Vikings: Replacing Favre a tough task

The Vikings will be facing a starting QB other than Brett Favre in Green Bay for the first time in more than a decade. See what several Vikings said about the differences between Favre and Aaron Rodgers, and the difficult task ahead of Rodgers.

For Vikings fans and players, meeting up with Green Bay Packers for the past 15 years has always meant one thing – going up against Brett Favre and trying to prevent him from doing the magic that has made him a legend in his own time. The last time Favre didn't start a game for Green Bay was opening week of the 1992 season against the Vikings. Since then, he has played in 253 straight games. But the Monday night meeting with the Vikings will snap that string.

In his place will be Aaron Rodgers, who has spent the last three years watching Favre from the sidelines. When Green Bay made Rodgers a first-round pick in 2005, the intention was that he would be groomed as Favre's replacement. When Favre announced his retirement earlier this year, Rodgers stepped in front and center as the Packers starter. While he is making his first NFL start, the Vikings know he is far from an untested rookie.

"He's a lot further advanced than people think," said kicker Ryan Longwell, who played for the Packers when Rodgers was drafted. "People think this is his first go-around, but the opportunity to be in the league for four years with having to be really the guy is an opportunity (Falcons QB) Matt Ryan and those other (rookie quarterbacks) would like to have. He's in a good situation and I think he'll be fine."

But being a career backup is much different than being a starter. The playbook is typically reduced somewhat when a team uses a new quarterback, and the Vikings hope that his lack of tangible game experience will play to their advantage.

"It's going to be his first start and we have a good defense, so it's going to be a big test for him," defensive end Brian Robison said. "All we can do is get out there and put heat on him and see how he reacts."

On film, the Vikings have been impressed with what they've seen in Rodgers. He has the ability and skills that translate to most successful quarterbacks and, while there may be some first-start jitters, the Vikings aren't taking him lightly.

"I can see how they believe that he can do the job," safety Darren Sharper said. "He has shown in preseason games to have the moxie to be a quarterback in this league. He has shown that he can mobile and can make all the throws necessary to be a top-flight quarterback, so we'll see what he does on Monday night."

Rodgers is replacing a legend, which has historically been a problematic time for many young QBs. Miami has never adequately replaced Dan Marino and the Denver Broncos haven't won a playoff game since John Elway retired. Replacing a legend is always difficult, but, with Rodgers' maturity having been in the league for three years, the Vikings believe he is ready and will be able to react to pressure better than most young quarterbacks.

"He definitely moves a little bit better than Favre," defensive end Ray Edwards said. "He's got younger legs, fresher legs and with pressure coming, he can escape a little bit better than Favre could. But with Favre, he really didn't worry about it because he could get the ball out so quick. If we get to him early and make him get happy feet, that will make the game a lot easier for us."

Although Rodgers has received a lot of praise from his coaches, it is always difficult to replace a player who has been the face of the franchise, much less a player like Favre who has earned the reputation as a risk-taker and a gunslinger. He was almost impossible to rattle, which has the Vikings looking forward to playing the new guy.

"When you're talking about Brett Favre, he can pretty much do anything," Robison said. "A guy who has been in the league almost 20 years. He was playing before I even started playing and has proved he can make plays that shouldn't be made. That is hard to replace"

If the Vikings are going to ruin Rodgers' coming out party, it is going to require bringing the heat to him early and often. Sharper said Rodgers will have to step up his game, because aside from the pressure of playing on Monday Night Football, the Vikings aren't going to take it easy on him. If he is going to succeed in the first game of the post-Favre era, he's going to have to earn it.

"It's going to be a lot of pressure," Sharper said. "Not just from him trying to replace a legend, but the pressure we're going to apply to him. Playing against a defense as good as ours, it's going to be a different tone from what you've seen in the preseason. We definitely want to bring pressure and get him flustered. It's his first start, so you definitely want to get under his chin a little bit and see how tough he is."



Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" For Vikings fans and players, meeting up with Green Bay Packers for the past 15 years has always meant one thing – going up against Brett Favre and trying to prevent him from doing the magic that has made him a legend in his own time. The last time Favre didn't start a game for Green Bay was opening week of the 1992 season against the Vikings. Since then, he has played in 253 straight games. But the Monday night meeting with the Vikings will snap that string.

In his place will be Aaron Rodgers, who has spent the last three years watching Favre from the sidelines. When Green Bay made Rodgers a first-round pick in 2005, the intention was that he would be groomed as Favre's replacement. When Favre announced his retirement earlier this year, Rodgers stepped in front and center as the Packers starter. While he is making his first NFL start, the Vikings know he is far from an untested rookie.

\"He's a lot further advanced than people think,\" said kicker Ryan Longwell, who played for the Packers when Rodgers was drafted. \"People think this is his first go-around, but the opportunity to be in the league for four years with having to be really the guy is an opportunity (Falcons QB) Matt Ryan and those other (rookie quarterbacks) would like to have. He's in a good situation and I think he'll be fine.\"

But being a career backup is much different than being a starter. The playbook is typically reduced somewhat when a team uses a new quarterback, and the Vikings hope that his lack of tangible game experience will play to their advantage.

\"It's going to be his first start and we have a good defense, so it's going to be a big test for him,\" defensive end Brian Robison said. \"All we can do is get out there and put heat on him and see how he reacts.\"

On film, the Vikings have been impressed with what they've seen in Rodgers. He has the ability and skills that translate to most successful quarterbacks and, while there may be some first-start jitters, the Vikings aren't taking him lightly.

\"I can see how they believe that he can do the job,\" safety Darren Sharper said. \"He has shown in preseason games to have the moxie to be a quarterback in this league. He has shown that he can mobile and can make all the throws necessary to be a top-flight quarterback, so we'll see what he does on Monday night.\"

Rodgers is replacing a legend, which has historically been a problematic time for many young QBs. Miami has never adequately replaced Dan Marino and the Denver Broncos haven't won a playoff game since John Elway retired. Replacing a legend is always difficult, but, with Rodgers' maturity having been in the league for three years, the Vikings believe he is ready and will be able to react to pressure better than most young quarterbacks.

\"He definitely moves a little bit better than Favre,\" defensive end Ray Edwards said. \"He's got younger legs, fresher legs and with pressure coming, he can escape a little bit better than Favre could. But with Favre, he really didn't worry about it because he could get the ball out so quick. If we get to him early and make him get happy feet, that will make the game a lot easier for us.\"

Although Rodgers has received a lot of praise from his coaches, it is always difficult to replace a player who has been the face of the franchise, much less a player like Favre who has earned the reputation as a risk-taker and a gunslinger. He was almost impossible to rattle, which has the Vikings looking forward to playing the new guy.

\"When you're talking about Brett Favre, he can pretty much do anything,\" Robison said. \"A guy who has been in the league almost 20 years. He was playing before I even started playing and has proved he can make plays that shouldn't be made. That is hard to replace\"

If the Vikings are going to ruin Rodgers' coming out party, it is going to require bringing the heat to him early and often. Sharper said Rodgers will have to step up his game, because aside from the pressure of playing on Monday Night Football, the Vikings aren't going to take it easy on him. If he is going to succeed in the first game of the post-Favre era, he's going to have to earn it.

\"It's going to be a lot of pressure,\" Sharper said. \"Not just from him trying to replace a legend, but the pressure we're going to apply to him. Playing against a defense as good as ours, it's going to be a different tone from what you've seen in the preseason. We definitely want to bring pressure and get him flustered. It's his first start, so you definitely want to get under his chin a little bit and see how tough he is.\"


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