On every coin there are two sides. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What is joy to some is anger to others for the same occurrence taking place.
When word came out yesterday that Brett Favre was coming back to the Vikings for a 20th season, fans were giddy. The Vikings' version of Dog the Bounty Hunter went to Mississippi and came back with their missing man. Wednesday's practice had a more upbeat tone – from the players to the coaches to the unusually large media throng that was on hand to watch the event.
But with all the happiness that surrounds Favre's return and the re-opening of the circus he brings with him, there are a couple of guys who don't share that joy – Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. On the one-year anniversary of Favre signing with the Vikings initially, he was out on the practice field Wednesday taking the first-team snaps. Jackson was relegated back to second-unit work and Rosenfels to sharing snaps with rookie Joe Webb.
When Favre blew into Winter Park like a gulf breeze in 2009, it was clear who the odd-man-out at quarterback was going to be – John David Booty. This year, it's a much different situation. The Vikings are intrigued by the possibilities and potential Webb brings to the table and they have committed to Jackson as being the No. 2 QB. That leaves Rosenfels as the player in limbo.
While the likelihood of the Vikings keep four quarterbacks is remote at best, Rosenfels – a consummate professional and gracious during the growing Favre Era with the Vikings – said that, although both he and Jackson want to start, there is no animosity in the QB room. They get along and Favre has been willing to hand out some of the knowledge he has learned over the years.
"I maintain the same thing I said last year," Rosenfels said. "Everybody in that quarterback room got along great last year and I'm sure everything will be pretty much the same this time around."
Rosenfels realizes that his future with the Vikings is on thin ice because few if any teams pay a No. 3 QB $2.6 million a season to wear a baseball cap. However, until he gets the word that he has been traded or released, he is forcing himself into believing that he has a chance with the Vikings as they work toward a Super Bowl run in 2010.
"I'm not going to sit around here and worry about things I can't control," Rosenfels said. "All I can control is how I practice and how I play. Just to worry about all the possibilities of what could happen or should happen isn't going to help me get better or this team get better."
Rosenfels said he isn't actively seeking a trade, but would hope that if he isn't in the Vikings' plans, they would give him the courtesy of letting him go (via trade or release) in such a way that he would be given the time needed to have the opportunity to hook up with another team. He said that, from top to bottom, there is a lot of open discussions with the players and management, which he sees as a positive – despite his uncertain future.
"I think you always have to have good communication upstairs (in the front office) and downstairs (in the locker room)," Rosenfels said. "I'm sure something will get figured out. In coming to the Vikings, I really enjoyed myself last year and I'm excited about being here and getting better. I thought I had a good practice today and got better."
For the last several months, Rosenfels was fielding questions about Favre's "will he or won't he?" status. Like many of us, even when reports surfaced that pointed to the "won't he?" side of that equation, few actually believed it. They were convinced that when August rolled around, Favre would be back in purple. 364 days after the grand opening of Favre-a-Palooza, the second act wasn't a shock to anyone on the team.
"Nothing is really all that surprising," Rosenfels said. "I think everyone had an inkling this could very easily happen. I don't think it's a knock on me or Tarvaris or Joe. Brett had one of the greatest years in NFL history last year and, if he wanted to come back, the team obviously would want a player that had a career year (in 2009) and is one of the greats. It doesn't bother me and the only thing I can do is continue to work and continue to get better."
With his professional life currently in a state of limbo, Rosenfels believes he needs to keep thinking his NFL glass is half full. It's a cut-throat business to be sure. You're only as good as your last game and, if your body betrays you, you're gone without a blink of an eye.
"We all love the NFL, but the NFL loves nobody," Rosenfels said. "All you can really do is work and try to be the best player you can be. I tried to play as well as I could (against St. Louis) and if my name gets called this week or the next week, I will try to play well again that time. You can't sit around and worry about all the possibilities and ‘what-have-you's.' All you can work on is yourself and the guys in the huddle with you."
Rosenfels' future in Minnesota is shaky at best. It's doubtful the team will cut Webb and hope to play the slide-through-waivers game that resulted in them losing developmental quarterback Tyler Thigpen in 2007. Rosenfels uprooted his wife and two young kids from their home and their school to bring them from Houston to Minneapolis in the middle of the winter with the promise to have a legitimate shot at being a starting quarterback. After hearing similar promises in Miami and Houston, only to see the team trade for a starting quarterback, you couldn't blame Rosenfels for being bitter. It's natural. He's waited his entire life to be a starting NFL quarterback and a full-time gig has never materialized.
Yet, somehow, he continues to put a good face on the situation. Is he fuming inside? No doubt about it. But he continues to show that he is a class act that would be a good addition to any NFL team. Unfortunately, he appears to be the victim in this quarterback numbers game. Still, he is keeping his blinders on and refusing – at least publicly – to see the bad in the situation.
"If I sat around and worried or got frustrated about (the situation), all that does is make you a worse football player," Rosenfels said. "I can't have that and the team can't have that. It's not going to help me in my career. I'm not frustrated. I'm not upset. I'm excited about the work we're doing here and, as long as they want me a part of it, I'll give the Vikings everything I can."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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