Behind Enemy Lines: Questioning the Vikings

What? Another opponent interested in the Brett Favre story? But what is the future of the Vikings at that position and where is their biggest competition in the NFC? Nate Caminata of RoarReport.com questions Tim Yotter of VikingUpdate.com about the Vikings.

Nate Caminata: In my opinion, Brett Favre is unquestionably the league's MVP at this point in the season – it seems almost surreal. What has been the reaction of the Minnesota faithful to the former Packer's success, and considering the drama in the offseason, is there a feeling of vindication for both Favre and the Vikings' front office brass?

Tim Yotter: While the Vikings pursued him during the summer – and especially as the drama dragged on, as Favre is wont to do – the fan base seemed pretty split on the possibilities. I'd say more were in favor of it than not, but now that he has reminded Minnesota fans what a truly great quarterback can do for an offense, there aren't too many holdouts. Some still have a hard time stomaching Favre in a Vikings uniform, but there is no question he has made a world of difference. The Vikings were still favored by a number of people to win the NFC North without Favre, but considering they have more than a three-game lead on Chicago and Green Bay, and are fighting for position in the NFC playoff race, it's hard to doubt the impact Favre has had.

It was pretty humorous to see the columnists talking about how Vikings coach Brad Childress had given into Favre by publicly writing him off at the start of training camp and then convincing him to come right when training camp ended. Now the slant is that Childress was a genius for sticking with the campaign to bring Favre to Minnesota.

NC: Speaking of Favre, many wonder whether or not he'll have a second-half collapse, as he's experienced the past few seasons. He's been limited in practice the past few days with a couple of injuries. Is there any concern of a similar meltdown in Minnesota. Why or why not?

TY: Not really. I think most people attribute his second-half meltdown with the New York Jets to his partially torn biceps tendon. Favre admitted that he talked to the Jets about potentially not playing late last season because of how it limited his abilities. It was also the main reason it took so long for him to get to Minnesota. Once he decided he wanted to try to play, he needed to get the tendon right. He tried to get it tear fully by throwing a lot during the summer, but when that failed he ultimately decided to have surgery, something he wanted to avoid.

It's pretty amusing to watch Favre talk about his injuries as if he's never sure if he'll be able to play the next game or not. Then you go out and watch him practice and it hardly seems to bother him, so until I actually see evidence of an injury with a pronounced limp or grimacing while throwing, I'll be convinced he's going to play.

NC: Antoine Winfield is out for Sunday's game. How does that affect Minnesota's preparation for a more healthy Calvin Johnson, and will that cornerback-by-committee approach be used against Detroit?

TY: Yes, they will likely rotate cornerbacks Karl Paymah, Benny Sapp and Asher Allen on the left side and in nickel situations, but there is no question the advantage there goes to Johnson and his big frame. Winfield is the smallest player on the team, but he is so savvy that he can often make up for the lack of size. The other cornerbacks aren't nearly as savvy, so I'd expect a huge dose of help over the top from the safeties.

NC: The Vikings seem to be on cruise control to lock up the NFC North. What would you consider their more fierce competition across the NFC, and one team that can give the Vikings a post-season challenge?

TY: Undoubtedly it's the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings' Achilles heel so far has been pass defense. When they run up against a veteran quarterback who knows how to read and react, it usually means 300- to 400-yard games in the passing department. The Saints already have that with Drew Brees and Company. But that kind of a playoff matchup would pit two of the top-rated passers in the league, Brees vs. Favre. It would also put former Packer and current Viking Favre against former Viking and Packer and current Saint Darren Sharper, who has returned to his intercepting ways in a defense that allows him more freedom. There would be so many plotlines it would be a great matchup for the fans.

Oh, and then there is that pesky little running back named Adrian Peterson going against a Saints run defense that could use some help. That might be the Vikings' best defense to keep Brees (with help from Favre) from blowing up the scoreboard.

NC: The NFL is a win-now league. With that said, how do the Vikings look long-term, especially at the quarterback position? Is that something they'll attempt to correct early in April's draft?

TY: It's a great question. While the Favre acquisition has given them an immediate boost at the position, who knows how long that will last? Quite possibly just this year. Maybe next year. But by signing Favre, they have put off finding out more about Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels, who were supposed to battle it out for the starting job. If Favre sticks around next year (and there is nothing that says the Vikings would know that definitively before the draft), it might give them enough time to draft and develop a quarterback to step in for 2011 or beyond. Jackson's status if further confused by the lack of a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement. If a new agreement isn't reach before the start of free agency, Jackson would become only a restricted free agent instead of unrestricted. In other words, the near-term and long-term future of the position is completely up in the air.



Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update and Nate Caminata is the publisher of RoarReport.com on the Scout.com network.

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