By Larry Fitzgerald
When you pay the greatest quarterback in NFL history, three-time MVP Brett Favre, $1 million per game to play his final season and final chapter of a Hall-of-Fame career with the hope that at age 40 he can again generate the kind of magic from that position he did in 2009 (33 TD’s, 12 wins, and a potential Super Bowl), you are hoping for a storybook finish.
Vikings Owner Zigi Wilf has gotten what he invested in with a national drama that has played out for the world to see.
Finally the star of this Vikings ongoing drama series delivered a Broadway performance that might light a fuse beneath this underachieving group of stars.
Brett Favre saved the Vikings; even at 3-5 it’s no bargain the rest of the way, but it sure beats 2-6.
So far this season Favre has been no bargain, with 13 interceptions, four fumbles, and just nine touchdown passes. He’s been a huge off-the-field distraction with the continuing Jenn Sterger sex-texting controversy and subsequent NFL investigation. Last week it was the stunning Randy Moss release after just four games, with Head Coach Brad Childress now the clear target of many angry Vikings fans who see him as the problem, not the solution.
Favre engineered a season-saving 446-yard career-best passing performance in the dramatic comeback win. The Vikings trailed 24-10 with just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. But Favre refused to lose; he has won 184 games, the most in NFL history, in 293 consecutive starts.
His performance with two cracked bones in his left ankle and 10 stitches in his chin ignited this team. They played like a championship team for four desperate minutes. They let it all hang out on both sides of the ball — the defense had six and a half sacks. They played hard and with a passion. It was a beautiful thing for Vikings fans.
Statistics, as they say, are for losers. Minnesota had 28 first downs and 507 yards of total offense. It was the first time since the NFC Championship that they eclipsed 500 yards while averaging a whopping 7.2 yards per play.
The Arizona Cardinals beat the Vikings last year 30-17 in Arizona and were overlooked all week as the answer to the Vikings losing problems. Arizona capitalized on Vikings’ mistakes and great special teams play to build a 24-10 lead.
A chorus of Vikings fans sang out “Fire Brad Childress” throughout the game.
The shortsighted release of fan-favorite Moss has triggered an unrelenting mob-like mentality of angry Vikings fans. But Favre’s performance help turn the Childress chants to euphoria as Vikings fans celebrated the comeback win.
The season has reached the midway point, and this drama will play on this week against the 5-3 Chicago Bears. However, to get out of the hole this team has dug for themselves will require this group of 53 players and coaches playing for 60 minutes with the passion they displayed Sunday to outscore Arizona 17-0.
Percy Harvin had nine receptions for a career-high 126 yards. Adrian Peterson is closing in on another 1,000-yard season; he has to be used more in the passing game as he was Sunday. Right now the Vikings are behind about 10 teams for a playoff spot with eight games left. Two of the next three games are on the road at Chicago and Washington. This eight-game road losing steak must come to an end Sunday, or this Vikings drama will draw big ratings with no playoff payoff.
Fitz Notes & Quotes
Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl star Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. on Sunday became the second-youngest in NFL history to reach 7,500 career receiving yards.
At age 27 and 68 days, he is second only to Randy Moss, who reached that benchmark at age 26 years and 255 days. Number three is Jerry Rice at 28 years and 51 days; number four is Lance Alworth, 28 years and 85 days; and number five is James Lofton at 28 years and 136 days.
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). Don’t miss the live webcast of www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com Monday nights at Outback Steakhouse in Inver Grove Heights with Larry Fitzgerald with special Minnesota Vikings guest Antoine Winfield on November 15, 6-7 pm. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.