Just like in Chicago, Minneapolis is selling jerseys for their new quarterback faster than they can put the letters and numbers on the jersey.
Both teams, and their cities, are excited about adding a quarterback with a big arm, but there are headaches from each quarterback's past that both franchises have their public relations teams handling every day.
The similarities end there, though. Jay Cutler's a nice, 25-year old quarterback with his entire career ahead of him still. Brett Favre is already one of the greatest of all time.
The addition of Favre is a fascinating issue to work through, both as a fan and as a fantasy owner. The implications of the two-year, $25 million contract on such a talented team could run ripple effects throughout a fantasy draft, both positively and negatively. For the Vikings, though, it's up to Brad Childress and his staff to make everything work together to win games.
Quarterback: Brett Favre
2008 Numbers: 343-522 (65.7%) 3,472 yards 22 TDs 22 INTs
2009 Projections: 277-450 (61.5%) 3,100 yards 19 TDs 13 INTs
This is a really, really tough situation to predict across the board for fantasy this season. The Vikings could go one of two directions: they could either get their money's worth by letting Favre throw the ball 30-40 times a game with the talented receivers he has, or they could stay a running team with Adrian Peterson carrying the mail most of the offensive plays.
If the Vikings take the ball out of Peterson's hands, they're foolish. He's their meal ticket, the bread winner of the franchise and should stay that way. Favre should be treated as the older, rented quarterback that he is and should be asked to, dare I say it, "manage the game" instead of being the headliner.
With Peterson in Minnesota, unless he gets hurt, the Vikings should continue pounding the ball all Sunday, every Sunday. That should bring Favre's numbers back to the middle of the quarterback pool.
How healthy is Favre? Can he stay healthy? Will he be okay playing a supporting role to Peterson? Will the coaching staff be able to resist the temptation to let Favre be the Brett Favre fans have watched making plays for the last two decades? And can Favre avoid making the critical mistake?
Running Back: Adrian Peterson
2008 Numbers: Rushing – 363 att 1,760 yards 4.8 yds/carry Receiving – 21 rec 125 yards 10 total TDs
2009 Projections: Rushing – 340 att 1,700 yards 5.0 yds/carry Receiving – 15 rec 100 yards 12 total TDs
Cut and paste everything I said about Favre here. If the Vikings know what's good for them, you shouldn't see a drop off in Peterson's production and he should continue to be among the top fantasy running backs in the game. Based on the preseason, there hasn't been an indication that Peterson shouldn't be consistent with his historical averages. In fact, if anything you should see his yards per carry go up (from almost five?) because teams won't be able to load up the box as much because of respect for Favre.
Remember to be fully aware of your league's scoring when considering a running back as early as Peterson generally comes off the board (top five overall picks). Many leagues on ESPN and Yahoo are scoring receptions, but not rushing attempts. If that's the case, you will want to consider that when thinking about Peterson, who isn't a factor in the passing game. He'll get you yards, and he'll get you touchdowns, but there might be points left on the table with another back if receptions score. One other point to consider is that Peterson puts the ball on the ground; he coughed the ball up nine times last year, losing four of the fumbles.
Wide Receiver: Bernard Berrian
2008 Numbers: 48 rec 964 yards 7 TDs
2009 Projections: 75 rec 1,050 yards 6 total TDs
Berrian had a nice 2008 season, catching balls from Tavaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte. He averaged over 20 yards per reception and his seven quiet touchdowns were a surprising total for an offense that was so dominated by the running attack.
Because of Favre's presense in Minnesota, Berrian should be a more significant factor on a weekly basis in the game plan. His reception total should go up, but, as I mentioned in my noted for Peterson, the respect for Favre's arm will back up the secondary and there won't be as much open turf around Berrian.
Favre has always been a big believer in tight ends in the red zone, and Percy Harvin's athletic ability will make him a popular target as well. So while Berrian should see more of the ball and an increase in gross yardage, his touchdowns could decrease.
Tight End: Visanthe Shiancoe SLEEPER
2008 Numbers: 42 rec 596 yards 7 TDs
2009 Projections: 85 rec 850 yards 9 TDs
Favre has always found his tight ends, and Shiancoe's athletic ability should ake him just as popular. Shiancoe came on late in the season and put up nice numbers, putting up very similar stats to Chicago's Greg Olsen. This year, just like Olsen, he should see a pleasant jump in his scoring and he should be a nice sleeper to get you catches and touchdowns with decent yards as well.
Last year, Peterson was stuffed on six of 18 attempts inside their opponent's 10 yard line. That should, in theory, make Shiancoe a popular red zone option. And Favre has historically looked for tight ends in the red zone, which builds the case for him to get more touchdowns. But fewer defenders in the box because of Favre, coupled with additional respect for Shiancoe's abilities, should help Peterson get into the end zone more often.
Wide Receiver: Percy Harvin
2008 Numbers: n/a - Rookie
2009 Projections: 35 rec 400 yards 1,300 return yards 3 total TDs
Harvin projects as a Devin Hester Light, used in a number of formations and handling the ball in any number of ways to simply get him, with the ball, into space. He could develop into a dangerous punt and kickoff returner, and could probably be counted on more for special teams touchdowns in his rookie year than receiving touchdowns.
He's a rookie, on a running offense. He's also listed at 192 pounds, which I'll believe when I'm the mayor of New York. Like Hester, it won't be easy for the Vikings to find ways to get Harvin the ball, but they won't have to because of Peterson. He'll get what he can, but will always be a threat to take it to the house.
Running Back: Chester Taylor
2008 Numbers: Rushing – 101 att 399 yards 4.0 yds/carry Receiving – 45 rec 399 yards 6 total TDs
2009 Projections: Rushing – 125 att 440 yards 3.5 yds/carry Receiving – 35 rec 440 yards 6 total TDs
Taylor gets the hand-me-down yards from Peterson, but his versatility in the receiving game might make him a good late round pick in a deep league. The respect for Favre's arm, and willingness to go deep, should raise Taylor's yards per catch by pulling the secondary off the line of scrimmage.
He's Adrian Peterson's backup.
2008 Numbers: 20.8 ppg 45 sacks 12 INTs 0 Def TD 1,642 total return yards 1 return TDs
2009 Projections: 22.9 ppg 37 sacks 14 INTs 0 Def TDs 1,800 return yards 2 return TDs
They have one of the best tackling corners in the game in Antoine Winfield and one of the best pass rushers in Jared Allen. They'll continue to hold down opponents' running games, and the addition of Harvin could get additional yardage and another touchdown on special teams this year.
The division around the Vikings improved. Jay Cutler is in Chicago, and he's more mobile than Kyle Orton is in his best dreams. The sacks won't come as easily, but the interceptions could increase. The upgraded talent might see opponents scoring more on the Vikings as well.