Trade Brett Favre to the Vikings

If he's not good enough to start, the Packers should ship him to their rivals and beat him twice.

Published August 4, 2008 11:00AM (EDT)

Why wouldn't the Green Bay Packers trade Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings?

Favre has rejoined the Packers, the soap opera going through a plot twist this weekend when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell granted his request for reinstatement to the active list and he flew to Green Bay. There was national TV coverage of Favre's charter plane taxiing in, not that August is a slow sports month without an Olympics or anything.

When Favre began making noises about coming back, the Packers said they'd moved on, handed the reins to Aaron Rodgers, who'd carried Favre's clipboard for three years, and wished Favre well doing that tractor thing or whatever people do in Mississippi. He asked for his release and the team said no. One doesn't just give away a Hall of Fame quarterback coming off a fine season, but really, Aaron Rodgers is our guy.

The Packers offered Favre a 10-year, $25 million marketing contract if he'd just stay retired, but he said no. And by the time that plane rolled in Sunday, the team had backpedaled to saying Favre would be allowed to compete with Rodgers for the quarterback job.

So much for staring down a god.

The Packers don't have much choice but letting Favre try to win the starting job. It just looks too stupid to declare the historically great player the backup because gosh darnit you've made a promise to the three-year backup.

Scouts like Rodgers, but they don't gush over him. He's mostly an unknown quantity. Not always, but usually when you've got yourself a Steve Young stuck behind the starter, it becomes evident by the time a few years have gone by. Even when the starter has a consecutive-game streak going, there are exhibition games, practices, mop-up outings. You start to figure out what you've got.

That hasn't happened with Rodgers. Three years into his career, whether he ever becomes as good as Favre at his worst is pretty much a crapshoot, and Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, the guy who declared Rodgers the starter and Favre unwelcome, has admitted as much.

Might happen, might not. The man himself, on the other hand, coming off that fine showing in '07, is a pretty good bet to at least be himself at his worst, which wasn't too shabby.

The Packers do have a little bit of choice, though, don't they? They can still trade Favre, and why not? Citing an NFL executive with "close ties" to NFC North teams as a source, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday that the Packers made a "feeler" call to the Minnesota Vikings about Favre on Friday.

There's been a lot of talk that the Packers wouldn't want to trade Favre within the division because they don't want him to come back and beat them. But the proposition of trading Favre just highlights how clear the choice is: If he's good enough to come back and beat the Packers -- who made the NFC Championship Game last year -- he ought to be the starter in Green Bay. If he's not good enough to beat out an unknown quantity in Green Bay, why wouldn't you want him suiting up in Vikings purple?

Get what you can for him, a draft pick, anything. Football, even at the top level, is an emotional game. How's that for a motivator in two of the 16 games, the chance to beat up on the guy who held the team emotional hostage for most of the off-season? It's kind of goofy and ignores that this is all just business, but hey, we're talking locker-room speeches here.

And it is business. The Packers are a good, young team, and putting Rodgers under center, unknown quantity that he is, is their best chance to have a championship window of several years, not just one or two. It also helps them keep their two rookie quarterback prospects, Brian Brohm from Louisville and Matt Flynn from LSU, around.

The Packers host the Vikings on Monday night of the opening weekend. Brett Favre trotting onto Lambeau Field in road whites for a nationally televised game: Now that would be showbiz.

By King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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