Sunday, March 29, 2015
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brett favre

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Two posts recently written here at VT have turned out to be related.

First, I mentioned that Ben Leber has rejoined the Vikings to provide preseason commentary for Vikings Entertainment Network, and I also mentioned that Brett Favre recently made remarks indicating that money was a main reason he returned to the Vikings for a disappointing 2010 season.

Now, appearing on KFAN and transcribed by PFT, Leber sounded off on Favre’s effort and attitude during a season that turned out to be on the worst, and most chaotic, in team history.

“He clearly wasn’t mentally and emotionally into it, and that’s the thing that kind of bugged me,” Leber said in the segment. “I get it, you’ve got to make the money when you can make it, even though he has made hundreds of millions of dollars. When he says it’s about the money, it just means that he wasn’t committed to us. So that irritated me a little bit, not for him taking the money, but for what it really meant.”

“You know, I’ll kind of stagger back in here,” said Leber in describing Favre’s approach, “And I’ll give you guys what I’ve got, but I just know wholeheartedly I don’t have it in me, and the money’s too good to pass up.”

“If that’s the case, move on,” Leber continued. “I’d rather go with somebody that’s maybe less talented, that’s 100 percent committed to us winning. It bugged me a little bit. I’m not going to say I lost sleep over it, but it bugged me.”

That “somebody” that was “maybe less talented” in 2010 was presumably Tarvaris Jackson.  Perhaps some of those reports about the infamous “schism” back in the day were more accurate than they were ever given credit for.

One thing I know for sure, as I ride around in my truck with a Packers fan turned Vikings fan turned Packers fan that is replacing me in my current job, I now have Leber’s comments to back me up in my persistent comments that Favre set this franchise back by four or five seasons.

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In 2009, despite the disgust from many fans and at least one hack blogger, Brett Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings and provided some of the most memorable moments in franchise history.  Months after that faithful game in New Orleans, Favre appeared set to retire for good.

So, what changed his mind?

“First of all, the money was too good,” Favre recently said on NFL Network. “The money was too good, and I hate to say it’s about money. But, you know, I felt the money was a lot.”

It is hard to remember all of the twists and turns of the circus that was the 2010 season, but I remember clearly the day that reports surfaced that Favre texted that Favre was hanging the cleats up for good.  In the middle of training camp, with Tarvaris Jackson taking reps as the starter, the Vikings brass pulled together on the field and found a way to raise Favre’s salary.  A trip in Zygi Wilf’s private jet was taken by Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson, and Ryan Longwell in an attempt to bring Favre back into the fold.

The whole thing was a mess and it should have been a sign of things to come.  The 2010 season turned out to be one of the worst (and weirdest) in franchise history, and Favre claims he knew the magic from 2009 wouldn’t be regained.

“Now, that’s not to say I didn’t give my all,” Favre said. “It just wasn’t to be, and I think I knew that. I really know it now.”

I’m not one to pull punches when it comes to ragging on Favre, but I can hardly blame him for playing another NFL season for over $16 million.  Being on a losing team may not be much fun, but most people would do much less enjoyable jobs for that kind of money.

For those of you that are still fired up (I’m not, but I do understand) about the New Orleans Saints “Bountygate” scandal” I think you will find a recent article by John Holler at Viking Update quite interesting.

Remi Ayodele was a member of the Saints when they beat the Vikings in the 2009 NFC Championship game, and then went on to win the Super Bowl.  In fact, Ayodele was in on one of the dirty hits on Brett Favre that has been called into question.

Since then, Ayodele has joined the Vikings and has been quoted numerous times saying that he enjoys showing of his Super Bowl ring and jabbing at other players from time to time for the outcome of that championship game.

Holler thought the hits in that game were so “pervasive” that he jumped at the opportunity to ask Ayodele about them once he had joined the team.  He even asked him specifically about the existence of an incentive program that rewarded injuries being dealt to the opposing team.  Here is Holler’s account:

Ayodele seemed momentarily surprised by the question with his facial reaction, but what he did next was more interesting. As with most reporters, I carry a recording device with me to make sure I get quotes right. Ayodele smiled and shrugged and, as he started to give his answer, he leaned into my recorder and said, “I don’t know anything about that.” I took from his reaction and response that he believed a real answer wasn’t really any of my business. When players don’t want to answer questions, each one reacts differently. When they look directly into a camera or, in this case lean into the microphone, they’re making a point. His smile and “I don’t know” shrug spoke more than his words and reminded me of a Mafia-style code of silence and vendetta. I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t going to lie, but he gave a classic “non-denial denial.” He didn’t say, “No. That never happened.” He said he knew nothing – the Sergeant Schultz defense.

Ayodele may have instantly become one of the least respected players on the Vikings roster, at least amongst fans, and after a very unproductive season with the team many of us wouldn’t mind seeing him (and his $2.2 million salary) be shown the door.

According to PFT, the Saints will be punished for their actions prior to March 25th.  Free agency begins on March 13th.

Normally I try to do this feature on Wednesdays.  On Wednesday there wasn’t enough news floating around to make it worth.

Something changed.

I can’t remember what exactly that was.

But if you give me $10,000 I might suddenly be able to recall.

Well, shoot, here I thought the post below this one was me taking an unpopular and unique stance on the whole “bountygate” brouhaha.

Guess not.

In the hours since I penned that plenty of others have suggested the practice of bounty hunting in the NFL is no surprise, that the Saints simply got caught, and I have even seen suggestions elsewhere that the NFL should punish them by taking away their rights to a 2012 franchise tag.

Now, I know the Vikings aren’t the only team affected over the last two or three years by Gregg Williams and his unacceptable bounty program, but it is clear they are among the most affected.

Reports have emerged that prior to the 2009 NFC Championship game linebacker Jonathan Vilma threw ten grand on a table and said it would go the player that knocked quarterback Brett Favre out of the game.

As us Vikings fans remember well, that game featured plenty of cheap shots to Favre and it was quite a feat that he was able to finish the game (badly).  This scandal also brings up memories of Adrian Peterson indicating Jabari Greer excessively twisted his ankle on the bottom of a pile in 2011, which nearly caused him to lose his cool.

We know the Saints are going to get punished and I still think there is a case to be made that the team should have their franchise tag revoked this offseason, but is this a case in which the NFL’s punishment should include payment to the team(s) affected by the broken rules?

It wouldn’t be the first time the league did something like that.

In 2008, the NFL found that the 49ers had been tampering with Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs, talking contract with him before they had the right to do so, and San Francisco had to forfeit their fifth round draft pick as a result.  The two teams were also forced to swap third round picks, increasing Chicago’s draft position in that round.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that plenty of other factors didn’t play into the Vikings loss to the Saints that postseason (ahem, twelve men in the huddle), but there could be a slight chance that the team is in line to receive compensation of some sort for being on the receiving end of Williams’ tactics.

Let’s hear it Vikings Territory, do you think the Vikings should get something out of this?  If so, what should they get?

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