Favre left to play catch-up

Without the benefit of training camp to get immersed into the playbook and build camaraderie, Brett Favre is left to find a rhythm in the remaining preseason games.

And now the real work begins.

Three weeks after Brett Favre told Brad Childress that he had decided to remain retired, the future Hall of Fame quarterback reversed course and jumped at an offer from the Vikings coach to join the team.

Favre was so anxious to get on the field that only three days and 2½ practices after signing a two-year, $25 million contract, he played two series in the Vikings' 17-13 preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at the Metrodome.

It quickly became clear that while Favre might have had little interest in spending two weeks at training camp in Mankato, Minn., it definitely would have benefited him.

Favre's familiarity with the West Coast system run by the Vikings is not in question. He spent 16 seasons directing a similar offense with the Green Bay Packers and at one point this offseason claimed he could teach it.

The issue for Favre is that he's going to quickly need to get himself in game shape and also familiarize himself with a group of offensive players with whom he has no past experience.

Favre might know what Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor are supposed to do, but what he doesn't know are the nuances of how they will execute their assignments.

That's the reason Childress wanted Favre at training camp in the first place. The experience might not be pleasant - few professional athletes probably enjoy living in a college dorm room - but the on- and off-the-field work that is accomplished can be key for laying the groundwork for success once the regular-season starts.

Instead, Favre is going to have to go into hurry up mode in getting prepared for the 2009 season. He looked rusty against the Chiefs, completing 1 of 4 passes for 4 yards. That came as no surprise given that he hadn't participated in actual game-like action since the end of last season when he was with the New York Jets.

"I am probably more concerned right now with just getting my legs in shape," Favre said after the Chiefs game. "They are a little bit sore the last few days just from dropping back and just doing things that you just can't get until you start practicing. My arm is not in game shape. It is just hard to simulate."

Favre did spend the offseason throwing to a group of high school receivers in Hattiesburg, Miss., after undergoing surgery to repair the biceps tendon in his throwing arm. But that came with him wearing shorts and a T-shirt, a baseball cap, sun glasses and a wrist watch.

There were no shoulder pads and certainly no pass rush. Against the Chiefs, Favre took two hits, including one on his seventh and final play when linebacker Corey Mays came through untouched on a blitz.

Favre was able to get up from that hit, as he has so many times before. That doesn't mean there aren't going to be concerns about Favre's health.

He will turn 40 years old on Oct. 10 and in addition to having had surgery this offseason, he also revealed during his introductory news conference that he has a tear in the rotator cuff in his throwing arm.

How big of a factor that will be remains to be seen, but it would seem foolish to dismiss the injury, given Favre's age and how his arm bothered him in the second half of last season as the Jets struggled to a 1-4 finish during his one year in New York.

NOTES

  • After making his debut as a Viking, QB Brett Favre was asked what it felt like coming onto the field wearing purple instead of Packers' green and gold.

    "It felt a little odd after so many years of being on the other side," Favre said. "I thought it was a welcome reception [by the crowd]. I know in the long run it will be judged by wins and losses. I am well aware of that. This is a tough place to play. It's nice to be on the other side."

  • The Vikings did not have a Favre biography in their media guide, but they have issued one that runs 12 pages.

  • Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and his brother and team president, Mark Wilf, went to Hattiesburg, Miss., Aug. 18 to pick up Favre in their private plane and bring him back to the Twin Cities. Still, despite all the excitement, Zygi Wilf said the past week wasn't his most exciting as the team's owner.

    "I tell you the most exciting week was when we won the division last year and hopefully we can build on that," said Wilf, who bought the team in 2005. "Like we always said, we want to make our team better and whoever we bring in, including Brett, I think our team will be better. So, we look forward to a great season and we want to repeat as division champs. We have a lot to look forward to and a lot to fight for."

  • The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL added Tarvaris Jackson to the team's negotiation list giving the Blue Bombers exclusive rights to the player in that league should he be released by the Vikings.

  • Fox is scheduled to air the Vikings' first three regular-season games. A network spokesman said Favre's presence will cause Fox to look into sending the Vikings' games to more areas of the country, but none of the three noon starts will be moved to later in the day.

  • The Vikings' recruitment of Brett Favre this spring and summer included more than the offensive staff. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the team's assistant head coach, admitted he also visited Favre in the Hattiesburg area. Frazier also has family in Mississippi.

  • DE Jared Allen on whether Favre has any work to do in the locker room after missing the first two weeks of training camp: "I don't think so. Let's be honest. The guy has been doing this a long time at a very high level. If we're all sitting in Miami waiting to go on [the field] for the Super Bowl, do you think anybody will really care that he wasn't here in July? I don't think so."

  • DE Jared Allen suffered an ankle injury in practice on Aug. 17 and missed the Vikings' exhibition game against his former team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Allen is expected to play on Aug. 31 in Houston.

  • WR Bernard Berrian missed the Vikings' second preseason game, a week after injuring his hamstring in the exhibition opener against the Indianapolis Colts. Berrian is expected to play in the Vikings' third preseason game, which will be Aug. 31 in Houston.

  • WR Percy Harvin, the Vikings' first-round pick, made his debut in the Vikings' second preseason game after missing the opener because of a shoulder injury. Harvin caught two passes for 9 yards and also returned two kickoffs for a 26.5-yard average.

  • WR Jaymar Johnson continues to get the majority of work on punt returns and appears set to have that job entering the season.

  • CB Benny Sapp continues to get the first-team work with the defense in the nickel package, and it looks as if he will keep that job heading into the regular season. Sapp finished last season as part of the nickel defense.

  • NT Pat Williams hasn't played in either of the Vikings' preseason games, but it's believed that coach Brad Childress is simply resting the veteran. Williams is entering his 13th NFL season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's special. I've been watching the guy since I was in elementary school. To be able to be on the same team with him and for him to bring that passion that he plays with, he's just a good guy, funny guy, he's a good teammate." - RB Adrian Peterson on getting the chance to play with Brett Favre.


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