Whether the NFL intended it this way or not, the scheduling of the Vikings' preseason games would seem to be a glove fit for Brett Favre's return. He could miss training camp, sit out the first two preseason road games, play in the biggest one at home and never leave Minnesota until the regular season.
No Brett for training camp and the first two weeks of the preseason? No problem.
In what can logically be viewed as a way to appease the Vikings and their fans in the event Brett Favre
takes the Vikings up on their generous offer to not require him to join the team until after training camp, the preseason schedule is a custom fit.
The 2010 preseason schedule was announced Wednesday and the Vikings slate includes the first two games on the road – at St. Louis and San Francisco – and the final two games at home – against Seattle and Denver. It would be an ideal scenario for Favre and the Vikings. He wouldn't show up until shortly before the second game – a nationally televised game against the 49ers Sunday, Aug. 22 on NBC – and wouldn't have to leave Minnesota after that until the team heads off to New Orleans for the regular-season opener (it is the "must" game for the Kickoff Game).
The fact the Vikings host the final two preseason games is almost without peer. The NFL dropped the number of preseason games from six to four in 1978. Since then, the Vikings have only hosted the last two preseason games twice – in 1979 and 1995. This is a rarity indeed and one that may appease Vikings fans who want to buy season tickets and are waiting on a Favre decision. If he does return, the third preseason game against Seattle might be a hot ticket, much like his debut was last August – flash bulbs popping like it was the kickoff to a Super Bowl.
If Favre needed more of an engraved invitation, the potential of not even going on the road in the preseason exists and could provide yet another enticement for No. 4 to consider strapping it up again.
The date of the second preseason game with the 49ers was announced by the league as one of 11 nationally televised preseason games this year. The times and dates of the remaining three games will be announced around the time the entire NFL schedule is released.
The release of the 2010 preseason schedule snaps a run of four years in which the Vikings played their final preseason game of the year with Dallas. Perhaps the Cowboys are still a little sour about their playoff game with the Vikings in January.
If the Vikings open the regular season as expected against the Saints Sept. 9, the final preseason game against Denver will logically be played Thursday, Sept. 2. The home preseason opener against Seattle will be either Friday, Aug. 27 or Saturday, Aug. 28.
As of now, the Vikings have not reached an agreement with a Twin Cities television affiliate to broadcast the three local-market-only preseason games. With the final two at home and the potential of Favre suiting up for both – and getting his most extended preseason action in the first of those games – there could be some local competition to get the rights to broadcast them. Given the gaudy preseason numbers the Vikings drew last year when Favre signed, it could be a money-maker for the highest bidder, whichever network affiliate it becomes.
The Twitter-as-news-source has reared its head once again. The same messaging system that put Bryant McKinnie in an unwanted spotlight is confirming that Bears defensive end Alex Brown is going to be traded or released. On his Twitter page, Brown tweeted, "I am extremely grateful for my time as a Chicago Bear and I wish the Bears the best." Sounds like a farewell speech from somebody who knows he's out the door. The problem is that, to date, Brown hasn't been released or traded. The Bears are said to be looking for a trade partner, but few teams are looking to take on a $5 million salary, which is too steep for Brown's production level. Don't be surprised that with this news, any interested team will back away from trade talks and try to make the most lucrative offer once Brown is released. Twitter strikes again!
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.