One of the big NFL stories that emerged over the weekend was the condition of Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre and his soon to be 41-year-old ankle.
This is what Favre said in an email to ESPN's Ed Werder: "We (Dr. James Andrews) have spoken,'' Favre said in an e-mail. "To play again, I would need the surgery, as I suspected."
On his website, he would clarify that email by saying the following, "While my ankle has been bothering me, the injury is not debilitating. For example, I'm able to work around my property without any problems. Sure--certain exercises cause some ankle pain, but it's nothing that I haven't experienced (or played with) before."
Here are three things I am almost certain about, the almost being put in there because with Favre, nothing is for certain:
1) This is old news--Vikings management was aware of this news a long time ago - I head a Chicago radio talk show host speculate that he wondered if the Vikings would have drafted any differently had they known this. Trust me, the Vikings have been aware of this issue since January.
Many people want to act as if nobody knows anything until the media breaks the story, even the parties involved. This is not sandlot football. The Vikings are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Favre is under contract for an estimated $13 million. The Vikings know about their quarterback; they did not tell him to go back to Mississippi and to call in August with an update. Just because they are not rushing him for a decision does not mean they are giving him permission to keep them in the dark about everything.
Everyone knew Favre hurt that ankle in the NFC Championship, and it has to be assumed that Minnesota was aware of the injury, knew it was not healing as well as hoped and is convinced it would require a minor surgery to fix the problem, making it unnecessary to aggressively pursue a starting quarterback for 2010.
If that were not the case, they would have drafted a quarterback in the first or second round or traded for QB Donovan McNabb. They would not risk being left out in the cold with a quarterback whose ankle was about to fall off.
That does not mean the surgery has to go well or that Favre will not retire; any surgery has risks. It means that Favre and the Vikings have sufficient evidence to believe the surgery will not be major and has a very good chance for success. If you read between the lines and connect the dots, it is obvious that is the case. Both sides do not think this surgery will prevent Favre from playing in 2010.
2) This is following a very similar timetable to 2009 - We all know that Favre hates training camp. That has been obvious in when he filed for reinstatement in 2008 and how he handled his comeback in 2009. Both times, it resulted in him missing training camp and reporting in the middle of August.
Last year, Favre was released from the Jets on April 29. He consulted Dr. Andrews in mid May about having his "minor" shoulder surgery, and it happened sometime thereafter. He was ready to go in August.
This ankle surgery looks to be following a very similar course. My guess is that this is the injury that keeps Favre out of training camp. Favre will have the ankle surgery, not be sure if his ankle can hold up until about August 19 and suddenly show up in Minnesota practice after training camp has broken. That is, unless he has a major setback and is actually forced to retire.
Based on what I am seeing now, this looks like someone that intends to play in 2010. Neither side seems to be of the opinion the ankle surgery will produce unfavorable results.
3) Favre had great success without training camp - Last year Favre reported to the Vikings on August 19. Favre finished third among fantasy quarterbacks. RB Adrian Peterson was second among fantasy running backs. WR Sidney Rice finished eighth among fantasy receivers. Overall, Minnesota scored 470 points, which was second in the NFL. Favre missing training camp had zero negative effects on the Minnesota offense.
Favre proved last year that he does not need training camp to have a successful season, and this new ankle story should not cause anyone to downgrade the Minnesota players in 2010. The Maniaxs have been ranking the Vikings as if Favre will be back, and this story does nothing to convince us otherwise. If my league draft were being held today, I would draft under the assumption that he is coming back.
Favre causes a lot of emotion among NFL fans. His supporters feel that this is a veteran player that deserves the right to take his time to make the decision if he wants to play. His critics feel this is just another attempt to hog the cameras and capture headlines about his NFL future. Do not let your emotions affect your fantasy judgment. While it is impossible to figure out his true motives, I do not think it is that hard to connect the dots and figure out that he plans to play in 2010.
He can say he is undecided now, but everything about his past says he will play again. The ankle surgery news does not change that; in fact, it is making me more certain that he will play again. I think if he truly intended to retire, it would have been announced a couple months ago. The longer the story drags on, the better the chance he is wearing a purple uniform in 2010.
I fully expect him to be in a Minnesota uniform again mid August, in
shape and ready to contribute to the Minnesota Vikings. It should make
fantasy owners happy that there is a great chance that there will be an
abundance of viable fantasy options wearing purple come September. Feel
free to draft your Vikings as if Favre will play in 2010.
By Derek Lofland, NFL director at Fantasy Football Maniaxs