If Favre retires, was signing worth it for Vikings?

Before their win over the Cowboys in the Divisional Round two weeks ago, I proposed the question of whether or not signing Brett Favre was worth it for the Vikings. Now that Minnesota has been knocked out of the playoffs and the annual Brett Favre retirement dance has begun, I’m proposing a similar question.

If Favre does decide to hang ‘em up this offseason, was signing him for one year worth it for the Vikings?

Had they lost to Dallas, I would have empathically said “no” to the above question. The Vikings won the division and reached the playoffs with Gus Frerotte and Tarvaris Jackson in 2008. So for all intents and purposes, had they lost to the Cowboys the Vikings would not have improved under Favre and therefore, his signing would have been a waste. After all, Minnesota didn’t jump over all the hurdles to sign Favre last offseason just so they could win another division title and be bounced in their first playoff game. And had he retired after a loss to Dallas, the signing would have looked even worse.

However, my stance has changed after the Vikes advanced to the NFC Championship Game because that meant they did improve with Favre under center. They weren’t knocking on the door of a Super Bowl last year with Jackson at quarterback and although we’ll never know, I highly doubt they would have reached the NFC title game with Jackson or Sage Rosenfels this season.

So yeah, the signing of Favre was worth it in my eyes. Did they sign him in hopes that he would advance them to the Super Bowl? Of course they did, but 30 teams fail to reach the Super Bowl every year and 28 of them didn’t get as far as the Vikings did this season. They knew they were a quarterback away from making a legitimate run and they did what they had to do in order to sign one of the best in the game.

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If the Vikings lose on Sunday, would signing Favre have been a waste?

The Minnesota Vikings didn’t just sign Brett Favre in the offseason: They jumped through every hoop and hopped every hurdle in front of them in order to acquire the ageless one, including alienating Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson in the process. (And while I can’t prove it, I also fully believe that Brad Childress sold his soul in order to sign Favre as well.)

That’s why if the Vikings lose this Sunday to the Dallas Cowboys, signing Favre would have arguably been a waste. A team like Minnesota doesn’t subject itself the way it did this offseason to sign a 40-year old quarterback to lose in the second round of the playoffs. It signs a 40-year old drama queen because he’s worth it and to ensure that the team is going to have a shot at winning the Super Bowl.

Okay, so there are no sure things in pro football. Signing Favre didn’t guarantee anything for the Vikings, but they knew that they were a legit passing attack away from being a Super Bowl contender and so far, suffering through Favre’s drama this offseason has been worth it.

But if they lose this weekend, then they would have accomplished nothing. Favre isn’t going to play forever (uh, I think) and the Vikings’ window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl has been shrinking since Week 1. If they lose to the Cowboys, then the Vikes will have won precisely the same amount of playoff games with Tarvaris Jackson under center last year: Zero.

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Poll: How far do the Vikings have to advance to justify the whole Brett Favre saga?

Here are the results of our recent poll:

107 total votes

23% — the playoffs
26% — the championship game
23% — the Super Bowl
27% — nothing can justify this

I’m a little surprised by the results. After all, the Vikings did make the playoffs last season, so just making the postseason again would seem like treading water more than making a step forward, so I don’t know that it would justify the Favre saga.

Conversely, I threw in the “nothing can justify this” as kind of a joke, but it ended up being the top answer. I guess Favre fatigue outweighs common sense to some degree. Do people honestly think that even if the Vikings represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season that the Favre signing is still not justified? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

Tell me why I’m wrong.

(P.S. As a long-time Packer fan, my stomach turns every time I see Favre anywhere near the color purple.)

Peter King criticizes Vikings’ signing of Favre

Count SI.com NFL writer Peter King as someone who thought the Vikings’ signing of Brett Favre was a bad idea. In fact, King went as far to say in one of his recent articles that both Minnesota and Favre have made a mistake.

The perfect scenario would have been for the Vikings to see if Rosenfels or Jackson played well enough through a piece-of-cake early schedule (at Cleveland, at Detroit, San Francisco), and if the position was an Achilles heel, then reach out to Favre to see if he was interested. By doing it now, Childress tells his team he doesn’t trust Rosenfels or Jackson. That could come back to haunt him if Favre’s body breaks down.

Childress has looked like a desperate man throughout this melodrama. He made it known internally that Favre had to do at least some work in the offseason program or the veteran mini-camp to be considered. Favre never showed. Then he had to come by the start of camp. Favre didn’t come, opting for his third false retirement in 17 months. Now the Vikings let him come back after the team has gone through training camp. Favre’s the wishy-washiest player in memory — and the Vikings are his enablers. It’s ridiculous.

I agree with King that this situation was handled poorly by Childress and the Vikings, although in effort not to repeat myself, here’s a link to a post I wrote yesterday in which I go into detail about this saga. I break down how gutless Childress is for allowing Favre to dictate how the situation played out, how the signing was a slap in the face to Rosenfels, and yes, how the Vikings are a better team with Favre under center.

It would be ironic if Childress had to lean on Rosenfels at the end of the year if/when Brett breaks down. Rosenfels will probably conduct his business in a professional manner and put the team ahead of his personal feelings. But if I were him, I’d be livid about busting my ass in OTAs and training camp thinking I had a chance to start, only to be shoved to the backburner as soon as Favre was signed.

What is Favre’s fantasy value?

In case you missed it, pending a physical, Brett Favre is about to become a Viking.

People are justifiably interested in talking about the on-again/off-again Brett Favre saga, and how the Vikings bent over backwards, allowing #4 to skip training camp because…well…he doesn’t like to practice.

But what about his fantasy impact?

First things first, the Vikings have one of the easiest schedules for a QB. Whether it’s Brett Favre, Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson, the Minnesota QB is only projected to have one tough matchup all season.

Fans around the country have been dumping on Favre since the Jets’ December swoon last season, but let’s not forget the fact that he was in the MVP conversation as late as Week 12 after he led the Jets to a 34-13 victory over the then-undefeated Titans in Nashville. At that point, Favre was averaging 224 yards, 1.8 TD and 1.2 INT per game. Had he continued on that pace, he would have finished as fantasy’s #9 QB, ahead of David Garrard and behind Matt Cassel. Somewhere around this point in the season, Favre tore his biceps which led to his late-season swoon. Even so, he finished as QB13.

In early July, when Favre-to-Minnesota looked inevitable, he was going in the 12th round. I suspect that he might go a bit earlier (maybe the 9th-11th) now that it’s (almost) official. This puts him the QB15-QB20 range. I’d probably take him after Cassel/Hasselbeck/E. Manning/Garrard but before Orton/Edwards/Flacco/Delhomme.

Favre is still starter-caliber when healthy, but his age makes him better suited to be part of a QBBC. With that in mind, I re-ran the QBBC numbers, assuming that Favre would score 251 fantasy points (in a high performance scoring system) figuring that last year’s total (which included five games with a torn biceps) would be a fair estimate of his 2009 production. It turns out that Favre’s schedule combines well with Shaun Hill (#14 combo), Garrard (#20) and Cassel (#27), so if you’re trying to get one of my recommended QBBC combos — Cassel/Hill, Garrard/Hill or Garrard/Cassel — Favre works with all three of those QBs. Put him alongside Trent Edwards on your list of backup options if you miss out on one of those players.

As for the rest of the Vikings, the threat of Favre in the passing game should boost the value of Adrian Peterson, while his experience and talent should help Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe.

If you do draft Favre, be sure to grab Sage Rosenfels as his backup. Prior to the Favre signing, Rosenfels was leading the QB competition and has the best chance of being Favre’s backup.

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