No team likes to admit it got the raw end of a deal. The Vikings may be known as the team on the losing end of the NFL's biggest trade ever – Mike Lynn's deal to trade for Hershel Walker. If the Vikings didn't win the Super Bowl, according to Lynn, then the deal was a bust. Ka-BOOM!
In their nearly 50-year history, the Vikings have been turned away during countless trade talks, and last summer was one of the more public ones. Brett Favre wanted to return to the NFL, and the Packers decided they had moved on. However, Green Bay wasn't about to trade their future Hall of Fame quarterback to a division rival.
The Packers were coming off an NFC North title and the Vikings were looking to take it away from them. Even without Favre, the Vikings still outlasted Green Bay and Chicago and took their first division crown under Brad Childress.
Interestingly, it seems that the movements of Favre over the last year-plus may have been and may be in the best interest of all three teams impacted. Here's a look at the impact of his travels and how they impacted the Packers, New York Jets and quite possibly the Vikings.
Favre led the Packers to a 13-3 record in 2007, a division title and the playoffs, where they eventually came up three points short of the New York Giants in the NFC Championship. After Favre announced his retirement in a tear-filled press conference, the Packers made the decision to move on, and this time Favre's change of heart in July wasn't enough to get them to change course.
Favre had thrown for 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, but the Packers were committed to giving Aaron Rodgers the reins to Mike McCarthy's offense. They had to make the move eventually. Their dramatic drop in record in 2008 – the Packers were 6-10 and never a big factor in the division in the second half of the season – says they made the wrong the choice. At look at Rodgers' statistics, however, indicates that he wasn't the problem.
Rodgers was within 120 passing yards of Favre's previous season, within two points of his completion percentage and threw two fewer touchdowns and interceptions. Favre ended 2007 with a 95.7 rating and Rodgers had a 93.8 rating last year. The big difference was in the number of sacks they took. Favre was sacked 15 times in 2007; Rodgers was taken down 34 times last year.
The Packers ended up with slightly less production, but they would also seem to have a quarterback in place that could play 10 more years and shows he belongs.
So did Favre's next team, the Jets, make the right move in trading for him? The statistics say yes.
Obviously, Favre helped the Jets come out of the gate strong with an 8-3 record before his shoulder seemed to be a major contributor to a late-season collapse. Still, he finished the season with very respectable numbers despite the poor showing in the last five games of the year.
In 2007, the quarterback combination of Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens produced 3,380 yards passing, completing 60.5 percent of their passes for 15 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. With Favre in 2008, those numbers improved to 3,472 yards on 65.7 percent completions with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. The Pennington/Clemens combo produced a 73.9 rating; Favre was at 81.0 last year.
From 2007 to 2008, Favre's numbers dropped in many areas. He passed for almost 700 yards fewer, had six fewer touchdowns and seven more interceptions. His passer rating went from 95.7 in his final season with the Packers to 81.0 with the Jets. However, his partially torn biceps tendon and learning a new offense have to be taken into consideration.
The Vikings might be banking on both factors when it comes to their interest in him. Favre on the Vikings means a return to the very familiar West Coast offense that became so engrained in him with the Packers when current Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay.
The widely held thinking by many NFL analysts is that the Vikings are only a good quarterback away from becoming real Super Bowl contenders.
The combination of Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte produced fewer yards (3,217) than Pennington/Clemens in 2007, had a lower completion percentage than the Jets combo, Rodgers or Favre in the last two years, and had fewer touchdowns. If Favre can bolster those quarterback numbers for the Vikings with a more explosive offense than either the Packers or Jets supplied in supporting him, Childress' gamble on the gunslinger could be worth it.
The "one-player-away" thinking got Lynn in trouble when he figured Walker was the answer in 1989. Some say he wasn't used correctly, but no matter the reason, he never produced even a 1,000-yard season in three years in purple before the Vikings turned to younger help. In Favre's case, the future of the team isn't mortgaged with young stars sent packing and multiple high-round draft picks surrendered. Childress is hoping his Vikings take a different, more positive, path than the one Lynn encountered 20 years ago.
Analysis: All the right moves with Favre?
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