QB Brett Favre (Andy King/AP)
Leslie Frazier knows he has to address the quarterback position, but it might not be any worse than it was in 2010, even if a rookie is running the offense in 2011. A look at the historical numbers show just how bad it was with Brett Favre in 2010.
The buzz surrounding the Vikings the last few days (and the next several months) has been centered around the uncertainty at the quarterback position. Barring a surprise signing of Tarvaris Jackson during the window in which players can be re-signed, Joe Webb and Rhett Bomar will be the only quarterbacks under contract with the team.
The one thing that seems clear is that the Vikings won’t go into the 2011 season with Webb as the No. 1 QB on the depth chart. If they don’t draft a quarterback, the belief is that they will swing a trade or sign a veteran free agent. They may end up doing both, using a high pick on a QB and bringing in a veteran. The team is currently in limbo at the position, but the bigger question is whether it will have enough stability at the position compared to 2010.
Maybe the question should be this: Could things possibly be worse than they were in 2010?
For all his career-long success, Brett Favre was pretty dismal in 2010. Of the 14 games in which he started, Favre had at least one interception in 12 of them (including one game in which he threw only one pass and another in which he threw just seven passes) and had two or more picks in five of those games. In those same 14 games, Favre threw a touchdown in just nine of them and had more than one TD pass in only two of them.
Perhaps even more troubling is that the best way to determine a quarterback’s value (or lack thereof) to the team is measured by passer rating. Anything over 100.0 is viewed as an excellent game or season – and Favre exceeded that benchmark for the entire 2009 season. So how many games with a passer rating of 100.0 or better did Favre have in 2010? Two – in wins against Dallas and Arizona. Other than that, his game-by-game passer ratings were 71.7, 44.3, 68.4, 85.2, 50.4, 80.1, 44.5, 51.2, 87.6, 0.0 and 99.1. The last of those games was against Chicago in which he threw just seven passes, so it’s hard to count that particular game in the mix, as is the 0.0 ranking achieved by throwing just one pass.
One of the caveats used in discussions about the Vikings quarterback is that a rookie being thrown immediately into action would have a difficult time handling the pressures of the pro game. However, when the Vikings’ 2010 numbers are factored in – the three QBs combined to throw 14 touchdowns and 26 interceptions and had a combined passer rating of 67.7 (Favre’s 69.9 rating was the highest of the three) – one has to ask the question, “Could a rookie do any worse?”
Considering how critical the quarterback position is to any team, it’s hard to believe the Vikings didn’t have a worse record. The last time the Vikings had a season passer rating that low was in 1985, the year the Vikings emerged from the rubble of the franchise-worst 1984 team under Les Steckel in which the team hit bottom. A lot of quarterbacks have come and gone in the intervening 25 years, but never has the passer rating been lower than it was in 2010.
How the Vikings address the quarterback position will unfold as the weeks and months progress. The lack of a front-line quarterback is sure to have the Vikings down in the minds of most football analysts, especially given the potential for a Bears-Packers NFC title game matchup in a week and half. But, given the Vikings had their worst quarterback performance in a quarter-century, one would have wonder if things could be any worse – even if a rookie is “thrown to the wolves” in his first season.
Reports out of Mississippi have yet another Vikings assistant coach being pursued for a new job. Wide receivers coach George Stewart is said to be on a short list of coaching candidates to join Houston Nutt’s staff at Ole Miss. However, Stewart might not leave the Vikings, which hold him in high regard. Stewart and Nutt were coaches together at Arkansas under head coach Lou Holtz in 1983 after being teammates for the Razorbacks.
In the latest Jenn Sterger news, the embittered Favre accuser will change her ripped Jets T-shirt for a bar T-shirt. Sterger will be hosting a March Madness party at the grand opening of Public House in Chicago on Thursday, March 17, according to TMZ. For those looking to attend the event, Sterger will be available to pose for pictures and sign autographs.
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.