SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Quarterback change reiterates that NFL is foremost a business

"In meetings, every time there's a question or a comment, it's, 'Hey, Alex, if we get an overload here, we want you to get into this play.' Now, it's, 'Hey, Colin…' It's a really weird experience to go through."

Gannon returned during a game against San Francisco in Week 15, a game the Vikings lost for their first consecutive defeats of the season. They were heading in the wrong direction at the time when they should have been making a strong stretch run.

"When they put me back in there, it wasn't good," he said. "Then the guys look at you different. You don't have the trust of your teammates. You're struggling, trying to make a big play."

Minnesota went back to Salisbury after the loss to the 49ers, won their final two games, then were wiped out at home by Washington, 24-7, in the first round of the playoffs.

The way Gannon sees it, Green's decision to fiddle with the quarterbacks altered the delicate balance of the season and doomed the team.

"We were a good football team," he said. "We were going to win the NFC Central [which they ultimately did]. We were walking away with it. It was a rookie head coach who made a terrible decision."

There's definitely a potential downside to the 49ers making their quarterback change. It could be brilliant. It could be a mistake. Certainly, it's a leap of faith.

What we can't know now is, if the 49ers circle back and come knocking for Smith, will the same Alex be there to answer?

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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