Projecting the Vikings with, without Favre

We’ve tapped into a number of statistical services in recent years, and two of them are offering us interesting takes on the impact of quarterback Brett Favre's career decision on the Minnesota Vikings. I’m not coming off my take that Favre will eventually return to Minnesota, but these numbers help explain exactly why there was so much hubbub about his plans.

AccuScore, which uses digital profiles of players and coaches to run 10,000 simulated seasons at a time, gives the Vikings a 91 percent chance of making the playoffs if Favre is their quarterback in 2010. Without him, they put the Vikings’ playoffs chances at 53 percent. See the chart below:

Just as interesting, especially from a fantasy standpoint, is AccuScore’s projections for the Vikings’ top three receivers if someone other than Favre is throwing to them this season. Below are their findings:

The biggest statistical reason for the slip is erstwhile starter Tarvaris Jackson’s relatively low career completion percentage of 58.7 AccuScore projects Jackson’s 16-game completion percentage in 2010 at 56.6.

Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders took on a similar task as part of an ESPN Insider column. You’ll need a subscription to read all of what Barnwell wrote, but I can tell you he projects Jackson with a 60.9 completion percentage.

As always, I caution you to remember that these are statistical projections. At the same time, however, they are based on the totality of each player’s career history. Players can always divert and/or improve from their past, but it would be just that: A change of course. So take it for what you will, and carry on.