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"I haven't watched him much," Favre told USA TODAY Sports recently, "but one game I watched, for like three quarters, was the Ole Miss game."
Manziel passed for 346 yards and ran for 124 more (plus two TDs) while engineering a 41-38 comeback win for the Aggies in Oxford, Miss., on Oct. 12, 2013.
"I almost thought I was watching film of a young Brett Favre," said the current Favre, who is 44 and spent 20 years in the NFL.
"I didn't think I did a lot of things well (in college at Southern Miss), but he did. And and I liked the attitude of 'whatever it takes' — from that standpoint, I liked him."
Manziel certainly does just look like he's having fun out there.
One wild card in the Vikings' quest for a new quarterback is the situation in St. Louis, where the Rams are facing Sam Bradford's huge salary cap number while also staring at the chance to start over at QB with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
The Rams have three options: extend Bradford's contract, thus making him more cap-friendly but also tying the team to the QB for a longer term; keep Bradford and his huge $17.6 million cap number this year; or cut him, save money and start over in the draft.
That latter option is the one most potentially intriguing to QB-needy teams, including the Vikings. Bradford was drafted before the new rookie contract deals were in place, which is why he costs so much. If he was cut, of course, he would be looking at a new deal.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher tried to quell speculation over that scenario, though, with an appearance on Mike and Mike. Per SI.com:
“Sam’s doing great with the rehab,” Fisher said. “He’s really excited. He took on a leadership role last year and he’s maintained that and he’s our quarterback, and we’ve said that.”
Fisher would not commit, however, to a new contract for Bradford, who will count $17.6 million against the Rams’ salary cap this year. Some reports have suggested that a new contract is likely, other reports have suggested that a new contract is unlikely, and Fisher says he’s not sure where any of those reports originated.
“We talk about extensions with all our players under contract. Whether or not we do so with him, I don’t know where all this came from, but Sam’s our quarterback. He’s going to be under center,” Fisher said.
It's February -- coaches and GMs have a habit of not tipping their hand this time of year. After all, it was almost exactly this time in 2013 when Rick Spielman said the Vikings were not planning to trade Percy Harvin. Fisher's words seem chosen fairly carefully.
Maybe we're reading too much into it. The larger question: If the Rams cut Bradford, is he someone the Vikings should take a long look at? He's coming off ACL surgery, but he was playing his best football of his career when he was hurt. Is he a guy who could be an upper-echelon QB or would he be a waste of time?
It's mid-February, and already we're starting to think about the 2014 NFL season. Those are the hooks you have in us, Roger Goodell.
More specifically, we're thinking about what the weather might be like at TCF Bank Stadium next year when the Vikings move outside.
For an example, we looked back to the 2013 season and what the weather was in Minneapolis on days the Vikings had home games. Now remember, they started with two games on the road and their second “home” game was actually in London. Then came their bye week. So they only had seven games at the Metrodome, and their second wasn’t until Oct. 13, which is unusual.
Still, here’s a look back via Weather Underground at how things would have played out if the Vikings were outdoors in 2013, divided into four categories:
Sept. 22 vs. Cleveland: Noon game, high of 74, low of 49. No precipitation.
Oct. 13 vs. Carolina: Noon game, high of 61, low of 39, no precipitation.
FALL FOOTBALL WEATHER
Oct. 27 vs. Packers: 7:30 p.m. game, high of 58, low of 31, no precipitation. Around 50 at kickoff, still above 40 at the end of the game.
Nov. 7 vs. Washington: 7:25 p.m. game, high of 36, low of 28, no precipitation (below average temps). Around 32 at kickoff, below freezing by game’s end.
Dec. 1 vs. Bears: noon game, high of 34, low of 21. 30 at kickoff, 34 at game’s end, no precipitation.
Dec. 15 vs. Eagles: noon game, high of 4. Low of minus-1. No snow.
Dec. 29 vs. Lions: noon game, trace amounts of snow. Around zero degrees at kickoff and throughout the entire game.
Like we said, in most years there would be more true home games early on ... and temperatures are usually about 20 degrees warmer, on average, on Dec. 15 and 29. So 2013 would have been about the worst-case scenario -- unless the Vikings make the playoffs, in which case all bets (and fingertips) are off.
Please take this list/information with a few handfuls of salt for a variety of reasons.
First off, it is compiled by former Bears GM Jerry Angelo, who for 12 years presided over an organization that is notorious for having quarterback problems.
Second, his QB ratings on a nine-point scale seem to be rather arbitrary in terms of the exact number. It's less like a complicated advanced metric and more like "how much did you like this movie?"
Third, he rates Philip Rivers a full two levels ahead of Tony Romo.
That said, these kinds of lists are FUN. And they speak ill of the Vikings' QB situation in 2013 since, well, this: Angelo ranks all three Vikings QBs last season (Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman) in the 5.5 to 5.9 point category. What does that mean? Well, here's the general description of QBs in that frame:
Can be an emergency starter. Does not have the mental make up or physical talent too perform as a consistent starter. He’s temporary relief, but not a long term solution.
Your 2013 Vikings! (And yes, we write that with full knowledge that we endorsed, nay begged, for the return of Matt Cassel in 2014).
Maybe all of that activity has stopped us from thinking too seriously about the roster. It's when we take a deeper look that we really realize: the Vikings need Matt Cassel, and they need him badly.
Here's all you need to know about the crop of free agent quarterbacks this offseason: four of the seven, as ranked by Yahoo, have been employed at one time by the Vikings (Cassel, Josh Freeman, Shaun Hill and Tarvaris Jackson). The top two are Michael Vick and Josh McCown. Vick figures to aim for one more good-sized contract as he will turn 34 before the season starts. McCown, too, will be a hot commodity after putting up big numbers with the Bears.
Cassel is next. Then it's Freeman. No, really. Then it's Hill. Then Chad Henne. Then T-Jack.
That's what's out there. The perfect fit, honestly, is Cassel. He is fairly accurate when it comes to downfield passing, which figures to be in play more now with Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator. He has the capability of starting and holding down the fort while the Vikings presumably groom a QB of the future, but he didn't show the ego in 2013 that would make him a problem if he was beaten out for the job.
It comes down to this: For many reasons, the Vikings simply cannot go into 2014 with Christian Ponder in the mix, and for now he's the only QB on the roster. They need a capable stop-gap who would give a rookie head coach an easier transition while also putting less pressure on the team to draft a QB in the first round (since a pick in a later round might figure to be a little more of a project).
Cassel is the guy. When free agency starts March 11, we'll find out if he opted out of his deal so he could simply get more money here or if the battle scars of 2013 combined with a nice offer somewhere else will leave Minnesota in a bind.
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