Monday night's game is expected to be intense and pretty evenly matched. It might be offer Brett Favre an opportunity to put the Packers on his list of fourth-quarter fatalities.
Those who questioned why the Vikings acquired Brett Favre
after the Mankato portion of training camp likely got their answer last Sunday when he drove the Vikings down the field in the final minute of the game for a victory. But, as the Packers come to town, he may be able to add them to his list of fourth-quarter comeback victims, which is a pretty deep one.
The teams that Favre has fashioned a comeback against in the fourth quarter or overtime is an equal opportunity list that includes San Francisco, New England, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Oakland, Chicago, New Orleans, Cincinnati and even the Los Angeles Rams.
But no team felt the wrath of Favre more than the Vikings, who have been victimized a whopping eight times from 1999 to 2007. There was a touchdown pass to Corey Bradford with 12 second to play to win 23-20 in 1999. There was the improbable catch by Antonio Freeman in overtime on a Monday night game for a 26-20 overtime win in 2000. There was a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns turning a 14-10 deficit into a 24-13 win in 2001. There was a touchdown with 1:06 to play in a 26-22 win in 2002. There was a nine-play, 73-yard drive that sparked a 30-27 comeback win at the Metrodome in 2003. There was a Ryan Longwell
field goal as time expired for a 34-31 win in 2004. The same score and the same result came a month later as Favre brought the Packers back from a 24-21 deficit to win 34-31 as time expired at the Metrodome. There was a fourth-quarter drive that ended with 1:34 to play in 2006 in a 9-7 Packers win.
All in all, nobody has felt the sting of Favre's late-game heroics more than the Vikings. In contrast, of his 43 comeback wins, only one has come against Chicago – while eight was enough against the Vikings. If the Vikings are going to win the NFC North, it likely will require them beating Green Bay at least once. The best part of the rivalry now is that Favre can't hurt the Vikings anymore and might be able to add the Packers to his long list of fourth-quarter comeback victims.
The final injury report lists guard Steve Hutchinson, who has started 105 straight games, as questionable with a back injury. Return man Darius Reynaud (hamstring) and linebacker Erin Henderson (calf) are both listed as doubtful. Fullback Naufahu Tahi (back) is listed as questionable.
For Green Bay, offensive tackle Chad Clifton is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier in the week that Clifton wouldn't play if he didn't practice and he was unable to practice all week. Safety Atari Bigby (knee), linebacker Jeremy Thompson (knee) and running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) are all listed as out. Five others – WR Greg Jennings, CB Charles Woodson and defensive linemen Cullen Jenkins, Johnny Jolly and rookie B.J. Raji – are all listed as probable to play Monday.
It is expected that if Reynaud can't play Monday, Bernard Berrian will be asked to return punts. In practice this week, Berrian, Percy Harvin, Jaymar Johnson and Greg Lewis all took turns returning punts.
The Browns placed running back James Davis on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Fans may remember that Davis was knocked out the Week 1 game against the Vikings when he was laid out by Antoine Winfield. The Browns tried to keep him on the active roster, but, when his situation didn't improve, he was placed on I.R. – ending his 2009 season.
Starting with Monday's game, fans will be able to buy portable radios that will allow them to hear the game on the Vikings Radio Network in real time without the standard delay. The radios cost $20 and will start being sold inside and the outside the Metrodome.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this hot topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.