Favre doesn't feed the storyline

Brett Favre is well aware of the hype that will be surrounding his return to Lambeau Field, but he didn't fuel the fervor with his comments Wednesday. There will always be haters, but he can't control that, he said.

Brett Favre did his best to downplay the emotions of heading back to Lambeau Field wearing a Vikings jersey for the first time. As much as the team may try to play cool on the sideline intrigue, using clichés like it's 1/16th of their schedule, few are buying that this matchup between the Vikings and Packers doesn't mean more.

Division rivalry. Shuffling for position in the NFC North. And, oh yeah, Favre, Favre, Favre, Favre (four times for good measure).

With a 3:15 p.m. start, Packers fans will have plenty of time "discuss" amongst themselves in the parking lots and local businesses the ways they can welcome their former hero back to their heartland.

"You know, it's OK to pull for your team, I guess. But I can't make anyone cheer or boo or whatever," Favre said. "It's the game of football. It is what it is this year. It's a big game for a lot of reasons, but from the standpoint of playing there with another team is obviously something new to me. Being welcomed and all that stuff for so many years was special, and will always be special, but my focus is on winning this game, however we have to do that."

Favre said he doesn't think about the reception he'll receive as much as people might think, but he believes he'll receive a mixture of both jeers and cheers.

Packers receiver Donald Driver agreed with that sentiment.

"You have Brett Favre fans and you have Packer fans. … Your true fans are going to be true fans in all situations," Driver said. "… Most likely, the Packer fans will probably boo him."

Driver believes that the fans who might boo Favre will also accept him with cheers when he is eventually invited back to Lambeau Field, whenever the organization decides to retire his jersey.

But first Favre would have to retire – for good. Right now, he's more concerned with helping the Vikings win, something they did in his first game against the Packers on Oct. 5 in the Metrodome.

In that 30-23 Vikings win, Favre completed 24 of 31 passes for 271 yards, three touchdown and no interceptions. His 135.3 passer rating was his best in his first four games with the team.

"Being nervous and having anxiety and things like that I don't think can be a plus when you're in a decision-making role," Favre said. "But in that (first meeting with the Packers or playing after his father died), I don't know how it was done. And there was other games. The first Super Bowl I played in, I almost forgot all the plays we were running I was so excited."

Favre knows there are people that used to cheer for him who will always stick by the Packers. He is well aware of the passion on both side of fandom. When it comes down to it, he is aware he can't control that anymore. He made the move to sign with the Vikings and is accepting the consequences, good and bad.

"The people that have jumped ship or whatever completely, what can I do? And I'm not going to concern myself with it, because we have gotten a lot of letters and responses from people, not just this year, but the last couple years, very supportive, still very supportive of the Packers." he said.

"So, there was always Brett Favre haters out there. And that will never change. I really and truly don't think about it that much. Because I know once again what I've done, what I was a part of, and I'm proud of that, and I think that speaks for itself.

His first outing against his former team went well. He admitted afterwards that he was very nervous and delayed his warm-ups in order to avoid the media and fan circus before the game.

Going back to Lambeau Field could be an even bigger event. He was part of a group of players in the early 1990s that helped bring the Packers back into championship mode by the middle of the decade, winning Super Bowl XXXI following the 1996 season – the first Super Bowl title for the Packers in 29 years. They returned to the Super Bowl the following year but lost to Denver.

Despite all of his success in Lambeau Field, he has been booed there before. But Sunday the furor could be taken to new heights.

"I played a lot, but there was some times where we struggled and that was kind of a kick in the stomach hearing those boos," he said.

Favre was asked about the mail he received this week and joked that he checks to make sure there isn't any ticking coming from the envelopes or white powder on them. He said only two family members will be attending the game at Lambeau Field.

"I heard that we booked 40 rooms or something, but I'm way too cheap for that. And the people who know me know he's telling the truth," he said.

But all joking aside, every player and coach has tried to steer the matchup on Sunday back to being a divisional rival, not one predicated on a legend returning to the place he helped build and that helped build him.

"The way they're playing, the way we're playing, both teams are vying obviously for the No. 1 spot (in the division). That's the only thing that's important, to be quite honest with you. There's always a chance you lose, just as much as you win," Favre said.

"I'm well aware of the stuff that goes along with it, but I can't let that affect me or creep into our team. We have to focus on the job at hand. That's truly what my focus is."


  • Vikings coach Brad Childress said he thought Favre was more nervous for his first preseason game with the Vikings than he was in the first Vikings-Packers matchup this year. "I thought he did a great job keeping whatever emotions he may have had in check," Childress said of the Oct. 5 matchup.

  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy thinks the first meeting helped everyone get adjusted to the atmosphere that could surround Lambeau Field. "I don't think it can get much larger than it was on Monday Night Football, so we feel we have an experience to draw from," McCarthy said. "… I think our fans in Green Bay are first-class and I think they'll do what they think is appropriate."

  • WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), LB E.J. Henderson (knee), CB Antoine Winfield (foot) and DT Jimmy Kennedy (not injury related) did not practice on Wednesday. Favre (hip), LB Jasper Brinkley (hamstring), LB Ben Leber (calf), CB Karl Paymah (quad), WR Darius Reynaud (hamstring) and FB Naufahu Tahi (knee) were limited.

  • For the Packers, RB Korey Hall (calf) and WR Jordy Nelson (knee) have already been ruled out. TE Jermichael Finley (knee), S Derrick Martin (hamstring), OL Jason Spitz (back) and OL Scott Wells (not injured) did not participate. T Chad Clifton (ankle), LB Clay Matthews (jaw), QB Aaron Rodgers (foot), T Mark Tauscher (knee), CB Charles Woodson (hip) and DE Jarius Wynn (hamstring) were limited for GB.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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