Every radio host who talks sports for a living should be extremely happy this morning. Especially, if they work in the Twin Cities.
Brett Favre has again provided them with what amounts to sports-talk gold: An offseason of being able to discuss if the future Hall of Fame quarterback is going to be wearing a Vikings uniform after all. Given Favre’s inability to stay retired – you’ll recall his first attempt last year didn’t exactly stick — this certainly seems like fair game.
Those who found Favre’s latest retirement less than convincing were given plenty of ammunition on Tuesday night when the New York Jets — Favre’s employer during the 2008 season — announced that he had asked for and received his release from the team’s reserve/retired list. Favre said in a statement that “at this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football.”
If Favre has no plans to return why did he ask for his release from the Jets? And why include the line “at this time” in his statement? Those three words are why there is going to be speculation that Favre is going to return and that, if he does, his first choice is going to be the Vikings. You’ll recall that when Favre wanted to unretire last summer, his desire was to come to Minnesota. The Green Bay Packers made sure that didn’t happen and even filed tampering charges against Minnesota. The Vikings were cleared by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Vikings also were scared off. They have nothing to fear now.
Favre will turn 40-years-old in October, but it’s not as if the Vikings are set at quarterback. Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson are set to battle for the starting job, leaving that position as a major question mark for an offense that could be one of the NFL’s best given its various weapons (Bernard Berrian, Adrian Peterson and now Percy Harvin).
And then there is another factor: the business aspect. Despite the fact the Vikings are coming off a 10-6 season and an NFC North title, the fan base as a whole doesn’t seem all that excited about this team. On a conference call with season-ticket holders on Monday, owner and team President Mark Wilf admitted that the Vikings’ season-ticket sales “are slightly behind last year but we’re being aggressive.”
There would be nothing more aggressive than adding Favre. And this time there is nothing to stop the Vikings from pursuing him or vice versa. The Packers no longer stand in the way and that poison pill the Packers inserted into their trade with the Jets — the one that mandated New York send three first-round picks to Green Bay if it traded Favre to another NFC North team — also is out of the picture.
There is one key to this, however, and right now it’s an unknown. As our friend Kevin Seifert at ESPN pointed out on his NFC North blog this morning, Favre said when he retired that he needed surgery to repair a torn biceps in his right arm. Did he have the procedure done? If he didn’t, is returning even an option?
All are interesting questions and now seemingly open for discussion.