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Brett Favre Is Coming Back for More

HATTIESBURG, MS - JULY 11:  Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre arrives for a funeral service for former NFL quarterback Steve McNair on July 11, 2009 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
Brent JonesCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2009

Brett Favre is coming back for more.

The 39-year-old quarterback turned his back on retirement for the second time in as many years, agreeing Tuesday to play for the Minnesota Vikings.

The deal is worth between $10 million to $12 million, according to ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

 

Lackluster Finishes

The memory of the Jets' 1-4 finish with Brett Favre at the helm is fresh, but the truth is, Favre has experienced late-season fades in each of the past four seasons. The numbers below, from ESPN Stats and Information, are for 2005 through 2008.

CategoryFirst 11 gamesLast 5 games
Comp pct64.856.1
Pass yards PG253.8211.4
TD-Int75-5013-34
Passer rating88.259.9

 

The Vikings made it official with a news release early Tuesday afternoon. A news conference to introduce Favre is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.

The first inkling that something was afoot came early Tuesday, when two television stations in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Minneapolis reported that the Vikings had sent a private plane to Hattiesburg to pick up Favre.

 

Favre and his wife, Deanna, arrived to cheering fans outside the team's practice facility and the quarterback was in a helmet and pads less than 90 minutes later. His red practice jersey was the familiar No. 4, the same number he wore for years with his now-rival Green Bay Packers.

 

Coach Brad Childress, who greeted the Favres at the airport, had confirmed the planned meeting in an early Tuesday e-mail to The Associated Press. Asked if the plan was to sign Favre, Childress replied: "In a perfect world."

Childress' wish came true shortly afterward, when the Vikings announced the signing.

 

The day's developments and Favre's arrival were a surreal tableau, with a throng of fans who somehow learned early on of Favre's deal with the Vikings and ran alongside the SUV as it arrived at the Vikings' practice site from the airport, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, with a lone police officer trying to maintain order.

The Herd with Colin Cowherd

Trent Dilfer reacts to Brett Favre's return to the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. Dilfer says it's worked out well for Favre, but he's not sure it will work out well for the Vikings.

ESPN analyst Cris Carter reported that Childress already has told the Vikings that Favre would be starting in Friday night's preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I have mixed emotions, but I have always loved to watch him play," Favre's mother, Bonita, told the Sun Herald of Biloxi. "This time, however, I thought he would stay retired and stay home. I guess he could not do it.

"They [Minnesota] seem to have a good team in place, and he liked that. I guess I need to get a Vikings jersey now."

John David Booty, who had been wearing No. 4, was assigned No. 9.

 

Favre, a longtime star in Green Bay, came out of retirement last season to play for the New York Jets. He retired again, only to then entertain the idea of joining the Vikings. Three weeks ago, Childress said the quarterback would stay retired.

 

The pronouncement turned out to be premature.

I think he's a great quarterback, a great guy, a great leader. Would I like to hit him? Hell, yeah, I'd like to hit him. All these damn practices out here and they didn't let us hit him.

-- Packers linebacker Nick Barnett

 

Two television stations were the first to report that Favre was seen boarding a plane Tuesday morning that was headed to Minneapolis.

Sources told Hattiesburg television station WDAM, which initially broke the story, that Favre had said: "We may know something by dinner."

 

A high-level source first told Minneapolis TV station WCCO that Favre was expected to sign a deal with the Vikings on Tuesday.

 

ESPN's Ed Werder reported that according to a source, Favre told close friends and family members before boarding the plane: "I'm going to play football.''

The decision to do so comes even though Favre has informed the team that Dr. James Andrews detected a slight tear in his right rotator cuff in May while performing arthroscopic surgery on the quarterback's passing shoulder, according to a source.

 

"The tear is still there and there's always a possibility something could happen with it later on,'' the source told Werder. "He wanted to give it the best chance he could before he made a commitment. But the last three weeks, it hasn't gotten any worse and he's been working hard. Hell, who knows? It could flare up again if they make him throw 50 or 60 balls a day."

 


Fantasy: What to expect

Brett Favre's addition to the Vikings should be a boon to the cast around him, ESPN.com Fantasy analyst Matthew Berry believes.

While Favre is just a borderline top-20 fantasy quarterback (he was 16th in points among QBs in 2008), Adrian Peterson and Bernard Berrian should see boosts in production.

The presence of Favre makes Peterson the consensus No. 1 pick. Berry previously had Peterson ranked No. 2 behind Michael Turner.

Also, Berrian is now a top-20 fantasy receiver. He is currently ranked No. 26 in ESPN.com average draft position.

ESPN.com projections:
• Favre: 3,294 passing yards; 21 TDs; 19 INTs
• Berrian: 73 receptions; 1,150 yards; 7 TDs
• Peterson: 1,701 rushing yards; 11 rushing TDs; 22 receptions; 184 receiving yards; 3 receiving TDs

• 2009 Draft Kit | Blog

 

 

It was concern about that injury, and the pain in both of his ankles and left knee, that discouraged Favre from signing with the Vikings before training camp.

 

Favre, who holds almost all of the NFL's career passing records, has never been much of a fan of offseason practices, though. Last summer, he ended his retirement with the Packers and forced a trade to the Jets, where he faded down the stretch amid problems with his throwing arm.

But Favre remained in regular communication with the Vikings' coaching staff the past three weeks, and a source said that owner Zygi Wilf had to do very little convincing when the two met this week near Favre's home in Hattiesburg.

"He had a lot of aches and pains and they basically needed a commitment from him before he felt he was ready to play,'' a source told Werder. "He wants to be able to do the best he can do and doesn't want to disappoint them.''

Favre has been working out regularly with Oak Grove High School players in Hattiesburg, according to WDAM-TV, and has not missed a practice even after telling the Vikings he would remain retired.

The Vikings finished training camp last week and beat Indianapolis 13-3 in their preseason opener Friday. They got a strong performance from quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who has been competing with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job since Favre jilted the team July 28.

The Vikings are expected to challenge for the NFC North title this season, with whoever is behind center.

Rosenfels and Jackson have had some rough moments during practice. Jackson hurt his knee, missed a few workouts and then returned, but he was out of sync last week against the Colts.

Rosenfels did well, but preseason games are tough to evaluate and Indianapolis held out all four starting defensive backs.

On Monday, Jackson, responding to the day's scuttlebutt that Favre was predicted to play in Minnesota this season, said he was not paying attention to any of the talk.

 

"I pretty much have said [Favre] probably will follow me even when I retire. I'll probably have to hear about it. I'm just trying to take care of my business, and I can't worry about that stuff," Jackson said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "If I let that stuff get to me, ain't no telling where I'd be right now. I just let it roll off my shoulder and just keep going. Just keep trying to get better."

 

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice Tuesday he was not surprised by Favre's return.

"I don't think anybody should be surprised by it," McCarthy said.

Aaron Rodgers, who inherited the starting quarterback position after Favre retired -- then unretired -- said, "I don't have a reaction. It doesn't pertain to me. It has absolutely nothing to do with me. It doesn't change anything. It has nothing to do with the Green Bay Packers."

 

Packers general manager Ted Thompson also didn't want any part of the Favre situation, which caused a major distraction during the Packers' training camp a year ago and lingered on well after Favre was traded to the Jets.

After dodging a few questions about Favre on Tuesday, Thompson refused to bite on a question about whether it's wise for a team to tie its fortunes to a player with commitment issues so late in training camp.

"You guys just try to get me in trouble," Thompson said, smiling.

 

Packers linebacker Nick Barnetttold the newspaper: "Ater all those years of not being able to hit him, do I want to hit him? Of course I want to hit him. He's an awesome guy. I wish him the best."

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