Will Favre return, and when?

Thursday provided something tangible to report on the Brett Favre front, but it still didn't answer the question has everyone has: Will he return? And if so, when? No one seems to know that for sure.

With training camp over, the big question facing the Vikings is the one that has been hanging over them all offseason – will Brett Favre return?

There have been signs pointing to a return, beginning with the ankle surgery Favre needed to play and his annual ritual of throwing passes in July and early August to high school football players. On Thursday, as the Vikings concluded training camp and Mankato, Favre was in the air – not heading to Minnesota to make a surprise appearance, but heading to Pensacola, Fla., to have a follow-up visit with Dr. James Andrews. Andrews has an office in Gulf Breeze, Fla., and NFL Network reported a plane flew that from Hattiesburg to Pensacola was the private plane of Bus Cook, Favre's agent.

Favre has claimed that his surgically repaired ankle hasn't responded as expected and the visit with Andrews may be critical to determining a game plan for his future plans.

Many believe that his decision to return is all but a forgone conclusion, but the fact that he flew to Florida to meet with Dr. Andrews gives more weight to believe that Favre remains undecided about his football future.

It is expected that Favre still has a couple of weeks to make his decision. The Vikings play their first two preseason games on the road and it's unlikely Favre will be with the team for either of those games. With the final two preseason games at the Metrodome, the potential is strong for Favre coming to the team, getting a couple of intensive weeks of practice in before the start of the regular season Sept. 9 at New Orleans.

There remains a significant faction of fans that believe Favre is just delaying his return to save on his body and hit the field full force when he does return. It's still speculation as to whether he is coming back or not, but the doctor visit is viewed as a positive sign that the countdown to Favre's return is coming in the next week or two.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings receiver corps continues to operate extremely shorthanded. Sidney Rice remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list and Brad Childress indicated his return is still a ways off. Percy Harvin remains out of practice and, on Thursday, the Vikings were granted a roster exemption because the team placed him on the "left squad" list.

  • As limited as the Rams are offensively, it might be even worse in their preseason opener. Running back Steven Jackson, the centerpiece of the Rams offense, is looking more and more unlikely to play Saturday as he recovers from offseason knee surgery.

  • In an interview on Chris Mortensen's bus at training camp, Jared Allen said that the Vikings need to know by the third preseason game whether Favre will return, out of fairness to Tarvaris Jackson. Allen, as much as any Viking, wants Favre back, but the team needs to know where the quarterbacking is coming from and that, while he can wait a long time to make his final call, the team needs to know at some point soon which one it is.

  • Ryan Longwell said he remains in contact with Favre daily and that he is still in the same mode – doing what he can to improve his ankle health in order to come back for a 20th season. Longwell said he still believes that Favre wants to return and is doing everything possible to make his return happen.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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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