Favre on pace for career year

At 40 years old, Brett Favre is having a career year in a couple of key quarterbacking statistics – interceptions and passer rating. He discusses a few reasons why and spreads the credit around.

Brett Favre is on pace for a career year in a couple of key quarterbacking statistics and is spreading the credit around like he disperses his passes.

In his first year with the Vikings, Favre is on pace to throw only six interceptions this season. His previous career low was 13, but it's been since 1996 since he threw even that few.

So why the suddenly low interception total? He said there are a number of reasons.

"It goes without saying that the running game sets up a lot of things … that's not to say that we're going to rush for 2,000 yards. It gives you some matchups that otherwise you wouldn't get," Favre said.

He also credited the players around him, citing a throw in the Green Bay game that could have been intercepted when he lofted a pass deep down the middle of the field for Percy Harvin. Instead of becoming Favre's fourth interception of the season, Harvin leaped up for the catch as three Green Bay defenders fell to the ground and ran the remaining distance to the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown.

"The decision to throw the ball down the middle to Percy against Green Bay, it was not the best of decisions," Favre said. "It was good initially, but I was kind of late throwing it down there and I thought when I let it go that I was going to allow the safeties (to get there), which I did. It was kind of freaky how it turned out, but Percy made me look good and turned what could have been a bad decision into a great play. Things like that have obviously helped. The guys have bailed me out tremendously on certain plays."

Vikings coach Brad Childress said two of Favre's three interceptions were on tipped passes. One of those turned into a crucial fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown against Pittsburgh – the Vikings' only loss of the season – when a screen pass bounced off the hands of running back Chester Taylor and into the hands of linebacker Keyaron Fox, who returned the pick 82 yards for a touchdown.

Favre is currently second in the league with a 106.0 passer rating, with NFL leader Drew Brees only one-tenth of a rating point ahead of him. It is the best passer rating of Favre's career. His previous career best was 99.5, in 1995 with the Packers.

He is also on pace for 32 touchdown passes, which would be as many as he's thrown since 1997. His career best was 39 in 1996, but he hasn't made more than 35 touchdowns since then.

Favre's efficient performances have been key to the team's 7-1 start.

"7-1 is definitely very acceptable. … It seems like the better you do, the expectations get higher," he said. "I'm very pleased with where we are, but the expectations will continue to get higher, not only internally but from everyone else. I consider that a good thing."

All the while, the 40-year-old continues to deal with injuries while working his way through his 19th NFL season.

He isn't expecting the groin injury he suffered in practice two weeks ago to affect his playing status, but it became a topic of conversation at his weekly press conference.

For the three full practices leading up to the Vikings-Packers game, Favre was listed as limited by a "hip" injury. After that game, he told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that he aggravated the injury in pregame warm-ups and wasn't sure how much he'd be able to play.

All Favre did was go out and throw for 244 yards, four touchdown and amass a 128.6 passer rating against his former team at Lambeau Field.

"I think I'll be fine. (A groin injury) is something that's new for me. I've always said you have to have muscles to pull them. Either that's a sign of old age or I've developed muscles for the first time in my career," he joked. "It was a concern for the game. I made it through with a week's rest. I think I'll be fine. But I'm not going to make a bigger issue than it is. It's kind of a new thing to me. I played 18-some-odd years and to not have anything like that, that probably worried me more than anything."

Favre holds the NFL record with 277 consecutive starts, so it's doubtful a groin injury that he played through two weeks ago would sideline him Sunday against the Detroit Lions. He even joked about how the injury happened.

"I'd like to say it was in a full-tackling drill, but it was a lot less than that. It was really just a half walk-through rolling out to the right. It's like when you wake up in the morning and you're putting your shoes on and your back gives out for no apparent reason. That's kind of what it was," he said.

"When I did it actually here on Wednesday (two weeks ago), right away went in, wrapped it up and started getting treatment, so limited in practice. I didn't even push it until Sunday. I kind of went through the motions and thought when I went out in pregame it'll be fine. So once I just kind of turned it loose in pregame, was dropping back is when I kind of felt it aggravate again. I'm like, 'Oh, boy.' Because it's hard enough getting stretch plays out to Adrian (Peterson) on two good legs or having to move around in the pocket or make some plays that I know I may attempt."

While Favre was limited in Wednesday's practice, he wasn't sure how much he would be able to play against the Packers on Nov. 1 four days after he initially injured the groin. He even alerted backup Tarvaris Jackson to be ready to play.

"There have been other times in my career where I thought, 'I don't know if I can play with a broken thumb but I'm going to try it at least first.' I was just concerned," Favre said. "I didn't want to have to go into the game every drive or leave the huddle and say, 'I have to play a little bit cautious this way or I hope I can get this handoff out there.' And it bothered me through the game, but not as much as I thought it might."

NOTES

  • Favre (hip), LB E.J. Henderson (knee), CB Antoine Winfield (foot) and WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring) were limited in Wednesday's practice.

  • LB Jasper Brinkley (hamstring) and WR Darius Reynaud (hamstring) participated fully. Reynaud, the Vikings' punt returner in the first three games, has missed the last five games with his hamstring injury and was limited in practice all week leading up to the Packers game.

  • For the Lions, LB Larry Foote (knee), LB Ernie Sims (hamstring) and DE Dewayne White (toe) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. DT Joe Cohen (ankle), LB Jordon Dizon (neck), FB Jerome Felton (ankle), DE Jason Hunter (knee), DT Grady Jackson (knee) and QB Matthew Stafford (knee) were limited. WR Calvin Johnson (knee) participated fully.

  • The Vikings-Bears game at the Metrodome on Nov. 29 has been moved to a 3:15 p.m. Central start, according to Vikings.com. It was originally scheduled to be a noon kickoff.


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