Bret Favre has yet to make a decision about coming back to the Vikings.
Brett Favre still hasn’t made up his mind about returning for a 20th NFL football season, and until he makes a decision it’s tough to accurately gauge the Vikings' chances of a three-peat this season.
Favre says he can still play at a high level like he did in 2009 when he threw for a career-high 4,202 yards along with 30 touchdowns, seven interceptions and the second highest passer rating in the league (107). It was easily the best statistical performance of his career.
However, he did have offseason ankle injury and the recovery time for a 41-year-old is another tough thing to accurately predict.
Many of the NFL football odds regarding the Vikings were set with the assumption that Favre is coming back. Bodog has Minnesota listed at 12/1 to win the Super Bowl and 6/1 to capture the NFC title. The Vikings are the second choice to win the NFC North (plus 150) behind the Packers (plus 130).
Here are a couple of my favorite props as they pertain to the future Hall of Famer:
- Favre retires: 10/11
- Favre plays 10/13
This is an interesting “what if” prop bet. What happens if he does retire?
Join a broadcast team:
- NBC 7/1
- ABC/ESPN 1/3
- Fox 4/1
I’m prepared to bet the ranch on none of the above. Favre, with that slow southern drawl, makes for a great pitchman and interview subject but wouldn’t be a good fit as a commentator in the fast-paced television climate either in studio or as an analyst.
So enough about Favre, let’s assume he’s coming back to a Vikings team that could be better than a year ago when the Vikes went 12-4 (9-6-1 ATS). Let’s not forget either they were one turnover away from likely winning the NFC championship.
The Vikings enter 2010 with all 22 starters back from a year ago. They added depth to both sides of the ball, primarily through the draft, and did it without the benefit of a first-round selection. Stanford’s Toby Gerhart, who rushed for 1,871 yards and 27 touchdowns while finishing second in the Heisman Trophy balloting, fell to them in the second-round. He’ll back up Adrian Peterson while giving Minnesota a solid short yardage back.
The Vikings also scored big on NFL football defense as well nabbing USC’s pass-rush specialist Everson Griffin along with cornerback Chris Cook.
Several Vikings enjoyed their best NFL seasons in '09. Sidney Rice emerged as Favre’s favorite receiver with 83 receptions, 1312 yards and eight touchdowns. Percy Harvin, when he wasn’t slowed down by migraines, proved to be clutch receiver with 60 catches and was among the top return men in the league with an average of 27.5 and two touchdowns.
Perhaps the biggest surprise among the receivers was tight end Visanthe Shiancoe who had 56 catches and 10 touchdowns.
Peterson remains among the elite backs in the league but needs to do a better job of protecting the football. Peterson had a combined 1,819 yards (1,383 rushing) and 18 touchdowns in ‘09, but he also fumbled a league-high seven times.
Overall Minnesota ranked second in scoring (29.4) and sixth in total yards (379.6). NFL
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Jared Allen is the unquestioned leader of a defensive unit that ranked sixth in yards allowed per game (305.5) and second against the run (87.1). Allen had 14.5 of the Vikings' NFL-high 48 sacks along with five forced fumbles and an interception.
The Vikings had just 11 interceptions and that was a testimony to the team's pass rush. If you think about it, you can’t throw an interception if you can’t throw. The sack-to-interception ratio is a stat I’ll be keeping a close eye on this season.
Minnesota opened the 2009 season fast out of the blocks on streaks of 6-0 and 10-1. The Vikings were a gold plated 5-2-1 ATS at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Overall, they went 4-1-1 ATS against division opponents.
The Vikings and Saints get the honors of kicking off the new season when they collide in New Orleans in a rematch of last season's NFC title game. Minnesota will also face stern road tests against the Jets, Patriots and Eagles along with their yearly visit to Green Bay. The home slate is no picnic either with the Cowboys and Cardinals scheduled to visit.
So whether it’s Favre, Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson behind center, the road back to the playoffs figures to be a tough one for the Purple and Gold.