Packers savoring thoughts of sacking Favre

The buildup is beginning. Players will be talking in earnest to the media Thursday, but a few Packers were getting an early start and talking with confidence about going up against Brett Favre and the Vikings.

A war of words hadn't escalated as of midweek, but plenty of time still remains before kickoff Monday night at the Metrodome for the most-anticipated game in the 49-year history of the border rivalry between the Packers and the Minnesota Vikings to really go over the top.

Wednesday is normally the day in an NFL team's week of getting ready for a game when the most chatter and buzz comes out of a locker room.
Not so this week with the Packers and the Vikings. Both teams didn't practice Wednesday and instead waited until Thursday to go full throttle with on-field preparations for this extraordinary matchup, which has evolved into much more than 3-0 Minnesota's trying to preserve its first-place standing in the NFC North against 2-1 Green Bay.

Brett Favre is the central figure.

A little more than a year after being characterized as a provocateur when the Packers' legendary quarterback played his way out of Green Bay in a bitter divorce with the team after 17 years, Favre gets his first shot to assume the role of antagonist against his former employer.

As much as Favre downplays his intentions for coming out of retirement a second straight year and fulfilling a wish to suit up for the Vikings this season, there's no denying cutting comments he made last year that he wanted to "stick it" to Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

Now, it's game on, with the hype building hour by hour, day by day this week.

"It's going to be a circus. We're just trying to be the ringleaders," smiling Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said.

While Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Vikings counterpart Brad Childress have been similarly trying to keep things low-key with their teams, some players are finding it difficult to not get caught up in the highly publicized moment.

"It's personal for Brett. It's personal for us," Vikings right guard Anthony Herrera said. "(And) they're going to come after him."

Packers center/guard Jason Spitz confirmed the latter sentiment on his weekly Tuesday night show he co-hosts with fellow lineman Daryn Colledge on Green Bay's WBAY-TV.

"It's one of those things you're told to be smart about what you say," Spitz said. "We understand who we're playing. We understand who the quarterback is. It's been televised for months. I think it's one of those things that nothing needs to be said. We understand what we're getting into; we understand the severity of the game."

In turn, Spitz uttered, "Yeah, I want to see him get hit in the mouth," which elicited loud cheers from a live audience of Packers fans.

Colledge also didn't hold back on the show with his thoughts about facing his former teammate and the other guys in purple.

"We've had a lot of success against this team (5-1 in last six meetings)," Colledge said. "If anybody expects us to go in there and lay down, they've got another thing coming. There's going to be a fight. It's going to be exciting. It'll be great football."

As a resident spokesman for the defense that will be directly going against Favre, Barnett acknowledged guys will have No. 4 - now in the previously unthinkable role as the enemy - on their radars Monday.

"I'm looking forward to all hits," Barnett said. "It's going to be fun. I'd love to have a sack. We all know that. Everyone wants to get a sack. It doesn't matter who it is right there."

SERIES HISTORY: 96th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 49-45-1. Green Bay is 5-1 against NFC North rival Minnesota since Mike McCarthy was hired as Packers coach and Brad Childress as Vikings coach in 2006. The Vikings' lone win in that span came in the teams' last meeting, by a score of 28-27 in Minneapolis last Nov. 9. The Packers have won four of their last six games at the Metrodome. The only postseason matchup occurred in an NFC wild-card playoff game during the 2004 season, a 31-17 Vikings win at Green Bay.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3.8 — Average points differential in the outcome of the last six meetings between the Packers and the Vikings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Green Bay won four of those games by a combined 19 points, and Minnesota prevailed in the other two contests by an aggregate four points.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That stuff happens. He played a lot of years in Green Bay and was loved. Obviously, Minnesota is like the No. 1 rival, besides the Bears, so it's hard for them to adjust to it. You can't blame them. They were in love with Brett Favre, and then he dumped them and went with another chick. So, they're a little heartbroken." — Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett on Packers fans who have turned on former longtime quarterback Brett Favre for coming out of retirement a second time and joining the archrival Minnesota Vikings this season.


  • SS Atari Bigby is expected to miss a third straight game. The starter suffered a severe knee sprain in the season opener.

  • S Derrick Martin likely will fill the void for Bigby for a second consecutive game. Martin wasn't officially a starter in Sunday's game at the St. Louis Rams, since the Packers opened the game in a new 3-5 front with only one safety. Martin rotated in as the second safety in nickel situations.

  • LB Brandon Chillar had his first start of the season Sunday as the extra fifth linebacker and played the majority of the snaps against the Rams since he also filled his regular role in the nickel package. Chillar likely would be in the starting lineup again Monday should the Packers stay with their novel eight-man "Big Okie" front to counteract the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson, the NFL's top rusher.

  • RB Brandon Jackson is doubtful to return this week after he aggravated a high ankle sprain in practice last week. Jackson hasn't played since suffering the injury in the Aug. 28 preseason game.

  • LB Jeremy Thompson didn't play Sunday because of knee inflammation that cropped up late last week. Thompson, a contributor on special teams the first two games, also has been classified as doubtful to practice this week.

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