Randle among Favre supporters

Soon to be Hall of Famer John Randle spent nine years chasing Brett Favre from opposites sides of the old NFC Central. But count Randle among the supporters of Favre moving over to the Vikings. Randle also was surprised to see the Saints' tactics in the NFC Championship and just as surprised they got away with them. See what Randle had to say about Favre and the NFC Championship inside.

The addition of Brett Favre last year turned off former quarterback Fran Tarkenton. The Vikings' first Hall of Fame player went on a radio rampage last summer dissecting the potential signing of Favre, saying it was wrong for the Vikings to want to add a long-time Packers icon and it was wrong for Favre to consider moving across the border.

Tarkenton's opinion was a minority view among ex-Vikings.

Even before Favre led the Vikings to a 12-4 record and the NFC Championship Game in January, he was receiving praise from some of Tarkenton's ex-teammates. Former defensive end Jim Marshall, who some argue should also be in the Hall of Fame, was at the Metrodome to congratulate Favre on breaking his games-started record, and Marshall's praise wasn't just window dressing.

"I congratulated him and told him what a wonderful ballplayer I thought he was and what an asset he's been to the National Football League. His longevity and everything he's done exemplified how we felt about this game," Marshall said.

"I think he loves the game – he's tough, he's resilient. He's just a great player. … I don't think you can compare him to anybody. He's very unique."

Several other Vikings greats supported the once-controversial decision to sign Favre, and that list includes one of the guys that used to chase Favre around the football field in the 1990s. Former defensive lineman John Randle, who is just over five weeks away from officially being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, can be counted among the Favre supporters.

"I think it was a great addition. The guy has always been a great adversary against the Vikings, to where when we played against him, you know when you played against the Green Bay Packers, you knew you had to stop Favre," Randle told Viking Update last month while teeing off at the Vikings charity golf tournament.

Favre joined the Packers in 1992 and spent the next 16 years of his life building a Hall of Fame résumé himself. From Favre's first year in Green Bay until 2000, when Randle move on to play for the Seattle Seahawks, the two of them battled on the football field.

Randle said Favre brought a certain attitude change to the current cast of Vikings.

"Year after year, the receivers changed, but that No. 4 was always and still is the man to beat," Randle said. "Getting him, you could see that for the players' attitude, it gave them confidence. Confidence always (gives) you a guaranteed touchdown because you know you're going to get seven points. With Brett Favre, we already know we've got seven points going in."

Randle talks like he believes Favre will return to the Vikings for a 20th NFL season, but the quarterback's 19th season didn't end the way he would have liked. A heartbreaking overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game was a sour ending to an otherwise successful season.

Because if his similar experience in 1998, Randle can relate. It was then that Randle and a high-flying Vikings offense made it to the NFC Championship as prohibitive favorites … and fell to the Falcons in overtime.

Randle watched the latest NFC Championship and was surprised by the New Orleans Saints' approach and just as surprised that they got away with that tactic.

"I think it got really close. If you think about it, everyone was playing well. I think they went after the position we really didn't think they were going to after. They were going to go after Brett Favre," Randle said. "And the way they went after Brett. It pretty much looked like they took some hits that I think in the regular season they would have called those. Basically you could see that they were trying to hurt him."

For nine years, Randle was also trying to hit Favre, but he wasn't trying to hurt him. Like so many other ex-Vikings, he grew to respect Favre's competitive fire and hopes it will return to Minnesota's sideline for another season.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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