The only thing they can do is build for next year — a year that will almost certainly (we kinda sorta think) not include quarterback Brett Favre — and interim head coach Leslie Frazier has four more games to leave his mark on the organization.
The Vikings are 2-0 with Frazier at the helm, and they’ve adjusted nicely since the firing of Brad Childress, who led Minnesota to a 3-7 start to the season. Last week, they beat the Bills, 38-14, after Favre was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury on his first passing attempt, which wound up as an interception.
That left backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in control of the offense, and he completed 15-of-22 passes for 187 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, while running twice for 22 yards. That’s the same Tarvaris Jackson who scared Vikings ownership so badly that they sent three of their most marketable stars to Mississippi to corral Favre midway through training camp.
By that notion, there doesn’t seem to be much faith in Minnesota that Jackson can do the job—and, hey, that performance against the Bills wasn’t all that magical—but to be fair, Favre’s tremendous 2009 season was still fresh in the Vikings’ memory.
However, it’s time for the Vikings to move on without Favre, who has played well below standard this season. This isn’t an anti-Favre rant, and it’s not fueled by Favre’s annual retirement shuffle.
It’s a simple football decision. Favre’s performance crushed the Vikings this season, and they need to look toward 2011, as well as their investment on Jackson, who was a second-round draft pick in 2006. Maybe Jackson isn’t the Vikings’ long-term answer, but maybe they should give him four more games to give them a better indication. That’s an approach they’ve already taken with Frazier, so what more do they really have to lose?
The only thing Favre has to play for is his record streak of consecutive starts, and the best thing he could do is win four games in a row and get the Vikings to 9-7 before he (we think) retires. If the Vikings want to establish some consistency and momentum heading into 2011, it would be best to part ways with Favre.
Plus, the Vikings are in that no-man’s land with their draft position. Unless they execute a major trade to leap in front of the bevy of teams that are looking for a franchise quarterback, it seems unlikely they’ll reel in Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, Auburn’s Cam Newton or Washington’s Jake Locker.
So, while they take time to develop a new quarterback, they’ll need a stop-gap at the position, and Jackson could be a low-risk guy for that role. Guys like Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Jake Delhomme, Troy Smith and Vince Young could all be available in some capacity this offseason, but outside of Vick (it would truly be shocking if the Eagles let him get away) and Palmer (if the Bengals blow it all up), none of those options are incredibly enticing.
At any rate, the Vikings are a team in transition, and they’d be doing themselves a disservice by tacking on four charitable starts at the end of Favre’s career.
Should the Vikings bench Brett Favre? Leave your thoughts below.