Notebook: Favre still unimpressed with play

Brett Favre was relieved to walk away with a win, but he wasn't impressed with his play or the performance by the passing offense in general. See how he and other players explained what is going on.

No one on the Vikings is sending back the 24-10 win over the Detroit Lions, but Brett Favre is far from celebrating his passing offense.

Favre connected on 23 of 34 passes for 201 yards, but the stat that stands out to him is two interceptions. Through three games, Favre has six interceptions; he had seven during the regular season last year.

Despite scoring 24 points, there are a lot of holes to fill in the offense.

"Turnovers, near misses, or near catches or near big plays. We won the game, but you don't get very many opportunities to make big plays," Favre said.

Favre's longest pass play was a 24-yard touchdown toss to Percy Harvin on a blown coverage that still required Harvin to dive to haul in.

"You better hit that when he's wide open. You can't turn the ball over. That killed us last week. … We had less big plays (than) last week. Turnovers. Third down is kind of hit or miss right now," Favre said.

In short, the 20-year veteran of the league is still not sure of his personnel and is taking every moment he can to help them see what he sees from defenses and help them read what he reads out of coverages. On Thursday in practice, that meant Favre was acting like a cornerback while tutoring Harvin about which way he wants him to break if a cornerback shows a particular coverage.

Harvin was the Vikings' leading receiver on Sunday, targeted eight times by Favre for six receptions and 62 yards. But without Sidney Rice, whom Favre continues to miss, and with Visanthe Shiancoe leaving on the team's first offensive play of the second half with a hamstring injury, Favre's options were limited even more.

Peterson caught five passes, Greg Lewis had three receptions and nobody else had more than two. Shiancoe had just one catch for 7 yards.

Complicating things even more are all the changes in the receiving corps. Greg Camarillo was acquired before the third preseason game. Hank Baskett was signed on Wednesday. And running back Toby Gerhart, who missed time with a knee injury, was being instructed by Favre just before the team was taking the field.

"He was kind of banged up, and I really had no work with him until two weeks ago. He didn't play against the Saints," Favre said. "… We were talking right before the motorcycle is revving up and we're getting ready to go out and I'm like, ‘Hey, if you're with me on third downs … if you chip I want you to come out this way.' It's not the first time in my career that I've done that and I'm like, ‘Boy I kind of hope he's on the same page as me.' That's kind of where we are right now offensively if you look at the big picture."

Vikings coach Brad Childress said Favre is "doing just fine."

"It's hard to strap everything on your back and win it right now at this point in time," Childress said. "I think we're still, I won't use the word ‘struggling' to see who we are. … This is a yet-to-be-determined product. I'm just happy to get this first win."

One of the issues is the protection for Favre. Favre was only sacked twice, but he was hit five more times. He threw one touchdown and had two interceptions, along with a fumble and another interception negated because of penalties.

For a 40-year-old quarterback that is taking injections in his surgically repaired ankle, the hits can add up.

"We can't keep Brett on his feet," Harvin said. "And the ball is getting tipped in the air by DBs (defensive backs) or whatever hitting Brett's hands. So there are just little things that we have to clean up. But we have to start with keeping Brett on his feet and we can go from there."

Favre has taken six sacks on the season, but he's emerged from the locker room after some games walking slowly and looking older.

"They add up," Childress said. "We talk about hitting the quarterback and I think all but maybe one was legal. Any time you can hit a quarterback, he gets sand in his shoes and it's harder to step into a throw, whoever you are. … We'd rather keep him clean."

The Vikings had the second-ranked offense in the league last year, but receiver Greg Lewis still wasn't impressed with that.

How far is the 2010 offense from the 2009 version?

"About a million miles away because this isn't last year," Lewis said. "This isn't the same guys; this isn't the same team. So last year was last year. And honestly we weren't that good last year offensively; we just made plays in situations that made us look like we were good. That hasn't happened this year yet."

After three games, the Vikings offensive is ranked 15th in the league, averaging 328 yards per game, but the passing offense is down to 24th in the league.

"We're not near as good as we were last year – I'm reluctant to say not very good, and I'm talking about me and the passing game. I'm not talking about anyone else," Favre said. "We have to either figure out a way to do it or it's going to be a tough road. I hope we figure that out. But there better be some urgency."

CORNERBACKS BACK

The Vikings' secondary received the anticipated shakeup they were showing last week in practice – Cedric Griffin started for the first time since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 24 in the NFC Championship game and rookie second-round pick Chris Cook was active as well and playing during nickel situations, giving the Vikings the biggest group of cornerbacks they've had this year.

But the additional defensive backs brought about a few mild surprises on the inactive list, chief among them Tyrell Johnson, who started 15 games at safety last year. He joined QB Joe Webb (third QB), RB Albert Young, LB Erin Henderson, C Jon Cooper, DT Fred Evans, DE Jayme Mitchell and DE Everson Griffen as the Vikings' inactives.

Inactive for the Lions were QB Matthew Stafford, WR Nate Burleson, RB Kevin Smith, LB Zack Follett, LB Landon Johnson, G Manny Ramirez, T Jason Fox and DE Willie Young.

CHIPPY WITH DETROIT

Back-to-back possessions late in third quarter turned chippy. On a third-down play for Detroit, Brian Robison sacked Shaun Hill, but Jared Allen and tackle Jeff Backus ended up in a shoving match that brought a number of players from both teams into the scuffle.

"I don't like anybody on Detroit," Allen joked in the locker room after the game. "I don't know why everyone thinks I started it. I didn't start anything. I was just on the ball."

"It was just a little pushing and shoving and then someone wanted to jump in and spear me. It's just big boys doing big-boy things."

Ray Edwards said he wasn't about to back down from the confrontation, and the Lions were hesitant to let it slide too.

"All I have to say about that is I, we, are not going to be anybody's punk out there, you know what I mean?" Hill said.

Both teams were flagged for unnecessary roughness.

On the next play from scrimmage, when the Vikings got the ball back, Lions cornerback Chris Houston was flagged for illegal use of the hands, but he and Greg Lewis ended up in shoving match after that play as well.

NOTES

  • Favre continues to advance the old-man image. Asked about the hits he's taking, he said, "I know more than anything, I'm probably the most fatigued I've been; just dehydrated, getting up off the ground and struggling, you get a way and make throws. If you could drop back and step into it three or four steps and make a throw, it sure would be a lot easier, kind of like the first play of the game. After that, I knew I was going to get a hit a lot."

  • Harvin was on the other side of the field when Peterson ripped off his 80-yard touchdown run, but he knows when Peterson is breaking free. "I was on the back side and once you see his head start nodding you can put your hands in the air," Harvin said.

  • With the Monday night game between the Packers and Bears still to come, the Vikings rank 15th on offense (sixth rushing and 24th passing) and fifth on defense (eighth in defending both the run and the pass).


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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