the Minnesota Vikings, Carter played in only five games with the Dolphins in 2002 and had just eight receptions.

He said there were a few moments when he realized playing for the Dolphins wasn't the same as his earlier years with the Vikings. In practice, he said he was put on a "pitch count" and was limited, and then he realized when he ran onto the field at Dolphins Stadium that "it felt nothing like the Metrodome."

"It is not easy to walk away from the National Football League, alright? It's not. This is all that we've ever done, and when you walk away from it, ain't no coming back. Ain't no ‘I'm going to be able to do this a little bit later.' This is it," Carter said. "At this phase of your life you have to make a decision. Can I keep doing this now because you'll never ever be able to do it again? I make no excuses for Brett and him bumbling the whole thing. I said that that was the wrong thing, but do I understand how he could do it, yes. I came back and played eight games for the Dolphins and almost killed myself.

"After you've been through that grind, it's like going for your review from your boss. When you go in there, they beat you up and beat you up and when you walk out, you're like, ‘You know something? I don't really like this job. You know something? I think I might go for a career change.' You're in that moment where it's really not the best time to make a decision and this year he was hurt."

Carter said he talked to Favre a few weeks ago, but he didn't talk about the Vikings specifically. He said it was more of a personal talk that included topics like sports injuries. But Carter said he wouldn't be surprised if Favre ended up with the Vikings.

The reason for a potential comeback, however, shouldn't center on revenge against the Green Bay Packers, Favre's old team.

"I think that's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard," he said when asked about that speculation as Favre's motivation to potentially play another season. "There is no way I'm going to jeopardize my overall health. Do you know football you can get hurt – I mean really hurt? I'm not talking about a tear or pull. You can't go out there with that mindset of: ‘Forget all those other 31 teams, I'm going to get Packers and the way I'm going to get back at that them is play for the Minnesota Vikings.' Brett Favre would be a great fit for Minnesota, given the weather, given they play inside, given they have a dominant offensive line – a huge offensive line and they have the best running back. It's a good, good fit. I think I know Brett Favre enough to know that he's not saying, ‘I'm going to get the Packers.'"

DEFENDING ‘THE KNEE'

Being on an Atlanta radio station, Carter was asked about the Vikings' lack of aggressiveness at the end of regulation in their overtime loss to the Falcons in the 1998 NFC Championship Game. Carter laid out the thinking from field level at the time.

The Vikings were the favorites and held the lead from the second quarter until 49 seconds in regulation, when the Falcons tied the game, 27-27, with a touchdown and extra point. Minnesota took possession, but eventually took a knee to send the game into overtime.

"We were going to try to get two first downs. Get two first downs, then we were going to go for the victory. If we don't get two first downs, then we've got to punt," Carter said. "In the huddle, I know I made a recommendation to Denny Green and Brian Billick because the momentum in the building was gone and they were starting to figure it out, what we were doing, and we had five starters out of the game – out of the game, couldn't compete, knocked out of the game, injuries. So you try to do what you can do with what you have.

"The momentum of the game had switched and you cannot recapture that momentum. The best thing for us was to take a big break, get to overtime, let the crowd try to get back into the game. In overtime, we had the ball twice, right? I would say it was more a case of the Atlanta Falcons catching up to a team that was better than them, taking advantage of the moment, make the plays, the critical plays in the right time, and beating the Minnesota Vikings. We didn't pull back; the Falcons beat us."


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