Frazier will stick with Favre

Vikings interim head coach Leslie Frazier was quick with an answer when asked about his starting quarterback. He's sticking with Brett Favre, although there could be some minor changes in the way he operates within the offense.

Zygi Wilf stayed in-house with his immediate replacement for head coach, and his new interim head coach, Leslie Frazier, is staying status quo with his starting quarterback.

Frazier said Monday that Brett Favre would remain the starting quarterback. Frazier was quick with a reply when asked that question at the outset of his press conference.

"Brett Favre. There's no hesitation for me in that regard. Brett's a tremendous quarterback," Frazier said. "He's been a leader of our football team in the year and a half that he's been with us. There are some things that we have to do as a group to help support Brett, and that will be my message to our football team. But Brett Favre will be our quarterback on Sunday."

Favre had a career year in 2009, his first with the Vikings, when he threw 33 touchdowns and had only seven interceptions, but this season has been a far different story. Through 10 games, he has 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. In fact, Favre's interceptions this year was one of the reasons tension built between him and former head coach Brad Childress, who was fired Monday morning before Frazier was promoted.

When Favre threw one touchdown and three interceptions during his return visit to Lambeau Field on Oct. 24, it sent Childress on the offensive after the game.

"It still goes back to taking care of the football. You can't throw it to them, you've got to play within the confines of our system," Childress said following the Vikings' 28-24 loss at Lambeau Field. "Sometimes it's OK to punt the football, and you can't give seven points going the other way. Not in a game like this, not with a high-powered team."

Things got so bad for Favre that after interceptions on consecutive passes in the third quarter of that game, Childress said he considered pulling his starting quarterback but wanted to give him one more chance. Favre responded with a touchdown drive to pull the Vikings within four points, 28-24, but couldn't finish the comeback.

Favre said at the time that Childress never confronted him about making a change at quarterback.

"We didn't talk about it. I don't think I gave any illusion that I was hurt, though, other than limping every play," said Favre, who suffered a stress fracture in his ankle and an avulsion fracture in his heel during that game.

Childress has long been known as a coach that doesn't give his veteran quarterback the freedom they'd like to think they've earned because of their experience. Playing within "the confines of the system" isn't something that is typically associated with a quarterback saddled with a "gunslinger" image.

So will Frazier allow Favre more freedom?

"If you ask Brett that question I'm sure he would say, ‘Give me all the latitude in the world.' But we do have a system in place," Frazier said. "There may be some tweaks to the system. We're going to talk about that. But Brett, like all of our players, has to play within the scheme of our defense, our offense, our special teams."

The perception was that Childress' persistent pursuit of Favre during the 2009 offseason, and again in 2010, gave Favre the run of the offense. That perception was borne from the day Childress personally picked up Favre at the airport and drove him to the team's Winter Park practice facility on Aug. 18, 2009, where he signed a contract with the Vikings and started practicing with the team within a matter of a couple hours – with news helicopters flying overhead.

Frazier said Favre will be an equal with other players on the team.

"One of the things that we talk to our players about at the 1 o'clock meeting is that no one individual, irregardless of names or accolades, is bigger than our team, and I think all our guys understand that and all they want to do is be a part of a successful group. And Brett's no different," Frazier said. "He wants to be successful within the scheme and we want him to go ahead and play the way he's capable of playing, and we're going to try to surround him and help him in any way that we can. But he'll play within the scheme."

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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