Sage Rosenfels (Tom Hauck/Getty)
The rumored trade talks between the Vikings and Raiders for Sage Rosenfels would give him another – and maybe his best – shot at a starting job after nearly a decade in the league. While the trade seems unlikely at this point, it could once again be Brett Favre scuttling those plans.
We really should start keeping count of these Brett Favre-related stories as they come along. The latest chapter is an interesting one – the rumors that the Raiders might be sending out feelers about the availability of Sage Rosenfels in trade.
Prior to the signing of Favre, Rosenfels was expected to at a minimum compete for a starting job. In fact, it seemed like all the pieces were coming together after the Vikings made him one of their few offseason moves following the 2009 season. The team traded away a fourth-round draft pick for him and signed him to a three-year extension that, while not full-blown starter money, was considerably more than he was making to be Matt Schaub’s backup with the Texans.
The script was in place. Rosenfels would start the preseason opener against the Colts, Tarvaris Jackson would start the second game against Kansas City and Rosenfels would start the one that counted – the third preseason game on Monday Night Football against his former Texans teammates. Many believed a solid game would cement his chance to be the starter and, if the team played well, never look back. That changed in a huge way when Favrapalooza came to town.
Not only did Rosenfels’ chance of winning the starting job go up in smoke, so did his chance to see the field. Jackson was announced as the No. 2 quarterback in Week 1 and nothing ever changed. Favre had an MVP-caliber season, T-Jack handled the mop-up duty in a few games and Rosenfels watched for the sidelines. According to the league history books, Rosenfels has never officially played in a game for the Vikings – he was the No. 3 quarterback in all 18 games the Vikings played in the regular season and postseason.
The latest rumors of Rosenfels potentially being considered by the Raiders in a possible trade is just the next flicker of hope for a genuinely nice guy who, by all reports out of Houston, is also a pretty good quarterback. Rosenfels has been in the league for nine years – a total of 144 possible games played. He has played in just 32 and only 12 of those as a starter. After four years in Miami, Rosenfels thought he had his chance when the David Carr experiment came to its conclusion in Houston. He would get a chance to complete for the starting job. Then the Texans traded for Matt Schaub and his backseat ride continued. His big chance was supposed to come with the Vikings – a defending division champion with Super Bowl aspirations. Once again, a trade for a higher-profile QB derailed his chances.
How much validity there is to the rumor and, more importantly, what (if any) credence the Vikings are giving a potential trade offer is up to debate. Some have said that the only way the Vikings would trade Rosenfels is if they have some sort of guarantee Favre is coming back in 2010. Logic would say there is no way of knowing that, because Favre has been known to change his mind a time or two … or twenty.
While it seems hard to imagine the Vikings would trade Rosenfels if they didn’t have some assurance that Favre will be back in August, the value a veteran quarterback can add value to a team with big concerns – in this case, the Raiders JaMarcus Russell’s 290 pounds are a big concern. If there is ever a position that you want as much talent as possible, it is quarterback. That is why the Eagles can consider offers for McNabb in trade, because they have two capable backups. The same is true (depending on who you believe) with the Vikings. Rosenfels is the third guy on their current depth chart and, if Favre returns, that likely isn’t going to change. How many teams have the luxury of contemplating a trade of their No. 3 quarterback for what would likely be a fourth-round pick?
If nothing else, if a trade does happen (still seems a little remote) it would be good to see Rosenfels go someplace that he actually gets a chance to compete on a level playing field for a starting job. He’s waited a long time for it. If he tanks, he will have nobody to blame, but his is a career that has been paved on anticipation that never panned out with the organization that hired him. Maybe the Raiders will be his chance to prove his skeptics wrong and give pause to those who decided he didn’t have what it took to be their starting QB.
Perhaps the cause of the Donovan McNabb trade rumors are tied into the $6 million roster bonus he’s due in May. If the Eagles are confident that backup Kevin Kolb is the answer, they may be more willing to move McNabb than they have indicated – rumors saying that they won’t accept anything less than the 42nd pick in the 2010 draft. With no salary cap, there is no punishment for trading or releasing McNabb, but giving him away doesn’t make any sense. If he can’t be traded, the Eagles will swallow hard and make him the $6 Million Man in May.
Word out of Winter Park is that linebacker E.J. Henderson has been extremely aggressive in his rehab from the gruesome leg injury that ended his 2009 season against Arizona. He has been ahead of most projected schedules and is said to be working hard to set the standard for recovery from such an injury.
The National Football Post is reporting that former Packers defensive end Mike Montgomery is scheduled to visit Winter Park on Monday. Montgomery was released earlier this month by the Packers. Like teammate Aaron Kampman, Montgomery was viewed as an ideal fit in the Packers’ new-look 3-4 defense.
The younger Vikings players will begin their offseason workout program Monday. More experienced veterans will start in a few weeks. While the workouts are voluntary, it often makes more news when the occasional player doesn’t show up – like Antoine Winfield last year and Matt Birk in 2008. In most cases, the voluntary workouts are heavily attended by the players – young and old alike.
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.