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10 questions that need to be answered regarding Favre and the Vikings

Vikings coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre will meet the media on Wednesday.  They’ll likely be asked a question or two, and they’ll likely offer up at least a semi-plausible answer to each one.

Here are 10 of the questions that we think need to be asked, regardless of whether all we get is a semi-plausible answer, or worse.

1.  When will Favre take the field for the first time?

Few expected Favre to show up in time to take the trip to San Francisco for a Sunday night preseason game against the 49ers. 

Will he travel with the team to California? 

Will he take a few snaps against a 49ers team that probably would like to snap that bum ankle in order to improve its chances of qualifying for — and advancing in — the 2010 postseason?

2.  Will Favre’s contract be adjusted?

A member of the media has reminded us of this quote from Gordon Gekko:  “It’s all about bucks, kid.  The rest is conversation.” 

At this point, it’s widely believed that the Vikings will give Favre a hefty raise.  It’s also believed that Favre will “aw, shucks” his way through a monologue regarding how it’s not about the money.

If that’s the case, someone should ask him to declare that he’ll take nothing more than the $13 million he already is due to earn.

3.  Are we really supposed to believe that a supposedly impromptu visit from three teammates prompted Favre to make up his mind on the spot?

The actual answer to this one is meaningless.  It’ll just be interesting to see Childress and/or Favre try to offer an explanation that passes the smell test.

4.  What did Dr. Andrews say last week about the ankle?

Favre’s ankle supposedly wasn’t recovering quickly enough.  Last week, he visited with Dr. James Andrews.  In the aftermath of the visit, no details have emerged regarding the condition of the joint.  

So what did Andrews say to Favre about the ankle?  Is it  all of a sudden at 100 percent?  Is it less than 100 percent?  Will it improve or has it reached its ceiling?

5.  What other injuries does Favre currently claim to have?

Last year, Favre talked openly (and repeatedly) about a laundry list of ailments and maladies.  The exercise eventually forced the NFL to fine the Jets for failing to report the partially torn biceps tendon that he suffered during the 2008 season.

And it all became so ridiculous that we eventually added extra body parts (including “taint”) to the list of Favre’s supposedly injuries, along with a trio of illnesses — polio, swine flu, and lupus.

Beyond the ankle, he’ll surely point to some other injured area, if for no reason other than to have a built-in excuse in the event he throws five interceptions against the Saints on September 9.

6.  Is the double standard that applies to Favre hurting the team?

Jimmy Johnson of FOX had some pointed remarks regarding the Vikings’ approach to Favre during Wednesday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show.  (More on that later.)  While we don’t expect Childress or Favre to say anything insightful or, you know, truthful on that point, it’s a fair question that needs to be posed to anyone and everyone in the organization.

The Vikings have been bending over backwards for Brett, and it possibly has created a sense in the locker room that other players deserve similar consideration.  Some think that receiver Sidney Rice has been milking a hip injury; others think that receiver Percy Harvin made the very most out of his most recent bout with migraines.  And don’t forget about running back Adrian Peterson’s bizarre decision to skip a mandatory minicamp so that he could attend a parade in his hometown.  Could the treatment of Favre be emboldening them?  

The 2009 Vikings by all appearances sold their souls for the possibility of getting back to the Super Bowl, and they seem to be willing to do it again, even as they deal with the possible aftermath of the first season with Favre in the fold. 

7.  Will the Vikings keep Sage Rosenfels?

It’s an issue that we’ve addressed in today’s edition of PFT Daily, which will be posted soon.  (We suspect that you’re holding your breath, and possibly other bodily functions.)

Though we doubt that Childress will be providing a straight answer to the question, it remains a highly relevant question to the make up of the 2010 edition of the team.

8.  Will the Vikings be as good in 2010 with Favre as they were in 2009?

This is a question that no one will be able to answer until the regular season begins to unfold.  But it likely will be very difficult for the Vikings to match or improve on their 12-4 mark from a season ago.

For starters, they’ll play the teams of the NFC East this year, not the NFC West.  Also, the Vikings have to face every team from a top-heavy AFC East, including trips to Foxborough and the new Meadowlands Stadium.

The team’s 13 opponents (they play three teams twice, obviously) will have had an entire offseason to study the film from Favre’s first year in purple for any and all tendencies and tells.  We also have a feeling that every defensive coordinator will try to replicate the “remember me” shots the Saints applied to No. 4 in the NFC title game — and that the Saints likely will try to reprise on September 9.

While much of the roster has remained in place, the departure of underrated third-down back Chester Taylor and primary offensive line backup Artis Hicks could present real challenges for an attack that produced career-high statistics for Favre.  Meanwhile, tailback Adrian Peterson will continue to be a pin cushion for pulling and punching and poking and prodding every time he tries to put the football under wraps. 

On defense, everyone is a year older — and the secondary remains the biggest weakness on either side of the ball.  With cornerback Cedric Griffin still recovering from a torn ACL suffered on the overtime kickoff of the NFC title game and linebacker E.J. Henderson still working his way back from a gruesomely broken leg, it remains to be seen whether the Vikings’ defense continues to be among the better units in the league.

9.  Can Childress and Favre get along?

Last year, Childress himself drove Favre from the airport to the team facility.  This year, Childress was nowhere to be seen.

We’ve heard persistent rumors that the players in Minnesota generally don’t like or respect Childress.  Though no good head coach openly aspires to be liked by his players, a lack of respect could kill a team’s chances — especially if it starts with the quarterback whose ring, feet, and ass everyone kisses.

Last year’s twelve-men-in-the-huddle routine probably didn’t help matters.

After a home field advantage-killing loss to the Panthers on Sunday Night Football, troubling reports emerged regarding Chilly’s effort to bench Favre, regarding Favre’s resistance, and regarding Chilly’s angry reaction to news that Favre had blabbed out it.  Thereafter, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported based on unnamed sources (i.e., Favre) that Childress “seldom” discussed the game plan with his quarterback, and that Childress “bristles” when Favre changes the play at the line of scrimmage.

For the Vikings to reach their full potential in 2010, whatever it may be, Favre and Childress need to be on the same page.  Mo
re importantly, Favre needs
to ensure that his teammates buy in to Childress’ schemes and tactics and decisions, even when Favre otherwise may be inclined to disagree.

10.  How will the Vikings fare this year?

In the PFT Season Preview magazine, which was written under the assumption that Favre will be back, I picked the Vikings to win the NFC North, but not to make it to Dallas for Super Bowl XLV.  The rest of the crew pegged the Packers as division champs, with Rosenthal and MDS predicting a wild-card berth for Minnesota.  (Silva has them not getting in at all.) 

Whether the Vikings can win the division again or not, Favre probably will get the team back into the postseason tournament.  But with the Cowboys looking to avenge last year’s 34-3 drubbing in the Metrodome and with the widely-overlooked Saints as potent as they were in 2009 and with a surprise team or two likely to emerge in the NFC, it will be even harder in 2010 for Favre to cap his career in the manner that he clearly covets — by winning another Super Bowl and walking away as the credits start to roll.

UPDATE:  Someone also needs to ask Favre about Jenn Sterger.  And then run.

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Peyton Manning gets $2 million bonus for winning the Super Bowl

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

As it turned out, Peyton Manning didn’t take a pay cut this season.

Although the Broncos got Manning to agree to reduce his base salary for the 2015 season from $19 million to $15 million, Manning got the Broncos to include two significant bonuses: $2 million for reaching the Super Bowl, and $2 million for winning the Super Bowl.

Manning earned the first bonus two weeks ago and the second bonus tonight, and as a result he still gets paid $19 million for the 2015 season.

The 2016 season is the final year on the five-year contract Manning signed with the Broncos as a free agent in 2012. Manning is due $19 million for 2016, although it’s unlikely that he will see any of that money, as Manning is expected to retire.

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See you on September 8

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The 2015 season is over. Which means that it’s time to start thinking about the 2016 season.

The 2016 season will begin on Thursday, September 8 in Denver. And the Broncos will be hosting one of eight potential opponents: the Chargers, Raiders, Chiefs, Colts, Texans, Falcons, Panthers, or Patriots.

While many will be clamoring for a Super Bowl rematch, another edition of Patriots-Broncos would be the best way to start the season, with or without (without) Peyton Manning playing quarterback for the Broncos.

But here’s the main reason why the Patriots possibly won’t be picked for the game. If the NFL wins the pending appeal of Tom Brady’s suspension, he won’t be available to play in the game.

Which means both Manning and Brady could be gone for Week One, which could make the decision not a simple one. We’ll most likely learn the answer in April — and then we can start counting the days for September.

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Peyton says future can wait, “a lot of beer” comes first

Peyton Manning AP

Peyton Manning could go out on top, and just about everybody thinks he will retire.

But Manning isn’t ready to say anything about his future.

The Broncos won the Super Bowl Sunday night, but in two televised on-field interviews after the game Manning wouldn’t say if he’ll play again.

“I got some good advice from Tony Dungy, and that’s not to make an emotional decision,” Manning told CBS on the celebration podium. “I want to go kiss my wife, kiss my kids, and celebrate with my teammates. I’m going to take a lot of beer tonight.”

He’d dropped a Budweiser reference — probably one he got paid for — in a previous interview. Manning isn’t saying much and doesn’t need to.

Beer and hugs come first. His future can wait.

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Von Miller wins Super Bowl 50 MVP

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

The story of the Broncos season was the play of their defense so it is not surprise that the story of their Super Bowl 50 victory over the Panthers was their defense as well.

Of equally little surprise is that linebacker Von Miller has been named the Most Valuable Player of the game.

Miller set up the first touchdown of the game for the Broncos when he wrestled the ball out of Cam Newton hands during a first quarter sack. The ball skittered into the end zone and Malik Jackson fell on the ball for six points.

Miller then set up their second and final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter with another strip sack of Newton in the fourth quarter. The Panthers were trailing 16-10 at that point in the game and trying to rally for a win, but T.J. Ward recovered the fumble and C.J. Anderson plunged into the end zone to put the finishing touches on a 24-10 win.

Miller added another half-sack during the game, which is the last he’ll play for the Broncos under his current contract. A franchise tag is all but certain if the Broncos can’t work out a long-term deal with Miller before the deadline, something that might be tough because Miller’s going to want mountains of money before putting his name on the dotted line.

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Broncos defense throttles Panthers to win Super Bowl 50

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

Peyton Manning — assuming he’s going out — is going out in style.

He’s also going out without having to do all that much.

The Broncos quarterback got his perfect finish, leading his team to a 24-10 win over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, though it was a dominant defense that did the hard work.

The Broncos harassed Panthers quarterback Cam Newton throughout the night, sacking him six times, forcing three turnovers and limiting him to something far less than the kind of MVP performances he’s turned in all year.

That meant all Manning had to do was not mess it up and enjoy the moment. Even a pair of turnovers weren’t enough to spoil things, as the five-time Most Valuable Player won his second Super Bowl title.

The Broncos didn’t score an offensive touchdown until the game was well-decided, a late touchdown run by C.J. Anderson, Manning did throw a two-point conversion, a coda for a wonderful career which wasn’t reflected in anything else he did the rest of the night.

Manning finished the game a meager 13-of-23 passing for 141 yards, allowing others to carry him to a title. But while it was similar in theme to John Elway’s get-out-of-the-way-and-hand-it-to-Terrell-Davis strategy to win a pair of Super Bowl titles to end his career, many quarterbacks could have won this game.

For the Panthers, the loss unravels a storybook season, which included a 14-0 start, a single loss and plowing through the NFC playoffs with relative ease.

But their lack of dependable pass-catching targets came back to haunt them, as Jerricho Cotchery and Ted Ginn were plagued by drops, which is unusual for Cotchery. The Panthers were able to cover up the loss of Kelvin Benjamin to a training camp ACL for the entire season, but struggled to get anyone open throughout the night.

That included tight end Greg Olsen, who was not much of a factor throughout the night, thanks to a Broncos defense designed to take him out (with cornerback Aqib Talib often in coverage).

The Panthers also made numerous special teams miscues, from a missed field goal to allowing a 64-yard punt return when it appeared they thought Jordan Norwood had called for a fair catch.

Those mistakes were too much to overcome, regardless of who was quarterbacking the other team.

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Von Miller forces Cam Newton fumble, Broncos extend lead

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

Von Miller appears to be closing in on the Super Bowl 50 MVP award.

Miller hit Cam Newton to force a fumble with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, and when the Broncos recovered they had the ball in goal-to-go territory. With help from a defensive holding penalty on Josh Norman, the Broncos’ offense scored its first touchdown to take a 22-10 lead. A Peyton Manning two-point conversion pass to Bennie Fowler made the Broncos’ lead 24-10.

It’s been a sensational game for Miller, who set up the game’s first touchdown with another strip-sack of Newton. Miller has two and a half sacks and two forced fumbles.

And it’s been a rough game for Newton, the regular-season MVP who has not played well today in the Super Bowl. He was the best player in the NFL this season, but Miller has been the best player on the field today.

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Marshawn Lynch tweet suggests he’s going to retire

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 20:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball against  Nick Perry #53 of the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter in their game at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

If you’re into reading way too much into tweets from athletes, then Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch may have just given a pretty substantial indication about his plans for 2016.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider is under the impression Lynch is considering retirement. Former teammate Michael Robinson said this week it’s “fair to assume” Lynch has played his final game in Seattle and Lynch himself is reportedly telling people he intends to retire as well.

So Lynch’s tweet Sunday showing a picture of a pair of shoes hanging from telephone line with a “peace” emoji could be as much of an official announcement as we’d ever expect to see from him.

Lynch played in just seven regular season games and rushed for only 417 yards and one three touchdowns this season for Seattle. He’s scheduled to make $9 million next season, which seems to be an untenable amount for the Seahawks to bring him back next season.

So Lynch may very well be retiring. Or he could be announcing a new shoe he plans to release at his apparel store. With Lynch, you never truly know.

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Graham Gano 39-yard field goal closes Broncos lead to 16-10

Carolina Panthers’ Graham Gano (9) misses a field goal during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) AP

The Carolina Panthers managed to turn a Peyton Manning fumble into points to make Super Bowl 50 a one-score game with 10:21 remaining.

Graham Gano’s 39-yard field goal closed the Denver Broncos lead to 16-10 in the fourth quarter.

Manning was sacked and stripped by Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy to give Carolina the ball at midfield. A 16-yard pass to Devin Funchess and 12-yard run by Jonathan Stewart moves the Panthers into the Denver red zone, but a third down pass from Cam Newton to Ted Ginn fell incomplete and Carolina had to settle for the field goal.

If the Panthers are able to rally, they’ll have to do it without receiver Corey Brown, who is out for the remainder of the game with a concussion. Broncos linebacker Shaquil Barrett is also out with a concussion.

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Peyton Manning fumble gives Panthers a glimmer of hope

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

A Peyton Manning fourth-quarter fumble has given the Panthers a glimmer of hope.

With Denver leading 16-7 and driving into Panthers territory, Manning dropped back to pass on third-and-long and was hit by Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy, knocking the ball loose. Carolina’s Charles Johnson recovered.

Ealy now has three sacks, tying Reggie White Darnell Dockett for the most in Super Bowl history. If the Panthers can come back and win, Ealy will be a strong MVP candidate.

And Manning now has two turnovers. The Broncos can’t afford a third.

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Another turnover ends promising Panthers drive with no points

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

The Panthers have driven into Broncos territory twice in the third quarter of Super Bowl 50, but they have no points to show for the efforts.

Cam Newton was intercepted by T.J. Ward at the Denver 10-yard-line on a pass that went off Ted Ginn’s hands. Ward fumbled on the return — no surprise in this sloppy affair — but Danny Trevathan fell on the ball to ensure the Broncos would retain possession.

The Panthers got the ball downfield thanks to a 42-yard completion to Philly Brown, who jumped between Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward to snag a Newton pass inside Denver territory. Brown banged his head on the grass when coming down with the ball and is now being evaluated for a concussion.

It’s the third turnover of the day for the Panthers and the second credited to Newton, who also fumbled on a Von Miller sack in the first quarter. Malik Jackson fell on that ball for the only Denver touchdown of the game and the Panthers have been playing from behind all day.

They haven’t been able to gain any ground thanks to their constant miscues, however, and the Broncos added to their lead with a Brandon McManus field goal earlier in the third. They couldn’t add any more points after the interception, but still lead 16-7 with 3:12 to play in the third quarter.

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Brandon McManus 30-yard field goal extends Broncos lead to 16-7

Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning (18) throws during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) AP

After Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano clanked a 44-yard attempt off the right upright, the Denver Broncos drove for a field goal of their own to extend their lead.

Peyton Manning hit Emmanuel Sanders for 25 yards and 22 yards as the Broncos moved into the Carolina red zone. But Denver wouldn’t get any closer and had to settle for a 30-yard field from Brandon McManus that gave the Broncos a 16-7 lead with 8:18 left to play.

The three points could prove critical as it’s made it a two-score game with Carolina having to mount a rally against the league’s top-ranked defense.

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Graham Gano misses field goal, Broncos still up six

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12: Graham Gano #9 of the Carolina Panthers kicks a field goal held by Brad Nortman #8 in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers had a hard time generating big plays on offense during the first half of Super Bowl 50, but they finally hit one on the second play of the third quarter.

Cam Newton found Ted Ginn across the middle of the field and Ginn turned the catch into a 45-yard gain that stands as the longest play of the game for either team. That moved the Panthers into Broncos territory and another Ginn catch gave them a first down after an ill-advised Trai Turner personal foul, but the drive ended without points when Graham Gano clanged a 44-yard field goal try off the right upright.

Gano’s field goal came after officials picked up a flag that appeared to be against Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby for holding on the opposite side of the field from where Newton threw an incomplete pass to Greg Olsen. If the flag stood, it would have been a first down that kept the drive alive. It also looked like Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib may have been offside on the field goal attempt.

Neither penalty was called, though, and the Panthers still trail by six with 10:48 to play in the third.

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Broncos lead 13-7 after bizarre first half of Super Bowl 50

When we envisioned the league’s best defense playing the league’s highest-scoring offense, we didn’t expect this.

Super Bowl 50 has taken a number of strange turns, with the turnovers preventing it from having any kind of organic flow.

The Panthers and Broncos combined for three turnovers, with Carolina’s 2-1 edge in that category translating to a 13-7 Broncos lead at halftime.

It’s one thing for the Panthers to be nervous in this setting, but the Broncos’ offering was a young player’s mistake by quarterback Peyton Manning, when he was picked off by Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy.

But it wasn’t enough to overcome the sack-fumble-touchdown by the Broncos early, and Mike Tolbert’s attempt to make a statement play but losing the ball.

The Broncos can’t afford to make many more mistakes, as they’re playing clutch-and-grab and hoping defense and special teams is enough to get them by. They have just four first downs in the first half, and Manning’s averaging 4.8 yards per pass attempt.

And that will be fine, as long as the Panthers continue to make mistakes, and waste chances like they did with their end-of-half clock management.

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Mike Tolbert fumble leads to Peyton Manning pick

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

Late in a sloppy second quarter of Super Bowl 50, the Panthers and Broncos traded turnovers.

Panthers running back Mike Tolbert fumbled to set up the Broncos’ offense, and a C.J. Anderson run brought Denver into field goal range. But Peyton Manning threw an ugly interception right into the hands of Kony Ealy to waste a good opportunity.

Neither offense has played particularly well so far in the game, and that trade of turnovers epitomized what a defensive struggle this has been.

The Broncos’ offense hasn’t found the end zone yet, but Denver still has a 13-7 lead.

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Jordan Norwood sets SB record for punt return, Broncos lead 13-7

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17:   Jordan Norwood #11 of the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on September 17, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers appeared to think Jordan Norwood called for a fair catch as their coverage team bore down on him in the second quarter of Super Bowl 50, but Norwood never gave the signal.

He caught the ball, bounced off Panthers safety Colin Jones and sprinted 61 yards before Mario Addison ran him down on the Panthers’ 14-yard-line. It’s the longest punt return in Super Bowl history, knocking John Taylor’s 45-yarder against the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII to second place.

The Broncos offense, which has sputtered since opening the game with a long drive, couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. C.J. Anderson converted a fourth-and-one, but it came with the help of a hold by guard Louis Vasquez that pushed the Broncos back 10 yards and forced them to settle for a Brandon McManus field goal.

It’s the latest in a series of costly penalties against the Broncos, who could be up by a wider margin if they weren’t shooting themselves in the foot in the first half.

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