What If Brett Favre Comes To The Vikings?

If you've been watching SportsCenter or ESPN at all this football off season, you know that it is rumored that Brett Favre will be a Minnesota Viking next year. With Favre undergoing arthroscopic surgery today, that rumor seems to be becoming more and more of a reality each day. While I personally find this humorous because the Packers did everything in their control when trading Favre, to make sure he didn't become a Viking, and now he will probably become one. But if Favre does play for Minnesota, what will that mean for the team? You hear people say that Minnesota is just a QB away from a Superbowl ring? Is that true? Well let's find out.

Luckily, the 2008 New York Jets and the 2009 Minnesota Vikings are very comparable. Both have seemingly below average receivers, an average offensive line, and a great running game. This means it is very easy to see what Brett Favre did last year and translate that to what we will probably be able to do this year.

Running Game:
Now if I gave you a choice between Adrian Peterson and Thomas Jones, which RB would you pick? Of course. But in terms of actual production last year, both were very similar. Because of New York's improved O-line, Thomas Jones had a career year last year. In terms of football sabermetric statistics, TJ had a better year with a better DVOA and DYAR than AP. In fact, All Day was just average. But we're talking about the running game in terms of the quarterback. Last year, Minnesota was ranked 5th in YPG and yards(NYJ 9th) but 3rd in attempts (NYJ 19th). Both teams had a very good and effective running game.

Conclusion: If Brett goes to Minnesota, they will probably run the ball more meaning Favre will not have to throw it as much as he did in New York. However, New York was much more effective AT running the ball. So the running game will probably help Favre but in reality, Minnesota's running game is not THAT much of an upgrade.

Receivers: In New York, Favre's main targets were Jericho Cotchery and Lav Coles. Coles was ranked 27th in DVOA, 36th in DVOA, and had 71 catches for 858 yards. Cotchery was ranked 34 in DYAR, 48 in DVOA, and had 70 catches for 850 yards. If Brett comes to Minnesota his main targets will be Bernard Berrian and rookie Percy Harvin. Last year Berrian was 18th in both DYAR and DVOA and 48 catches for 964. While there are obviously no stats on Harvin to judge, I will compare him to Eddie Royal. Royal was probably the best rookie wide out last year so we're going under the assumption that Harvin will make an immediate impact. Harvin (Royal) in '08: 32 in DYAR, 47 in DVOA, with 91 catches for 980 yards.

Conclusion: Favre's #1 target in Minnesota will be better than his #1 in New York, but he's going to be throwing to an unproved rookie in '09. If Harvin works out, Favre's recievers will be superior to the ones he had last year. But I made a huge assumption about Harvin, especially considering most rookie wide outs are flops.

Offensive Line:
Minnesota had a terrible passing offensive line last year ranked 5th to last in all of the NFL. The NYJ had an average line ranked 18th overall, but still ten spots better than Minnesota. Neither team really made huge positive offensive line moves, in fact, the Vikings LOST their center Matt Birk to free agency. And Birk was far inferior to Jets' Nick Mangold last year.

Conclusion: The offensive line is the essential factor to a QB. In fact, a team can have a great RB (especially one like AP that's good despite, not because, of the o-line) and good receivers and it won't matter if the QB is constantly getting rushed and sacked. But a QB can make a O-line as well. If a QB is good at throwing the ball accurately and early and eluding tackles, the the O-line looks better. So if Brett comes to play for Minnesota, that line will probably look a lot better; however, I see the ceiling no higher than what the Jets were last year. This means that Brett will still probably have a below average O-line, just like last year

Quarterbacks: In this discussion, we're not only talking about how Brett Favre would fare in the purple and black, but how much improvement would that make to Viks. Last year, Minnesota ranked 15th in YPA, 18th in passer rating, and 25th in YPG. This is actually worse than what Farve did. The New York Bretts were 7 spots lower in YPA, 1.3 points lower in passer rating (a 5 ranking drop), although nine spots higher in YPG. Tavaris Jackson was pretty bad last year ranking 25th in DYAR and 17th in DVOA. But Farve wasn't too far ahead ranking 20th in DYAR and actually ranked 9 spots lower than Jackson in DVOA.

Conclusion: Favre was only a little bit better in overall value than Jackson but actually worse on an average individual play. Favre may have posted better individual numbers than Jackson but did so very inefficiently. Although that shouldn't come as a surprise considering that's how come Farve holds the #1 in most categories like TDs and games won (along with INTs). Plus, if you just watched Brett in the second half of the season or looked at box scores, it was painfully obvious he was the sole reason the Jets did not make the playoffs last year.

So now that we have the statistics, what's the final overall conclusion? Although Favre had some nice talent at the RB and WR positions last year, the talent will only increase if he moves from New York to Minnesota. But that's only secondary help. Sure a QB needs other parts to help him out, but the primary factors are the line and the QB himself. And it is in these areas the Vikings are not really improving nor does Brett gain any improvements from last year. It is this that tells me that Brett really won't be a huge factor if and when he comes to the Vikings. And if Brett quits on the Vikings like he did in Minnesota, then that only bodes well for me as a Bears fan.

So for all you other Bears fans, or even bitter Packers fans, I think you need not worry that Brett Favre plays for the Minnesota Vikings.


The 'Bright' One said...

I'd compare percy harvin to leon washington. He's more of a running back than receiver

Favre was horrible last season. He ruined my last 5 weeks of fantasy, though he was better than jason campbell was the first 11

Sexy Rexy said...

I agree, I'm not actually making any actual analysis on any rookies because in reality, you frankly don't know how any receiver will play. I'm just using a hypothetical just to show what the ceiling of what Harvin COULD be.

As much as fantasy football correlates more to actual football (especially more than other sports), let's not make haste decision about how Favre did in fantasy,e specially for you. But obviously what Favre did at the end of the 2008 season needs to be a factor for reality, that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be a factor for what he'll do in '09.