By Larry Fitzgerald
GREEN BAY, WI — One of the many signs that greeted Vikings quarterback Brett Favre’s return to Green Bay for his record- setting 119th start at Lambeau Field: “Brett Favre throws in picks and texts in chicks!” Let’s hope that’s not what it’s come to.
Nobody said it would be easy. So far for the Vikings it has been rough sledding, particularly on the road. After losing 28-24 to the Green Bay Packers at historic Lambeau Field, the Vikings slipped to 2-4 after losing their seventh straight game on the road. In what turned out to be a shootout on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, the Vikings have proven so far that they are not ready for prime time — not when they play the New York Jets or Green Bay Packers.
Both prime-time games, Monday and Sunday nights, were decided virtually the same way when quarterback Brett Favre threw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. “It was a tough loss. There is nothing wrong with the fight of this football team,” said Head Coach Brad Childress. “We are a 2-4 team. We have some things that we need to get corrected, but it was a hell of a game.”
History is written by the winners, and right now the Vikings are not winning; last year is a distant memory.
After the Vikings played their worst defensive first quarter of the year, allowing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 200 yards in one quarter, they buckled down and played better. The Vikings actually led 17-14 at halftime and had two touchdowns wiped out on replay challenges. Randy Moss had a 54-yard catch just before the half that was wiped out as well. The official said he pushed off.
Childress said, “It’s hard to win when you turn it over three times, one for a touchdown, and it’s hard when they [officials] take touchdowns off the board.”
Childress was really hot about the way the game was officiated.
There were many turning points in the game; the momentum swung from sideline to sideline in a game like this. With five turnovers and replay reversals, it was and electric night. “As thrilling and exciting as it is to win these types of games, for me it is devastating,” said Favre. “I take a lot of pride and ownership in all phases of the game. You have the ball in your hand, and you hope to win these [games]. You feel like you let everybody down.” Had Harvin been able to get both feet down in the back of the end zone in the game’s final minute, it would have been the 43rd time that Favre had won with a fourth-quarter comeback.
As for the Vikings, they have to keep fighting. This is a good football team loaded with talent; they will likely be better in November and December than they are now. Right now, it’s about survival of the fittest.
“I think we have the character, leadership and the talent to turn it around,” Favre said.
Last year, the Vikings led the NFL in sacks. With 10 games left, they need to get the lead in the game and apply the pressure. Jared Allen has not had a sack in four games. Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson have been outstanding. Peterson has rushed for 684 yards and five touchdowns. Harvin is like lightning in a bottle, and Peterson is like a bomb ready to blow up. Harvin has a gift of sudden-ness. Harvin’s kick return rushing and receiving talents have totaled 879 combined yards and five touchdowns. Combined with Randy Moss and Favre, I have never seen a team in 32 years of covering this league with more talent.
It takes more than talent to win; however, with Favre, Moss, Peterson, Harvin, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Sidney Rice and others, the Vikings may lead the NFL in selling jerseys. This week, Favre’s ankle injury had him limping badly.
Sunday night could challenge the record streak of 291 consecutive starts this week against New England. The Patriots are 5-1, and the Vikings are chasing 4-3 Chicago and Green Bay in the NFC North.
Fitz Notes & Quotes
Brett Favre admitted to the league he did call Jenn Sterger, the former New York Jet sideline reporter, but denied sending her any lewd texts or photos. The NFL investigation continues.
On Monday, November 1, 6-7 pm, Vikings star linebacker E.J. Henderson is my special guest for the Monday Night Live Vikings Show at Outback Steakhouse in Inver Grove Heights.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.