Aug 3, 2010
As many are reporting this morning, QB Brett Favre has informed the team that he will NOT be returning for a 20th season in 2010. According to various sources, Favre has said that his injured ankle simply isn’t responding to treatment.
The concern I have is that it’s only August 3rd, so it’s still early. The shift now goes to whether or not Favre will change his mind. But the reality is the possibility of Tarvaris Jackson starting for the Vikings in ’10 is very real.
We’re going to let this story unfold for at least another day or two before making any dramatic changes in our projections, but the obvious moves involve their receivers; it’s bad news for all of them, and all need to be downgraded. Here’s what we’re thinking:
– Sidney Rice – Lower-end #2 WR.
– Percy Harvin – Lower-end #3 (his versatility does help his cause)
– Bernard Berrian – #4 WR
– Visanthe Shiancoe – Low-end starter/high-end backup
We have to point out that these receivers could potentially (or will definitely) go from playing with one of the best QBs in the history of the league, and the best red zone QB in the league last year, to a QB who leaves a ton of plays on the field, still has mechanical problems, plays too fast, and lacks timing and anticipation.
As for Jackson, while the Vikings desperately need to find a way to get back to running the ball more effectively if Favre is gone, they’ve also formed a talented receiving corps, so Jackson should try to take advantage of that. I’m not optimistic on Jackson overall, but if he’s the guy all season he could produce top-20 totals, helped by his rushing. Of course, if Jackson struggles Sage Rosenfels could get a chance, just as Gus Frerotte did in Jackson’s last season as the starter (2008). Rosenfels has fallen out of favor, but unless Jackson has made dramatic strides that we don’t know about, I think Rosenfels may be a better option, so we can’t advocate Jackson as a strong fantasy backup. We’ll just have to see how the next 2-3 weeks unfold.
The biggest key for the Vikings, of course, is their running game. The OL did gain experience in 2009, so they could be better this year. LG Steve Hutchinson is also healthy (he was not last year), which helps. We expect the OL to block better for Adrian Peterson, but their depth is poor, which is a concern. As for Peterson, his value gets a boost, for sure. He’ll get a few more carries, and he’ll be used a lot in the passing game. This is also good news for rookie Toby Gerhart because Peterson cannot do it all on his own. We can see Gerhart getting 6-8 touches most weeks as long as he’s up-to-speed with the offense and doing well in pass protection. We probably won’t be moving Peterson up to #1 at RB because of the shaky state of the OL.
Again, this could all potentially be a moot point in a few weeks if Favre changes his mind, but it’s certainly time to prepare for life without Favre in Minnesota.