If, for some reason (perhaps a bad ankle?), Brett Favre does not return to the Minnesota Vikings in 2010, the NFC playoff picture will take a drastic turn. More specifically, the picture might not include the Vikings at all.
While the defense isn’t likely to be an issue outside of an uncertain secondary due to injuries at the end of the season, the offense could be in serious trouble. Sidney Rice came on and looked like a superstar, but a lot of that had to do with the rapport he and Favre had.
Visante Shiancoe seemed to do nothing but catch touchdowns but, again, that had a lot to do with Favre. Even the offensive line looked a whole lot better than it actually is because Favre is willing to stand in the pocket, stare down the gun barrel, and make the difficult throw.
If there were a slightly more skittish quarterback behind them, say Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson, the offense would have had a very difficult time getting anything moving.
Adrian Peterson is perhaps the only guy who would benefit from Favre finally retiring, as last season was his worst as a pro due to the increased number of pass plays. But, without the threat of a passing game and an overrated offensive line, Peterson might be on his hands and knees begging Favre to come back after a week or two.
This isn’t to say the Vikings wouldn’t be competitive. A 9-7, or even 10-6, record is not out of reach for a Favre-less Vikings teams, but they would be a Wild Card team, and nothing more. The Green Bay Packers will give them a run either way, but without Favre the Vikings are clearly the inferior squad.