Let’s set Halloween as the over/under date for when Brett Favre suffers a career-ending injury, the nagging affliction that settles the Favre-Ted Thompson debate once and for all.
I chose a side a long time ago. I’m a Favre groupie. I enjoy the drama on and off the field. I believe Thompson, the general manager of the Packers, gave up on Favre too soon.
But I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong. If seasoned properly, crow tastes just like chicken, and I love chicken.
I’m thinking of playing the under.
Based on what we saw Sunday, Favre won’t last half the season. Right now, at 0-2, Favre and the Vikings have a 13 percent chance of qualifying for the playoffs. By losing 14-10 to the Dolphins, Minnesota dug itself a mammoth hole and re-exposed the flaws that make a Minnesota playoff run seem like pure fantasy.
You know the obvious: 1. Minnesota’s offensive line can’t protect Favre; 2. The Vikings don’t have a No. 1 receiver; 3. Brad Childress is not an elite coach.
Here’s what’s not as obvious and can’t be proven with stats: The Williams Wall, the key to Minnesota’s defense, is cracked. When the opposition really needs to, it can run right at the heart of the Minnesota defense. Kevin and Pat Williams are not as effective as they used to be, which has made Jared Allen less effective.
I know, the Vikings have surrendered 199 rushing yards in two games, good for 11th best in the league (they were No. 2 last season). But their run defense does not pass my eyeball test. It’s not creating enough second- and third-and-long situations. The squad that led the league in sacks in 2009 ranks No. 18 after two weeks.
We’re witnessing a total team failure. Favre could bail. He has a bad ankle. He’s old. He didn’t come back for a 20th season to lead an 8-8 ball club. It’s Super Bowl or bust. When Favre figures out the Super Bowl isn’t an option, does he quit?
God, I hope not. That would be the nightmare scenario for Favre defenders. We would look incredibly foolish.
This column is my preparation for the worst-case scenario.
I don’t see any solutions. Vincent Jackson, the disgruntled San Diego receiver, can’t fix Minnesota’s offense. Not this season. He’ll just be another receiver who has no chemistry with Favre. Plus, Jackson doesn’t play right tackle.
A year after putting together the best season of his career, Favre is on pace for his worst. His QB rating is 56.1, down 51.1 points from a year ago. On Sunday, he tossed three interceptions and gave up a fumble in the end zone.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Minnesota coaching staff was afraid of Favre. Handed a gift from Miami running back Ronnie Brown — a fumble deep in Miami territory — the Vikings ran Adrian Peterson six straight times. On fourth and goal from the 1, the Dolphins smothered Peterson short of the goal line.
Favre, in my opinion, will choose a season-ending injury over spending the next three months as a Minnesota liability.
I hope I’m wrong. There’s nothing on his resume that says he’s a quitter. His ironman streak of starts is as impressive a stat as you’ll ever see in football.
But this is a unique situation. Favre is not totally invested in the Vikings. He doesn’t have enough sweat equity. He had to be begged into returning to a team that was a last-minute drive from advancing to the Super Bowl.
Favre doesn’t like training camp. How do you think he feels about November games devoid of playoff implications?
It could be over this week. The Lions are not the same-old Lions. They’re dangerous. They had the Bears on the ropes (Calvin Johnson’s “drop”). They had the ball in the final two minutes with a chance to beat the Eagles.
Detroit is good enough to beat the Vikings, especially if Favre gift-wraps a couple of turnovers.
An 0-3 Minnesota start, and I expect Peter King or Chris Mortensen or Jay Glazer to publish pictures of Favre’s bruised and swollen ankle. A doctor will be on ESPN around the clock talking about all the potential lifelong damage Favre could do to his ankle if he continues to play.
Sunday’s Lions-Vikings game is a must-win affair for us Favre groupies. Things get considerably worse for the Vikings after Sunday. After a bye, Minnesota plays the Jets, the Cowboys, the Packers and the Patriots on Halloween.