Perhaps one of the primary reasons that the Vikings have made such a push to get Brett Favre in the fold is that, in the modern era of the NFL, the difference between being a mediocre team and a good team or the difference between a good team and a great team isn't all that distinct.
Of the Vikings' six losses last year, all but one of them was by seven points or less. Of their 10 wins, six of them were by seven points or less, including two victories by one point, another by two points and still another by three points.
The reality of parity in the NFL translates itself to the field in similar ways throughout the league. Teams rise and fall quickly and upgrading at any position is important. Finding where a weakness can be isolated is often the key between being a .500 team like the Vikings were in 2007 and a division champion as they were in 2008.
Despite having what most universally referred to as a sub-standard passing game, the Vikings were still able to win 10 games, including nine of their final 12 after a 1-3 start. With Gus Frerotte and Tarvaris Jackson sharing time at the QB position, the Vikings won the NFC North even though they had the 25th-ranked pass offense and the 28th-rated red zone percentage. The Vikings defense, which had long been viewed as the weakness of the team in previous years, stood out in 2008. The Vikings had the sixth-ranked defense in the league, including the NFL's top run-stopping unit. Their 45 sacks were good for fourth-best in the league. The Vikings held their opponents to 21 points or less in 10 of their 16 games, thanks in large part to a defense that would force opponents to kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns.
As the Vikings enter the 2009 season, they know they have an offensive weapon in Adrian Peterson that can dominate games on the offensive side of the ball and a defense that can shut down teams consistently. Like last year, the team enters the '09 season with many believing they have the talent to repeat as division champion, but are still a quarterback away from being seriously considered a Super Bowl option from the NFC. Could Favre change that? His Hall of Fame credentials would lead one to speculate that being very possible.
At a time when teams like the Dolphins and Falcons can rise from the ashes to the playoffs in one year and teams like the Packers can fall from 13-3 to 6-10 in that same time span, the difference between a playoff team and an also-ran is becoming a thinner margin that ever. Getting the right players in the right spots can make all the difference between winning and losing and a number of Vikings' weaknesses have consistently been checked off the board over the last couple of seasons.
If you look back a year ago, the Vikings' list of weaknesses was highlighted at quarterback, defensive end and wide receiver. Thanks to the pre-draft trade for Jared Allen in 2008, the Vikings addressed a glaring need for a pass-rushing DE. With the free-agent signing of Bernard Berrian and drafting of Percy Harvin, the Vikings have transformed a weakness at the WR spot into a position of depth and explosiveness. Yet to date, nothing significant has been done to upgrade the QB position outside of replacing Frerotte with Sage Rosenfels. While one player can't make the difference between a team being awful one year and a Super Bowl contender the next, the Vikings are a good team with a chance to be a great team – which is exactly what Favre could bring to the team.
As close as the Vikings appear to the top of the mountain and the lack of a truly dominant team in the NFC, there is a lot still up for grabs as we count down the final month to training camp. The signing of Favre could be the push the Vikings from being a good team to being a great team, which could explain why they have been pursuing him so strongly.
Is QB the difference between good and great?
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