Brett Favre (Matthew Stockman/Getty)
Sunday’s game has a couple of interesting plotlines for Vikings fans. Will Brett Favre make his final start, and will it be a game that helps put Leslie Frazier in charge of the team for years to come?
To the national sporting public, the Vikings-Lions game is essentially meaningless. The game has more to do with draft positioning and pride than anything else, but the Vikings will come into Sunday’s game with two big decisions – one to be made by head coach Leslie Frazier and one to be made concerning Frazier.
Brett Favre made the trip to Detroit after passing his first post-concussion neurological test. Before he could potentially play, he had to pass that test. He still has a series of tests to pass before he can be cleared to play, but Favre has amazing recuperative powers and fans should know by now that nothing is out of the realm of possibility where Favre is concerned. As a result, he is potentially able to play Sunday. While reports claim that he still remains doubtful, the fact of the matter is that he wasn’t expected to play against Chicago – he became the first player in recent memory to go from being listed as out the morning of a game to starting later that same day. It didn’t turn out well, but it made history.
With Favre remaining adamant that he is done (some would argue that his 2010 numbers would dictate that designation has already happened), today’s game would be the last of his career and Favre likely wants to end what he started – making his 299th regular-season start and setting a standard of games started that may never be touched, much less by another quarterback.
The decision whether Favre starts or Joe Webb gets a chance to follow up his impressive debut at Philadelphia Tuesday night will rest on the shoulders of Frazier. The other decision may come as soon as Monday, as the Vikings are reported to be in conversations of making Frazier the Vikings’ permanent head coach and getting rid of the “interim” designation on his status.
There have already been four head coaching firings in-season this year in the NFL and at least that many more will likely be official today or tomorrow. There is going to be a dearth of job openings that require filling and, given the competition, the Vikings would be well-advised to get themselves out of the market sooner than later. Hiring of assistant coaches on playoff teams can’t be done until they’re eliminated – teams on a bye the first week of the playoffs can meet with teams, but it tips their hand if such visits are made.
If the feelings of the players are factored in, the Wilf family would be advised to hire Frazier full-time. With so many Vikings scheduled to become free agents at the end of the year, if Zygi Wilf wants to keep the band together, the best chance of re-signing the numerous free agents they have (at least those they want to keep) would be to lock up Frazier and make their pitch that continuity is in their best interests.
The wild card in all of this is whether or not Wilf wants to have a big-name coach or front office man take over the football operations. If his man-love for Bill Parcells would allow him to back away from the control of the organization – the Big Tuna wants carte blanche – the team may pass on Frazier. That doesn’t look likely to happen.
Frazier has a decision of his own to make today. The Vikings have a decision to make on the guy making the first decision. Both will have an impact on today’s game and beyond. For most of the country, there isn’t any drama or interest in the Vikings-Lions game. But, for the Vikings as an organization, today may be a historic day in the history of the franchise – both where it has been and where it is going.
The Vikings added wide receiver Bernard Berrian to the injury report as questionable with a quadriceps injury on Saturday. Berrian had not been listed during the week and had practiced without mention of an injury.
As a hedge in the event that Berrian can’t go Sunday (Sidney Rice is expected to miss the game with a concussion), the Vikings signed Juaquin Iglesias off the Bears practice squad. Iglesias is a possession receiver that would seem like a decent fit in the West Coast offense. He doesn’t have great speed, which is likely why he was on the practice squad for the Bears, having been passed on the depth chart by guys like Devin Aromashodu and Johnny Knox in 2009. He had experience at Oklahoma returning kicks, which may be something he is used at Sunday, although Lorenzo Booker has done a decent job replacing Percy Harvin in the return-man role.
In order to sign Iglesias off the practice squad, the Vikings placed safety Tyrell Johnson (knee) on injured reserve.
One has to wonder what sort of role Hank Baskett will play on Sunday with the signing of Iglesias, who could be on the active roster if Berrian doesn’t suit up.
The Iglesias signing was the second time in as many weeks that the Vikings have signed a player off another team’s practice squad. Prior to the Philadelphia game, the Vikings signed quarterback Rhett Bomar off the Giants practice squad.
The Vikings may be on the cutting edge of a trend for other teams to follow – at the end of the season, placing injured players on season-ending I.R. and pilfering other teams’ practice squad players. It gives a team more players to have under contract when a season ends and, if they like what they see in players like Bomar and Iglesias, they can make a push to sign them to a contract for 2011.
Adrian Peterson currently has his lowest single-season rushing total with 1,267 yards in 14 games. However, he could end today with his second-highest rushing total of his four-year career. He needs 75 yards to pass his rookie total of 1,341 yards and 117 yards to pass his 2009 total of 1,383 yards.
In 60 career games, Peterson has rushed for 5,751 yards – an average of 96 yards a game.
In seven games against the Lions, Peterson has rushed for 783 yards, including a season-high 160 yards in Week 3.
From the “What the…?” Department comes this: the NFL’s official website has a video of Favre at Vikings practice Friday dancing to the Vanilla Ice song “Ice, Ice Baby.” For a 41-year-old white guy, he is passable in hip-hop dancing style – perhaps more than Van-Ice was at rapping. The good news? He didn’t do the Dougie.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.