Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has been a question mark all week, and although he began doing limited work on Friday he is officially listed as questionable on the injury report with a sprained sternoclavicular joint in his throwing shoulder.
The Vikings were being guarded on how much Favre did in front of the cameras Friday, but he was at least limited after not participating on Wednesday or Thursday.
"We didn't have him do anything real deep," interim head coach Leslie Frazier said. "We just wanted to be able to see him go through the motion. That was the biggest thing that we needed to be able to see, the motion and the fact that he felt comfortable at least releasing the football.
"… That was his concern, being able to get through that final motion without a great deal of pain so in his mind that's going to determine whether or not he's going to end up playing on Sunday."
Favre was knocked out of Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills when he took a blindside hit on his first pass attempt and was leveled to the ground. He didn't return to the game, putting his NFL-record 297-game streak of starts on the line.
On Friday, he took four reps with the first-team offense during the portion of practice open to the media, making two left-handed handoffs and dropping back twice to throw but never actually throwing a pass. Backup Tarvaris Jackson followed the same routine with the second-team offense, dropping back twice and not releasing the ball during the final snaps the media were allowed to view.
Friday was the first time this week that Favre threw the ball and Frazier said they hadn't determined if Favre would throw again on Saturday or just rest it until testing it again before Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
"We would have to see him make some of the throws he'd have to make in the game, and he understands that," Frazier said.
"When we put him out there we want him to finish the game barring some hit. It won't be because he can't finish throws, so we need to see him make the throws we need to see him make in the game."
Frazier said Favre is still having some pain in the shoulder, and taking a pain-killing injection is still an option, but it's likely an option that the team would delay until Sunday morning. Frazier said Favre would rather play without taking a shot.
The pain comes at the end of the throwing motion.
"It's when he completes the throw," Frazier said. "When he goes back, he's OK. But once he comes forward, he feels pain up in the neck area and also in the top of the shoulder. It's just the finish of the throw that gives him some trouble."
Jackson, who has been Favre's backup the last two seasons but hasn't made a start since the 2008 season, has been through this routine numerous times, whether it's an ankle or a shoulder or a foot on the 41-year-old quarterback. Every time, Favre has answered the bell and made the start, so Jackson is expecting more of the same.
"I'd be kind of surprised if he didn't (play)," Jackson said. "I didn't think he was going to play the last time he got an injury, but he ended up coming out and playing pretty well before he got hurt. He's been banged up a lot this year and last year so you know he's probably going to try to give it a push Sunday morning."
Receiver Sidney Rice, who is making his way back from late Aug. hip surgery, echoed Jackson's sentiments.
"I'd be real surprised (if Favre doesn't play)," Rice said. "Knowing him and the type of guy he is and what he's done throughout his career, it's going to be hard for him if he can't play and I'm sure he'll be real disappointed."
Frazier has only been the interim head coach for the last two games, but from his defensive coordinator post he has also seen Favre make the start over the last two years the quarterback has been with the Vikings.
"Brett Favre, as you guys know, is a special, special player and he's done it time and time again, sometimes without all the parts," Frazier said. "And in a lot of ways this wouldn't be a lot different. He's succeeded against all odds so many times, so I don't count him out even though the circumstances are the greatest when you look around him, but that's not the first time he's been that way and he's succeeded."
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.
Frazier details pain for questionable Favre
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