SLAYTON — It was a beautiful springtime day a couple of weeks ago and the young men’s hearts turned to thoughts of ...
The NFL Draft?
Well, sort of. A buddy and I were coaching our junior high baseball team, preparing to play at the fine refurbished yard in Westbrook, and the boys were playing catch. That’s when the manager decided to check his cellphone for a draft update and learned the big news of the day:
Aaron Rodgers hates his bosses and wants out of Green Bay.
This information was relayed to the young ball players with a prediction that one day not long down the road No. 12 could possibly be playing for the Vikings.
The boys all stopped playing catch and in near unanimous chorus exclaimed their indignation and outrage.
No cussing is allowed on this ball team, but suffice it to say the young athletes did not respond with “Minnesota Nice” words when the suggestion of our state becoming Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood was advanced.
They were disgusted with the idea.
Of course, QB discontent is rampant in the professional football landscape these days. No fan of the Vikings, Bears or Lions need be reminded that it’s been that way in the Black and Blue Division for a long time.
Only in Packerland, where the fans have had three successive and pretty much successful decades of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, has there been a lack of quarterback quandaries.
How many starting QBs have there been in Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota since Favre first showed up in Green Bay in 1992? Glad you asked because I looked it up.
In Chicago, they’ve had 33 mostly forgettable guys. In Detroit, the number is 23.
And in Minnesota there have been 27, which as you know includes Favre himself.
The Ol’ Gunslinger isn’t the only ex-Packer who ever played for the Vikes, of course. So it seems like a likely possibility that Rodgers could one day play for the Purple. Right? Even if he’s pretty much unlikeable?
The teens on my ball team find the idea distasteful. And it’s understandable, given the intensity of the rivalry. Several of my greatest pals, lifelong Viking fans, could not pull as hard for the Horn Hats when Favre was wearing a purple No. 4 under center. These same guys might swear off the NFL if Rodgers crosses the Mississippi and joins the Vikes.
Certainly there’d be some swearing.
It isn’t unheard of for a superstar to change his stripes. Minnesotans know this only too well. Especially when it comes to baseball. After all, the Twins traded Rod Carew.
And it remains a particularly disturbing fact to us that the great Harmon Killebrew hit his last home run in a doggone Royals uniform.
As provincial as we are, when it comes to football it seems like anything goes — as long as a newcomer can win. Certainly Aaron Rodgers has been a winner. So why wouldn’t Viking fans rejoice at the possibility of obtaining him?
But back to reality. It’s likely not ever going to happen, right? And that’s doubtless a good thing for all of us.
Even if Kirk Cousins is only capable of leading the Vikings to a .500 record, that’s got to be acceptable — because he never played for the Packers.
Last week, we were substitute teaching in fifth grade when it occurred that a straw poll might be in order. So we asked the kids this: How many Viking football fans in here?
Everyone raised their hand.
Then a follow up: How many would like to see Aaron Rodgers as the Viking quarterback?
Pretty much every hand shot back down.
Quarterback discontent? Oh, they’ve had it for decades in Chicago and Detroit. They’ve got it in Green Bay these days for a change.
And we’ve got our share of it, too, right here in Minnesota.
But maybe, just maybe, there’s a way to fix things.
When discussing the situation with our fifth-graders last week, one youngster wearing a Dalvin Cook 33 jersey shook his head and sighed.
Then he said this: If only we could get that kid from Marshall to play quarterback for us.
(Scott Mansch is a part-time sports writer who is a substitute teacher and youth baseball coach in Slayton. He can be reached at email@example.com)