The League

Brandon Benson
Packers Blogger

Brandon Benson

Brandon Benson is the lead blogger at Acme Packing Company.

Concerns at skill positions

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As a Packers fan who closely watches their competition in the NFC North (and has a more than idle curiosity in the career of one of the franchise's greatest quarterbacks, Brett Favre), I've been focused on whether he'll actually return to the Vikings in 2010. That way I was able to put off my other question: how much better are the Vikings in 2010 with Favre? After watching the Vikings rise from a first round playoff loss in 2008 to the NFC championship game in 2009, it's obvious they were a better team last season with him. If he could have such an incredible season at age 39, why can't he do it again at age 40?

The first part of that answer depends on his surgically repaired ankle. It was bad enough that he recently sent text messages that he wasn't coming back in 2010, and it required him to have a follow-up appointment with his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. Favre isn't a running quarterback at this point in his career, so the biggest concern is that it will effect his movement in the pocket. And he may not get enough help from his offensive line. While Favre was only sacked 15 times in 2007, he went down 34 times in 2009. Steve Hutchinson is still the All-Pro anchor on the line, but he's at an age (32 going on 33) at which he could start to decline. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie made his first Pro Bowl last season, but he was also dismissed from the team prior to the game. John Sullivan doesn't seem to be a proper replacement for their long-time center Matt Birk.

But the biggest problem could be the Vikings backs and receivers. Adrian Peterson is only 25 years old, but he's seen his yards per carry decline in each of his three NFL seasons from 5.6 to 4.8 to 4.4. Favre's favorite target in 2009, wide receiver Sidney Rice, has not played this preseason due to a hip injury, and there is no timetable for his return. Percy Harvin had a fantastic rookie season, but concerns about migraines cloud his future. Bernard Berrian was a high-priced free agent in 2008, but he only had 618 receiving yards in 2009, his lowest total since 2005, and doesn't appear ready to pick up all the slack.

This is an offense that could implode due to age and injuries in 2010 making Favre's return a risky one. On the other hand, this is the same group of players that had the fifth ranked offense during the 2009 regular season. The most likely outcome is that once Rice returns, their offense will be just as good in 2010 and put a Super Bowl trip within reach. But there is some risk that this could all fall apart, and Favre could be left second-guessing (does he do any other type of guessing?) his (latest) decision to return.

By Brandon Benson  |  August 18, 2010; 9:11 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre , Minnesota Vikings , NFL , Super Bowl Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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