Vikings-Packers: Downplaying the drama begins

Brett Favre will return to the town where he built his legend, but the Vikings are trying to downplay the atmosphere that is sure to surrounding Sunday's border rivalry in Lambeau Field.

Coming off their first loss of the season Sunday, the Vikings will get ready for what they will try to convince everyone is just another game.

Of course, it will be anything but that as Minnesota will face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The game will mark Brett Favre's first appearance in the stadium as a visitor.

Favre spent 16 seasons building a Hall of Fame résumé with the Packers before an ugly divorce ended with him being shipped to the New York Jets in the summer of 2008.

Favre landed with the Vikings in August when he ended his second attempt at retirement and signed with the Packers' archrival. So what type of reception is he going to receive? That's the million-dollar question, considering many in Wisconsin consider Favre to be a traitor and others remain loyal to him.

Asked if he will change anything going into this game, coach Brad Childress gave what is sure to be the response from everyone at Winter Park this week.

"It's just a divisional opponent that you're playing for the second time in a relatively close period of time," he said. "We have common opponents. They played Detroit and Cleveland, we played those same people back-to-back, and they had a bye. So in terms of evidence, there's only going to be a couple more games of evidence for us. Maybe three.

"But we know each other pretty well. I'm sure there will be a few different sprinkles. They aren't going to open in the wishbone or anything like that. They're going to use the players they feel they have and a little different match this time with the people we have."

Favre, whose Vikings dropped to 6-1 with a defeat at Pittsburgh, might be helped by the fact he already beat the Packers once this season, leading the Vikings to a 30-23 victory in a Monday night game this month at the Metrodome. Favre played it cool before that game but admitted afterward he was extremely nervous.

It's hard to believe there won't be some nerves at work again.

NOTES

  • Bernard Berrian had not been surprised by the play of fellow wide receiver Sidney Rice, who has had back-to-back 100-yard games.

    "Sidney has always been good. I think his problem was just being healthy and staying on the field," Berrian said. "Now that he's healthy and staying on the field, he put in a lot of work this offseason, and it's paying off for him."

  • Linebacker Ben Leber said the Vikings remain extremely upbeat despite being handed their first defeat.

    "We are 6-1," Leber said. "We have a tough game next week, on the road again. I think we learned a lot from being on the road here in a hostile environment. We'll take those lessons into next week, and I think we're going to put this game behind us pretty quickly and move onto Green Bay."

  • Wide receiver Sidney Rice didn't disagree that the Vikings were undisciplined at times Sunday in taking a season-high 11 penalties.

    "You can call it that," he said. "Everybody on this team is responsible and accountable, and that's just something we've got to get back to. I feel like self-inflicted wounds are the worst. We can't kill ourselves. We will continue to work on those things, try to get everything down and just continue to move on."

  • WR Bernard Berrian suffered what was believed to be a left hamstring injury Sunday and was getting treatment Monday afternoon. It's not known if Berrian is in jeopardy of missing Sunday's game at Green Bay.

  • QB Brett Favre said he felt OK after Sunday's game despite being sacked four times and thrown to the ground by LB James Harrison on the final play of the afternoon.

  • WR Percy Harvin continues to play despite continually aggravating a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago in St. Louis. Harvin re-injured the shoulder on Oct. 18 against Baltimore and took another big hit Sunday at Pittsburgh that made it difficult for him to take his shoulder pads off after the game.

  • WR Darius Reynaud's status remains uncertain. He hasn't played since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3, and it will be interesting to see if the Vikings try to get him back involved now that Bernard Berrian appears to be battling his own hamstring issue.

  • CB Antoine Winfield's right foot injury is expected to keep him out of at least another game, although he remains optimistic he can return this Sunday. If he sits out, he would have a three-week rest with the Vikings having their bye after Sunday.


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