In what promises to be the first of many questions during the offseason for the Vikings, the uncertainty of whether Brett Favre will return to the Vikings or not has once again splashed its way onto the front page. Let the record reflect that, once again, Favre has said nothing, yet he has found himself front and center of a news story about his future in the NFL. However, the best part of the latest chapter in this epic saga is that is has in many ways come full circle.
A climb into the "Way-back" machine takes us to January 2009. A beaten up, tired, biceps tendon-afflicted Favre sat down for an interview with ESPN's Ed Werder. Morose from a season-ending slide that saw the Jets drop out of the playoffs and eventually lead to the firing of head coach Eric Mangini, Favre said he was done. Werder may have been hoping the Favre interview would vanish the memory of his run-in with the Cowboys – after he spilled the beans that Terrell Owens believed Tony Romo and Jason Witten were writing up plays to get Witten the ball – and he got it with the Favre scoop. The quarterback was done. For real. This time it will stick. Honest.
As luck would have it, Werder got the interview but Favre would chang his mind. Favre would come back and lead the Vikings to the doorstep of the Super Bowl. So impressive was his 2009 performance that Brad Childress has all but laid out an agreeable scenario in which shows up at Winter Park a day or two after training camp breaks and all is good with the world.
Enter McNabb, stage left. While Childress never actually worked with Favre during his coaching career prior to 2009, he worked extensively with McNabb during his maturation as a quarterback. When Childress has spoken of Tarvaris Jackson, he has alluded to McNabb – his star pupil – in terms of a professional comparison.
Whether there is any validity to the claim that the Eagles want the 42nd pick or better in exchange for McNabb, who is due a massive $6 million-plus roster bonus in May, seems like a bluff from the get-go. If they are satisfied with Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick competing for the starting job, who is going to give up a premium draft pick and still have to pay McNabb a king's ransom in base salary and roster bonus? Nobody.
Werder found his way back into the Favre discussion as it pertained to McNabb. He quoted Favre as saying that McNabb would be an excellent quarterback in the Vikings system. Does that mean the Vikings will pull the trigger on a deal to get McNabb? Not a chance.
It has seemed that what has been missing in Favre's life the last two offseasons has been being shown "the love." The Packers didn't do it in 2008. When he announced his retirement, the Packers took it on face value and spent the next six months convincing everyone in the organization that Aaron Rodgers was the new face of the franchise. When Favre decided he wanted to give it another run, the Packers said they had moved on. After his one year with the Jets, the following April they moved up in the first round to grab Mark Sanchez as their QB of the future. In both instances, it proved to be the right decision. Both Rodgers and Sanchez led their respective teams to the playoffs and have a bright future. But the Vikings are another story when it comes to "showing the love."
To date, the Vikings have bent over backwards in an attempt to roll out the red carpet to Favre, making his decision to return as easy and painless as possible. But have they shown him "the love?" Not to its fullest extent. Nothing would tell Favre more about how much the Vikings want him back more than by doing nothing when the apple of Chilly's eye is available in trade. If Childress and the Vikings can turn a blind eye to the McNabb imbroglio it will send a clear message to Favre that they not only want him back, they're counting on him.
In the latest installment of Brett Watch '10, the best option for the Vikings may well be to do nothing. That in itself will show "the love" that Favre might need down on the farm in Mississippi.