With the Brett Favre speculation over (for now), the Vikings return to their original plan. Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will battle for the starting spot, beginning with Friday's opening practice.
As the Vikings prepare to head to Mankato for the start of training camp, its time to implement Plan B. Or is it Plan A?
Prior to all the hoopla and intrigue surrounding the potential of signing Hall of Famer Brett Favre
, the early talk of the preseason centered on the potential for an all-out dogfight (no Michael Vick pun intended) in a quarterback competition between Sage Rosenfels
and Tarvaris Jackson
in training camp. It would now appear that the competition is back on.
Three months of speculation and getting hopes up were dashed, but, in the long term, there are many who believe the Vikings didn't need Favre in order to successfully defend their NFC North championship. While adding the veteran QB would have likely vaulted the Vikings into one of the favorites in the NFC, they still have their initial 2009 game plan in place.
To hear the local Twin Cities media discuss the matter after the story broke Tuesday afternoon, you would think the entire season would be in the tank. But it is important to remember that Brad Childress' two-year pursuit of Rosenfels was due in large part to his belief that the former Houston Texans QB would be an ideal fit in the Vikings offense and would push incumbent starter Jackson to be at his very best if he wants to keep the job he believes is his.
While the circus atmosphere of "Favre-a-palooza" has come and gone, the QB battle at training camp is back to what it was initially envisioned – but put on the back burner the last several months.
The most interesting aspect of Favre's decision came from a discussion he had with ESPN's Ed Werder. Tuesday afternoon Werder reported that Favre didn't have a problem with his surgically repaired shoulder during his workouts in Mississippi, but rather the problem was with both his ankles and one of his knees. It was that concern – that his body wouldn't hold up for a full 16-game season – that prompted his decision.
The NFL Network chimed in with a nugget of its own. Steve Mariucci, now an NFL Network analyst and former Packers assistant who remains good friends with Favre, said that he will continue throwing – leading some conspiracy theorists to postulate that Favre still might sign with the Vikings, whether after the end of training camp or at some point during the season if Jackson or Rosenfels get injured. This story may not be over yet.
It didn't take long for the national media to jump on the next round of speculation. Within minutes of the Favre announcement being made public, Ron Jaworski speculated that the Vikings might be one of the teams interested in signing Michael Vick. Considering the Zygi Wilf mandate of a culture player accountability, that doesn't make a lot of sense, but neither did making Favre a front-burner prospect back in April.
Former Viking and current Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio has added the Jaguars to the list of teams that aren't interested in bringing in the recently reinstated Vick. When text messaged by a local newspaper beat writer if the team would be interested in signing Vick, Del Rio's answer was simple – "no" – the same answer Favre gave Trent Dilfer so many months ago.
All the attention surrounding the Favre situation glossed over a sad story, as Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, last seen by Vikings fans when Philadelphia beat Minnesota at the Metrodome in the first round of the playoffs, passed away after a battle with cancer. Johnson, who came to prominence thanks to a blitz-happy defensive scheme, will be remembered as a defensive innovator and a credit to the NFL who will be missed by more than just Eagles fans.
From the "Things Could Be Worse" Department comes this: The Baltimore Ravens opened camp this week with nine players on the Physically Unable to Perform list, begging the question, "Why didn't these guys heal up over the offseason?"