And for me, that says a lot. There is no bigger football fan than me, and the Vikings are my team. Were my team (still getting used to this). I went to games at Met Stadium as a toddler, wrapped in a snowmobile suit, and drinking coffee to keep warm. I have been a Vikings fan, even though I have no real memory of their Super Bowl years (I was 4 during their last trip). I lived in WI and Chicago, and my fandom never wavered, even when idiots suggested I should now root for the Packers or Bears just because I had moved.
But I can no longer root for a team that has sold its soul to a carpetbagging enemy, a washed-up has-been, who never was all he was hyped up to be, who comes in as damaged goods (see torn bicep, rotator cuff, gimpy ankle and lack of conditioning as a near 40 yr old).
I will post another blog about how overrated Farve is, but for now, I'll just talk about Farve on the Vikings and what a huge mistake this is for the organization. Really, it's Herschel Walker Redux. He's a pipe dream that was acquired by the team at great expense that will sour and tear down the organization.
First of all, he's divided the locker room. You may not see it for awhile, guys will say the right things, because really, they have no choice. Farve is the QB, and they have to accept that, but they don't have to like it. There are guys in the locker room who like Tavaris Jackson, have mentored him, and played w/ him. Jackson now has the rug pulled out from under him again, just like it was last yr when he was benched. When Farve struggles (and he will struggle), guys will wonder "why we thought this guy was such a savior?" They'll resent Farve, and wonder why mgmt (Childress) isn't replacing him, like Chili has done to other guys who weren't getting it done.
Childress is desperate. This is his last chance to save his job, made all the more obvious by Chili initiating the call to Brett on Monday to get him to reconsider. Mike McMahon, Brooks Bollinger, Tavaris Jackson, Kelly Holcombe, Brad Johnson, Gus Frerotte, Tyler Thigpen, and JD Booty. And that doesn't even include dumping Culpepper from the roster before he had a chance to play a game for Chili. Now Farve makes 10 QBs in 4 seasons for Chili. In 3+ yrs as coach, Chili hasn't been able to coach anyone up to the level of competence necessary for a serious playoff push, and this is supposedly Chili's specialty, a former QB, QB coach and O Coordinator.
But Childress has let Farve hold his head in the toilet and give him a swirly (as much as that's possible w/ a nearly bald victim). Farve engineered this move on his timetable, not the coach's. He skipped all of camp, because Brett doesn't wanna have to live in a dorm for 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS!! Brett can't be bothered to practice and prepare for a season, get to know his teammates because he wants to skip dorm life in Mankato?!?! How can he commit to 5+ months of football, if he can't endure 2 extra weeks of subpar living standards? Camp is for FOOTBALL, not dorm life! That's another reason why people will bail on Farve when he tanks. He's Big-Timed the entire team.
And that doesn't even include skipping mini camp and OTAs, the perfect time to acclimate to a new team, but instead Brett was throwing the ball to some high school kids, who worship him (feeding Brett's massive ego) cuz they don't know any better. Farve said that he couldn't make his decision until he was sure his arm wouldn't fail again like last yr. Then why'd he wait so long to have surgery?
He asked the Jets in February to release him, and he had to have made that request w/ at least one eye toward coming back w/ MIN, as originally planned last yr. But NYJ couldn't trade him to MIN w/out invoking the poison pill in last yr's trade from GB. So he knew in Feb that he might wanna play again, but he didn't have surgery until at least May! That's 3 extra months to heal just so HE COULD MAKE HIS DECISION!! It doesn't mean he had to be working out all that time or thinking football, just removing one hurdle so he could make up his mind easier, his notoriously wishy-washy mind.
Farve will make the team better in the regular season, worth maybe another game or 2 (they did win 10 last yr w/out him, I don't see them going beyond 12). He's gonna win the games you're supposed to win. The Vikings have struggled to beat some very bad Lions teams in recent yrs (but they still won w/out Brett walking on water), but they've come up short on winnable games in the division against GB and CHI, and they probably will win those games now, but that said, they're still division games, and liable to be close, as both rivals are improved. Childress has hemorrhaged draft picks acquiring guys like Rosenfels, Jared Allen, Booty, Jackson and Thigpen, spent huge FA money on Berrian, Sharper, Taylor, Hutchinson and Allen. So this move will be judged on title opportunities (assuming both Chili and Farve are around next yr to make that a plural).
But Brett hasn't been much of a big game QB in a long time. He's only made the playoffs 6 out of the last 11 seasons. He's 3-6 in the playoffs in those games. 16 TDs and 18 INTs, so yes, Brett lost some of those games largely by himself. Hasn't won more than 1 playoff game in a season since his last SB appearance 11 yrs go. And that assumes he's healthy enough to play in the playoffs this yr. January is a long way away when you're 40.
In my perfect world, the Vikings would finish out of the playoffs (Barring significant injuries to Farve, Jared Allen and Peterson, I don't see them being worse than 7-9 w/ their talent), fire Childress, let Brett re-re-retire and hire a real coach, like Cowher, or Shanahan, or even Gruden or Schottenheimer would be an upgrade. Heck, I'd take Def Coord Les Frazier over the last two
But they've really tied their hands at QB. Brett isn't playing more than 2 yrs maximum, Jackson is a free agent after this yr, you won't be able to get much for a one-yr rental, and he's been average at best and teams know you have to trade him, so if they can wait, there won't be much of a bidding war to sign him once he's released. You've already ponied up a fourth round pick and $9 M extension for Rosenfels, but he'll be 33 or 34 when he gets his first chance to start (and you'll have to resign him again if Brett plays 2 yrs). You're still gonna be looking for that franchise guy. Is Booty that guy? Maybe, but he looked awful last yr.
Chili has painted them into a corner, put everything in place, except the keystone, and its all gonna come toppling down on his head. They have to win now, before their window closes w/ guys like Hutchinson, the Williams Wall, Winfield, and of course these are the best yrs that Peterson will have, young and healthy.
So, I have put away my Vikings stuff. The replica Vikings helmet I wore for Halloween in elementary school, which I've displayed on a shelf while living in both WI and Chicago, is put away. My Vikings hat, which I've had since college, is gone. Vikings jerseys, T-shirts, a hoodie, all packed away.
Now, I suppose I could burn, or throw away, or auction this stuff on Ebay, but I am not totally giving up on the Vikings, just giving up on them as long as Brett Farve is around. Hopefully, that won't be long.
My new team is the New England Patriots. I'm not just a bandwagon jumper, I've been a fan of theirs since 2001 when Belichick first started winning. I have 2 books on Belichick, including a great one by David Halberstam, and I've been an advocate of Tom Brady, even when people thought he was just a system guy. Plus, Randy is my homeboy, I believe I wrote another blog about that. Be fun to see if they can recreate 2007, w/ a better ending.