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How much does Brett Favre hate Ted Thompson?
Is it enough to have his right arm surgically repaired?
Is Favre ready to go through another 16-game grind that seemed to get the best of him last season?
The answers to those questions ultimately will determine whether Favre ends his second retirement — and whether the Minnesota Vikings even want him on their team.
Vikings coach Brad Childress has arrived in Mississippi and, according to the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis, had dinner with Favre on Wednesday night before substantive meetings on Thursday.
In a predictable yet stunningly fast turn of events, Favre apparently is one conversation away from making what many Packers fans would consider a Benedict Arnold-style step by turning his back on the legions of fans who worshipped him to play for Minnesota.
According to the Star-Tribune's sources, Favre is "agreeable" to undergoing a surgical procedure in which his partially torn biceps tendon would be cut completely. The minor operation would have Favre ready in plenty of time for training camp but let him avoid the drudgery of participating in offseason practices.
Considering the retired Favre wanted out of his contract with the New York Jets, the conclusion to this story seems pretty obvious.
"This is a perfect opportunity for him not only to come back but also to put a foot in Ted Thompson's rear," ex-Packers and Vikings safety Darren Sharper told ESPN.
Favre, however, is 39 and might not be keen on surgery. Thus, it might not be a slam dunk that he joins the Vikings.
"(Childress is) going to have to do a recruiting job," NFL Network's Steve Mariucci, Favre's quarterbacks coach in Green Bay from 1992 through 1995, said on the air. "He's going to have to go down there and convince Brett that this is the right time and the right place and the right scenario at age 40 — when he turns 40 in October — that this is the right thing for him to do and let's get busy working it.
"He's going to have to recruit Brett to do that. Brett's not calling them saying, ‘Hey, give me another shot.' I think (Childress) is going to have to go down there and paint a picture that's favorable for Brett and his wife to do this again, to move his little girl up there into school."
There's enough motivation from both sides that it wouldn't be surprising that Favre and Childress reach an agreement on Thursday.
On the field, the Vikings have a championship-caliber team but don't have a winning quarterback, though Fox Sports' Jay Glazer said the Vikings' leadership is "split" on Favre. Off the field, the Vikings are fighting an uphill battle in getting a new stadium. Favre's presence would help in that regard. And, of course, there's Favre's hatred for Thompson.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty reveled in a "wonderful little salt to rub in the eyes" of Packers fans.
"Can you imagine Brett Favre going into Lambeau Field in Viking purple and maybe even wearing No. 4?" Pawlenty said. "There would be audible gasps. There would be audible gasps as he came out of the tunnel."
At the end, though, Childress must determine Favre's value on the field. Learning the offense would be a breeze, since it's similar to what Favre ran in Green Bay. And, of course, he'd have Adrian Peterson on offense and a dominating front four on defense.
Last year, the Vikings went 10-6 and won the NFC North. When Favre went to the Jets, New York went from 4-12 to 9-7, though the Jets were the most-active team in free agency before getting Favre.
"If he's able to stay healthy for the whole season, which is going to be a big factor because he is going to be 40 years of age, I don't think he's going to be asked to do as much as he did in New York," Sharper, now with the Saints, said on Sirius NFL Radio. "He might not be asked to throw the ball but maybe 20 to 25 times because it is such a strong running attack Minnesota has. They will win 12 games. With the defense that they have, the returning players, they have a lot of returning starters, a lot of veterans there, good offense. They'll win 12 games and (I) can see them repeating winning the NFC North."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.