Although the NFC North implications of this game are as significant as it can get for a Week 8 contest, I submit to you that the #1 storyline this week leading up to Sunday’s Vikings-Packers game will be QB Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau Field. And that’s not really going out on a limb, I realize that.
We all know the background – Favre called Lambeau home for 16 years, won 3 MVPs, won a Super Bowl and broke every significant passing record. Then the ugly divorce, a trade to New York and now his union with the Vikings. Sunday will mark Favre’s homecoming to Lambeau and the Packers would love nothing more than to send him home with a loss.
And Favre, being the competitor that he is and having the pride that he has (and should have), would love nothing more than to march into Lambeau with his teammates and win in the face of the venom that will be spewed in his direction. But with all the emotion that he’ll feel, with the tension and anticipation that will be palpable, and with the pressure that will mount, I think Favre will play his game and won’t fly off the handle in Lambeau.
I point to his body of work this season as reason why Favre won’t alter his approach or mode of operation for this highly-anticipated game at Lambeau. Let me explain…
His 1st game after signing with the Viking was a preseason contest at home against Kansas City. He was 1 for 4, had no turnovers and handled everything smoothly.
His 1st regular season game with the Vikings was a road game at Cleveland. He wasn’t trying to be Superman. A simple 14 of 21 for 110 yards, 1 TD and no INTs.
The home opener – Favre was everything the Vikings needed, going 24 of 46 for 301 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT (on a tipped pass). That was the dramatic, game-winning TD toss to Greg Lewis. Yes, it was dramatic, but Favre didn’t have an out-of-body experience where he deviated from the game plan and played like a maverick. He took the game as it came to him and did what his team needed him to do – nothing more, nothing less.
Game #1 against the Packers. Just as this week will progress, the week leading up to that game was just as hyped. His 1st game against his former team, on Monday Night Football, as the leader of an undefeated team. Once again, Favre was what his team needed. Calm, collected and efficient, going 24 of 31 for 271 yards and 3 TDs, with no INTs and a 135.3 passer rating.
With all of that as evidence, I see no reason to believe Favre will alter his approach this week, or have an out-of-body experience on Sunday where he tries to be the hero and deviates from the game plan.
Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress, who is always cognizant of when one of his players goes up against a former team or plays a game in his home town, indicated on Monday that he’s not concerned about Favre altering his approach, even subconsciously, for this game.
“I am sure that there will be a lot made of it,” Childress said. “But he’s weathered the one event and I know that he’ll prepare just like he prepared for them four weeks ago.”
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