The League

Michael Kun
Author

Michael Kun

Co-author of The Football Uncyclopedia. He is also the author of six other books and is a practicing attorney.

Healthy Vikes will contend

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The headline in Wednesday's edition of The Least Shocking World News will read, "Brett Favre Returns to the Vikings!"

It will be right above the breaking stories "World Keeps Turning for Record Billionth Consecutive Day" and "Eating Too Much Cake Leads to Weight Gain."

Seriously, is there anyone who's surprised, legitimately surprised, about Favre's decision to return? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

We all knew that Favre was likely to return once every newspaper, sports program and website gave him the attention he wanted, and once his teammates and coaches begged him to come back. (And, according to reports, three of his teammates actually missed practice earlier this week so they could fly to Mississippi to talk Favre into coming back. Without repeating everything I said in my last League contribution about Favre, let me say this: he just proved that he really is the pretty girl in high school who constantly needs to be told how pretty she is.)

Whether or not you agree that Favre was always likely to come back, there is only one interesting, relevant question about him now. Everything else is just nonsense and a waste of time. And that one interesting, relevant question is this: Can Brett Favre lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl?

And the answer is: Maybe.

Maybe he can, and maybe he can't.

As sick as we all are with Favre's annual should-I-or-shouldn't-I-retire act, there is no question that he remains one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He threw 33 touchdown passes with only seven interceptions last season, and he led the team to the NFC championship game. Enough said.

Even with a slight decrease in skills tied to his age, he's still one of the best there is. If he only ends up with 26 TDs and 14 interceptions, he's still better than most of the league's quarterbacks, isn't he?

And there's no question that he gives the Vikings a better chance to reach the Super Bowl than Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.

Yes, one good hit and Favre's season could be over. But you could say that about any quarterback in the league, couldn't you? Age doesn't make Favre any more susceptible to a broken hand or a blown knee than Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers, or Peyton Manning. Or, at least not significantly more so.

Whether Favre can lead Vikings to the Super Bowl seems to be less an issue about Favre than one about the rest of the league and the rest of the Vikings squad.

Half of the NFC has a reason to believe it can make it to the Super Bowl if everything falls into place. (Key words: "if everything falls into place," like it did for the Saints last year, the Cardinals the year before, and the Giants the year before that.) That includes the defending champion Saints, the suspiciously over-hyped Cowboys, the dark horse Falcons and 49ers, the I-don't-know-what-to-call-them-but-I-still-like-them Cardinals, the quietly impressive Packers, the unpredictable Giants and Eagles, and, yes, the Favre-led Vikings.

And there are lingering questions about that Vikings squad, most of which have little to do with Favre. Or, at least, not directly so.

For instance, how much time will Percy Harvin miss because of his ongoing problem with migraines? Because every game he misses puts more pressure on Sidney Rice after last year's breakout season.

And, speaking of Rice, how is his ongoing problem with his hip? When will he be back at full strength? Because if he can't come back, or can't come back at full strength, that means more carries for Adrian Peterson.

And, speaking of Peterson, how is his ongoing hamstring injury? When will he be back at full strength? And how can everyone anoint him the best running back in the league when he fumbles as often as he does? I don't care how Peterson does in your fantasy football league. I care about how he does in the real league, in real games, where fumbles can cost games and seasons. He needs to talk with Tiki Barber ASAP to find out how Barber corrected his fumbling issues. (Although Tiki Barber may be too tied up dealing with other problems to return Peterson's calls. And, by the way, we already know how Barber got over the problem: Tom Coughlin stopped coddling him. Perhaps Brad Childress should call Coughlin.)

And what if Harvin, Rice and Peterson are all out with injuries? Or two of the three? What happens then? That team can't make the Super Bowl, can it?

If I'm a Vikings fan, those are the questions I need the answers to now.

And, thankfully, none of them involve Brett Favre.

By Michael Kun  |  August 18, 2010; 2:00 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre , Minnesota Vikings , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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