Vikings vs. Packers: Favre makes Monday night pure theater
Former Packer Brett Favre faces his former team for the first time. Beloved and besmirched since joining the hated Vikings this summer, football’s Falstaff is unfailingly entertaining.
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At a briefing last week – and the media are congregating like a smelt run in Lake Superior – the issue came up with the first question: Was it revenge? No, Favre said. He just wanted another chance to win a Super Bowl. The quarterback who turns 40 this week and presumably will get his first AARP card, even though he still bounds into the huddle as if it were Gymboree, has insisted all along that another championship was his only motive.Skip to next paragraph
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Whether true or not, this is not just another case of a famous athlete coming out of retirement to play another year of ball – think Joe Montana and his post-49er year in Kansas City. This a famous athlete coming out of retirement to play for a team that is the archrival of the team that he feels spurned him. Favre admitted to some complicated motivations by the end of his press conference. He said it's only human nature to want to show that you can still compete.
In theory, the two teams will actually play some football tonight. When they do, many national analysts give the Vikings (3-0) a slight edge. They have Peterson, the league's most explosive and punishing runner. They have rookie receiver Percy Harvin, who has shown flashes of brilliance, including returning a kickoff for 101 yards last week. (He is rather fast.) And now they have Favre, who brings leadership to the huddle and the ability to mount a come-from-behind drive or drives if need be – which in the first three games the Vikings have needed.
That, in fact, is one of the their Achilles' cleats. They've started off slow offensively each week, behind a game plan that was conservative enough to be crafted by Sean Hannity. True, turning Favre into Peterson's personal handoff man rather than the gunslinger he used to be, has limited the quarterback to only one interception this year.
But the Vikings won't be able to keep handing out leads early if they want to win. Green Bay (2-1) has put up strong offensive numbers under young quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They have upgraded their defense behind new coordinator Dom Capers. One area of vulnerability is their offensive line, which has given up a league-leading 12 sacks.
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