Favre throws, status still uncertain

Brett Favre was throwing passes and jogging lightly at Friday's practice, but the Vikings still don't know whether he'll play or not on Sunday against the New England Patriots. Brad Childress, Bill Belichick and Tarvaris Jackson all weighed in on the possibilities.

Bill Belichick isn't buying that Brett Favre won't play on Sunday, and the New England Patriots coach just might be right about the Minnesota Vikings quarterback.

Favre was on the practice field Friday, throwing passes and jogging lightly only five days after suffering a stress fracture in his left ankle and an avulsion fracture in his heel. Favre shed the walking boot he was wearing earlier in the week and participated in practice on a limited basis for the first time this week.

Vikings coach Brad Childress wasn't giving away any information in his post-practice press conference Friday.

Asked about Favre's mobility at the start of practice, Childress said, "Not giving any scouting reports. Better than an iron deer on the lawn."

Tarvaris Jackson would get the start if Favre doesn't play, but even Jackson was light on information.

"As far as warming up, (Favre) was pretty much stationary. He wasn't really moving around a lot. He's coming along," Jackson said. "Obviously coming along a little better since Monday since he got the boot off his foot. I really couldn't tell you his conditioning to a T or how he'll feel, but I can tell you I'll be ready to play."

Favre was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

Belichick said he put no stock in a report from the Star Tribune saying that Childress was leaning toward starting Jackson, according to an NFL source. Belichick questioned if that was similar to a report that Terrell Owens wouldn't play in Super Bowl XXXIX when the Patriots beat Owens and the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 on Feb. 6, 2005, one year before Childress became the head coach of the Vikings after being the Eagles offensive coordinator in that Super Bowl.

Nonetheless, Belichick is impressed with Favre's 291-game streak of consecutive starts.

"It's like the great ones: (Cal) Ripken and (Lou) Gehrig and those guys that just play forever. It seems like he's played forever, and he has. He has. It's pretty impressive," Belichick said. "It's hard for most players just to make it through a 16-game season. This guy has made it through how many years? Eighteen, whatever it is. It's pretty impressive. Obviously it says a lot about his physical ability. It says a lot about his durability. It says a lot about his mental toughness and physical toughness."

With 10 interceptions and four lost fumbles, Favre's play this season hasn't been up to his normal performance standards, especially those from last year, when he threw 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. That raised the question of whether or not a potential Favre benching would be related to his health or his performance – something that Childress said he'll let the media speculate on – and whether he wanted Favre to start.

"If it gives us the best chance to win, yeah. There are a couple of litmus things – can he protect himself and what gives us the best chance to win?" Childress said.

For now, Childress said he is waiting until at least Saturday to see how Favre is feeling and "probably" would wait until Sunday to make a decision. Either way, he said he wasn't losing sleep over the decision and was clearly tired of talking about it by the end of his press conference.

"Anybody want to know anything about the game?" he said after the last question. "I didn't think so. See ya."

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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