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Continued: Favre unneeded with Rosenfels in Vikings' fold

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 8, 2009 - 7:32 AM

Yes, there has been all the talk about Brett Favre possibly coming to the Vikings. But Dan McCarney, the man who coached Sage Rosenfels at Iowa State for four seasons, said that the Vikings acquired a winner in the offseason deal with the Houston Texans and obtained a great quarterback who only needs an opportunity in the NFL.

McCarney, currently assistant head coach (defense) for Urban Meyer at Florida, also has some great things to say about Vikings first-round draft choice Percy Harvin, whom he has watched perform for 15 months.

Listening to McCarney rave about Rosenfels, you might conclude the Vikings should forget about signing the 39-year-old Favre because Rosenfels will prove he can give the Vikings the talented QB they need to be a winner.

True, Rosenfels has been in the NFL for nine years without setting the world on fire, but McCarney said Rosenfels has the ability to do well if he gets a chance.

McCarney said Rosenfels was a part of the greatest season still in the history of Iowa State, 2000, winning its first bowl game.

"[Rosenfels] was the offensive MVP. He helped me build that foundation," McCarney said. "We beat Pittsburgh [in the Insight.com Bowl], won nine games, and he was the leader of that football team."

In the bowl game, Rosenfels completed 23 of 34 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns in Phoenix as the Cyclones won a bowl game for the first time in five tries. It was Iowa State's first bowl appearance since 1978.

"We went as he went," the coach said. "Like this year [with quarterback Tim Tebow at Florida], Sage did that with that football team -- he just made sure that everybody was at their best. He set the work ethic. And set the attitude with the whole football team by the way he prepared."

McCarney said that Rosenfels has always been a coach on the field.

"He has always studied the game and knew the game, inside and out, and has just been a phenomenal young man," McCarney said. "He's a competitor. He's strong. He's tough. I'm pulling like crazy that he can go up there and have the kind of career that he's dreamed of, with the Minnesota Vikings. I really hope he can. I don't know the competition, I just know this: Sage Rosenfels is a winner, and he's a guy that elevates the performance of everybody around him."

McCarney was asked to compare abilities of Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner, with Rosenfels'. "There is a little bit different style," he said. "But the competitiveness and never wanting to get beat at anything, and win at all costs within the rules, all those things, there are a lot of similarities there."

Rates Harvin high

As for Harvin, McCarney had high praise for the No. 22 overall pick in last month's NFL draft.

"The words 'dynamic player' get tossed around a lot with college football players nowadays, but that is one guy, that is one of the few guys to me, when you say 'dynamic,' he's one of those guys," McCarney said. "[Harvin] can change the outcome of a game with his big-play ability. I saw him do it. We ended up with this phenomenal year, winning a national championship.

"But there were some plays that Percy made, that when the game was on the line or it was anyone's game, he made that game-changing catch or run or play with the ball and just turned the whole thing around and changed the game. He's one of those guys that can do that.

"... I have not seen one better. At his position, as a guy that can turn a game around, a guy that can make plays with the ball under his arm, he's as good as I've seen."

What about the baggage that Harvin has carried?

"He did really some dumb things when he was younger," McCarney said. "He really took awhile to grow up and respect authority and mature. I've been here just 15 months. In the time I've been here, he's been great."

McCarney has coached for more than 30 years in the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East and SEC.

"I don't know if it's the best conference," he said of the SEC. "I think it's the fastest conference in college football and Percy, he's one of those guys, it just seemed like he was always the fastest guy on the field, offense or defense. He always seemed like he was the fastest player on the field in the SEC."

Among coaches, McCarney has earned great respect. You don't get a job as assistant head coach at Florida unless you are pretty good. So when McCarney speaks, it is with good authority.

The early reports on Rosenfels with the Vikings are really good. So maybe the Vikings should forget about Favre, who doesn't know what he wants do anyhow.

Jottings

While friends of John Nance, the former star Cretin-Derham Hall quarterback who was a redshirt freshman for the Gophers last year, are hearing that he is considering leaving the Gophers to play basketball at St. Thomas or a similar school, Nance has not told anybody on the coaching staff that he has made up his mind to leave. But don't be surprised if he transfers.

The Gophers men's track and field squad has four athletes who have the top mark in their event heading into the Big Ten outdoor championships, which begin today at Ohio State. They are: R.J. McGinnis (7,620 points in the decathlon), Hassan Mead (13 minutes, 28.45 seconds in the 5,000 meters), Aaron Studt (61 feet, 11 1/2 inches in the shot put) and Matt Fisher (7-4 1/2 in the high jump). The Gophers won the Big Ten indoor title. Coach Steve Plasencia looks for the Gophers to contend with Wisconsin and Michigan.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the origination of the Vikings franchise. A lot of things are being worked out to make this a big celebration.

Former Twins relief pitcher Dennys Reyes, the lefthander who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent, is doing well with a 0-1 record but a 2.57 ERA. In seven innings pitched, he has held the opposing hitters to a .130 batting average.

Brandon Robinson, the former Breck All-Metro wide receiver who played at Boston College, has signed a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast once a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

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