Hamlet of Hattiesburg
The Minnesota Vikings finally got their dream date -- a 39-year-old bluejeans salesman with a surgically repaired shoulder and graying hair. Good luck with that.
For almost a decade after his coach and mentor, Mike Holmgren, left the Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre for all practical purposes owned and operated that franchise. For the past few months, he's clearly had that same kind of control over the Vikings, who also happen to give him the best chance of exacting revenge on the current Packers management team that lost patience with his act last summer.
Confirmation of Favre's belated decision to wear purple came Tuesday, when the NFL's Hamlet of Hattiesburg boarded Zygi Wilf's plane in Mississippi. His ego showed up on Twin Cities radar about 11:30 a.m. One of the biggest criticisms of Vikings head coach Brad Childress is that his offense was too predictable. Who knew he was such a gambler off the field?
And, yes, the future first-round Hall of Famer is a risk. There's the question of mileage on that once-fearsome right shoulder. Buried in the news yesterday was the revelation that he had a previously undisclosed partial tear in his rotator cuff. And there's the issue of how the signing will play in the locker room. How will his new teammates react to his skipping the fun they had to endure at training camp in Mankato? And remember that for all his shows of camaraderie on the field, Favre left his last team -- the New York Jets -- with a reputation of being aloof and chilly off of it.
But let's suspend the skepticism for a moment -- or at least until he throws one of those inexplicable interceptions he's equally famous for. Favre has already produced more drama than any recent Vikings team. And that's why Wilf is willing to give him the keys to the franchise. It's the biggest risk taken at Winter Park since Herschel Walker came to town. Favre will sell tickets and merchandise and produce record TV ratings. Will he lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl? Seems unlikely, but the whole country will tune in to find out.
Amid the steroids, dog abuse and deadly DWIs, we tend to forget that professional sports is supposed to be entertaining. The Vikings new quarterback will certainly deliver on that score, even if his aging body lets down as the season goes on and this whole experiment flames out.
So buy your popcorn and put a seat belt on the Barcalounger: The circus is in town. -- Minneapolis Star Tribune