Brett Favre: Is retirement on the horizon of the frozen tundra?

Brett Favre may have played his final NFL game in Monday night's Viking loss to the Bears. Did the Brett Favre two-year odyssey cost the Minnesota Vikings a chance to develop another quarterback for the long term?

Eric Miller/Reuters
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre heads to the sidelines after he throws a pass intercepted by Chicago Bears' Julius Peppers during the first quarter of their NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, December 20.

The ol' gunslinger said it himself after the game. Maybe Brett Favre should have run out of the stadium after leading the Vikings on a touchdown drive in the first quarter of Monday night's game versus the Chicago Bears.

That was the only highlight the Minnesota team provided the home crowd at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, as Chicago clinched the NFC North division with a 40-14 win.

Well, there was one other Minnesota highlight: Past Viking heroes trotted onto the field Monday night at halftime, led by former head coach Bud Grant, clad in his ever-present Viking ball cap and short-sleeve golf shirt in weather conditions better suited for ice fishing – another outdoor activity beloved in the land of 10,000 lakes.

For the Bears, they seemed to thrive in the snow and wind during a game forced outdoors by the collapse of the Metrodome roof over a week ago. Quarterback Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes and defensive back Devin Hester set an NFL record by returning his 14th career kick for a touchdown in the third quarter.

There are two more weeks in the NFL season, but the year's been over for the Vikings for a while. After missing last week's game against the Giants with a bad shoulder, Favre was thought to be out for Monday night's encounter. However, the 20-year vet convinced interim head coach Leslie Frazier in pre-game warmups that he could play. And play he did and probably will, into that good retirement night.

What will the two-year experiment called Favre cost the Viking franchise, in terms of quarterback development? Backup Tavaris Jackson is now on injured reserve with turf toe and will be a free agent at season's end. Rookie Joe Webb, who ran for a score Monday night after Favre left the game with a concussion in the second quarter, is not Fran Tarkenton, but could he be with time? Patrick Ramsey was signed last week to be an emergency backup, but his NFL pedigree is not one to build an offense around.

Right now, the team needs to figure out where it will be playing next year and who the head coach will be. Then, the search for a new gunslinger can start.

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