History Remembers Vikings-Jets Personnel Feud
Antoine Winfield
Antoine Winfield

Posted Aug 8, 2008


The New York Jets got Brett Favre, a player the Vikings may have been interested in. However, that was nothing new, as the Jets seem to have an axe to grind with the Vikings ever since the Antoine Winfield signing.

Broadcaster Paul Harvey for years has done a regular segment called “The Rest of the Story.” In them, he will tell a story without mentioning the name of the subject, explain some watershed moment in that person’s life and, at the end, give out the name – often John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, etc. Harvey would have had a field day with the Brett Favre trade saga, because it appears there was a story behind the story.

As the truth is starting to come out about the whos, whats, whens and wheres of the Favre deal, it now sounds like Tampa Bay never made an offer to the Packers and the only chance they had to deal him to another team was to ship him to the Jets. But even so, the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson had a paranoid streak running through them. Could the Jets be trading for Favre just to serve as a conduit to trading him to the Vikings?

Viking Update had discussed that possibility – a team trading a third-round pick to the Packers and then turning around and trading Favre to the Vikings for a second-round pick. But the Jets were arguably the worst team possible for the Vikings to try to work out an under-the-table deal. Although not division rivals, the Vikings and Jets have some bad blood between them.

It started in the free agent period of 2004. The Vikings and Jets were both hot on the trail of free agent Antoine Winfield. The Jets seemingly had won that race. Winfield was at the team headquarters and contract documents were being prepared for his signature. Vikings then-head coach Mike Tice wasn’t going to give up on Winfield without a fight. The Big Galoot called Winfield on his wife’s cell phone and made one last pitch. Winfield had a change of heart, but he was already at Jets headquarters. Through Tice’s connection with the billion-dollar horse racing industry, he set up getting a private plane to fly Winfield and his wife to Minnesota. The Vikings sent a limousine to the Jets headquarters and whisked Winfield and his wife out of the Jets headquarters. The escape from New York was complete when Winfield got to Winter Park and didn’t leave until he had a contract signed.

The Jets were miffed to say the least, but they would exact some revenge. In the 2005 draft, the Vikings had their eye on kicker Mike Nugent. They knew he would cost them a second-round pick in the draft, but, by all accounts, they were willing to pay that price. The Jets, who didn’t have a first-round pick that year, weren’t going to allow that to happen. They made a deal to move ahead of the Vikings and snagged Nugent. The following year, there were rumors that the Vikings were interested in QB Kellen Clemens. Once again, the Jets made a trade to get in front of the Vikings’ second pick of the second round and scooped Clemens. The Vikings wound up taking Tarvaris Jackson at the end of the round.

Both moves almost seemed motivated by the Jets as revenge for the Winfield deal. It would seem they held a grudge and would go out of their way to make sure the Vikings didn’t get someone else they coveted. So when it came down to the Jets as a landing spot for Favre, it should have come as no surprise. If any team in the league had an axe to grind with Minnesota, it would be the Jets.

But, not taking any chances, Thompson and Green Bay officials made sure of it by putting in language that makes it impossible for Favre to end up with the Vikings. The conditional fourth-round pick traded to New York turns into a third-rounder if Favre takes 50 percent of the snaps this year for the Jets. It becomes a second-rounder if Favre takes 70 percent of the snaps and the Jets make the playoffs. It becomes a first round pick if the Favre takes 80 percent of the snaps and the Jets make the Super Bowl.

It didn’t end there. As a poison pill in the contract language, if the Jets tried to do a little sleight of hand and trade to Favre to the Vikings, the price would be steep. How steep? Try three first-round picks. If the Jets had any notion of using Favre as a bargaining chip to get more draft picks, the Packers quashed that with the requirement that the Jets would have to send them three first-rounders over the next three years if somehow Favre ended up in purple.

The Jets clearly won’t go that route. The Packers successfully got rid of Favre and, in the process, made sure there is no chance the Vikings will get him. And now you know the rest … of the story.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • Within eight hours of Favre being traded, more than 3,000 Favre jerseys were sold on the Jets website.

  • Former Viking Cory Withrow is missing time in Chargers camp with a groin injury.

  • With the signing of Favre, the Jets released QB Chad Pennington. According to his agent Tom Condon, a “half-dozen” teams have contacted him about Pennington. One team known to be interested is Miami. A New Jersey newspaper claimed the Jets tried to trade Pennington to the Vikings before releasing him. It is unknown whether the Vikings are one of the half-dozen teams looking at Pennington, but it would be doubtful considering their position on Tarvaris Jackson and the offseason signing of Gus Frerotte as a backup.

  • The Vikings head into tonight’s game extremely healthy. While other teams have a laundry list of players on their injury lists, the Vikings have just three – DE Brian Robison (leg), CB Marcus McCauley (knee) and TE Garrett Mills (ankle). Everyone else on the roster should be available to play.


  • Related Stories
    Wilf Speech Makes Impression
     -by VikingUpdate.com  Jul 26, 2008
    Some Workout Warriors Get Paid
     -by VikingUpdate.com  Jun 17, 2008
    Matchup to watch: Smith vs. CBs
     -by VikingUpdate.com  Sep 20, 2008

    MAGAZINE COVERAGE
    Subscribe today and get a full year of Viking Update Magazine with an annual Total Access Pass.
    Sign Up Today!

    Upgrade Now!
    Free Email Newsletter
    Don't miss any news or features from VikingUpdate.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
    Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

    Add Players to My HotList
    Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
    CB Antoine Winfield (profile)
    [View My HotList]
    Add Topics to My HotList
    Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
    Football > Garfield HS > Alumni
    Football > Minnesota
    Football > Ohio State > Alumni
    [View My HotList]