The Vikings and Brett Favre started slow on offense, but that's exactly what happened last year with Favre. The difference this year was the quality of opponent.
joined the Vikings in late August last year, didn't get into a groove until Week 3 of the season and still they cruised to a 6-0 start.
This season, however, Favre's decision to again not arrive in Minnesota until training camp was over appeared to backfire in quick fashion.
Favre, who took advantage of the fact the Vikings opened up against woeful teams in Cleveland and Detroit in 2009, completed 15 of 27 passes for 171 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a subpar 71.7 passer rating in a season-opening 14-9 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints
at the Superdome.
It was obvious Favre was not on the same page as his wide receivers and he completed only four of the 12 passes that he threw to Greg Camarillo
, Percy Harvin
, Greg Lewis
and Bernard Berrian
. About the only receiver who was in sync with Favre was tight end Visanthe Shiancoe
, who caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
"I think the timing was off a little bit," Favre said. "Without looking at film, off the top of my head, there were three or four throws that I just missed. I have no excuse other than just missing them. I threw one behind Greg Lewis. I had a couple of reads that I should have made differently. If I do that, I think it is a different ballgame. ... Overall, I just missed on some throws that I should have made."
In his first game with the Vikings last season, Favre completed 14 of 21 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown in a 34-20 victory over the Browns. A week later he threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-13 victory at Detroit before following that with a 301-yard passing performance against San Francisco.
The question now becomes how long will it take Favre to get on track this season? The Vikings play their home opener on Sept. 19 against Miami and then play host to Detroit before having a bye.
Those are key games considering the Vikings will play the Jets, Cowboys, Packers and Patriots coming out of the bye.
Vikings coach Brad Childress acknowledged that his team's opening game was expected to be a shootout between two top offenses. But that isn't what happened. "Obviously, it turned into a defensive struggle," Childress said. "I don't think that anybody would've seen that this way. They had four explosive plays in the first quarter. We kind of held them down after that. We were right where we wanted to be at halftime. Unfortunately, we were three and out far too many times. Hats off to New Orleans. They did a nice job defensively ... and we didn't have a lot of answers for that."
DE Jared Allen was pleased with how the Vikings defense performed. "I am really proud of the way our defense played," he said. "Other than their first drive (on which the Saints scored), I thought we stopped them a lot on third downs and made plays."
QB Brett Favre didn't play his best Thursday, but he did say his surgically repaired left ankle held up fine. "I don't move around like I used to," Favre said. "But I feel like it did OK."
WR Bernard Berrian returned punts but didn't do much in that role. Berrian muffed one punt and finished with 2 yards on two returns. He also had two fair catches. There is a chance the Vikings could give WR Greg Camarillo a look in that role.
CB Cedric Griffin, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in the NFC title game last season, was among the Vikings' eight inactives. It's not certain when Griffin will be able to begin playing but he is doing limited work in practice.
LB E.J. Henderson played against the Saints, nine months after suffering a gruesome broken leg. Henderson started in his usual role in the middle and tied for second on the team with nine tackles.
LT Bryant McKinnie left Thursday's game in the fourth quarter after he dislocated his finger. He is expected to return for the Vikings next game against Miami a week from Sunday.