Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favre Set to Sign With Vikings

Quarterback Brett Favre is expected to sign a contract Tuesday with the Minnesota Vikings to come out of retirement again and play for the team this season, according to sources familiar with the situation. Favre arrived at the Vikings' training complex after traveling to the Minneapolis area earlier in the day. He exited a plane at a St. Paul, Minn., airport and got into a waiting vehicle. He reportedly is to undergo a physical and, barring any unexpected snags, is to sign a deal that reportedly will pay him approximately $12 million this season. The contract reportedly contains an option for a second season. He could be on the practice field Wednesday and play in a preseason game Friday. Favre declined an invitation by the Vikings to report to training camp with them last month, saying at the time he wasn't certain that he could play a full season at this point in his career at a level of performance he considered satisfactory. Vikings Coach Brad Childress said at the time that the club would not renew its pursuit of Favre. But Favre also left open the possibility even then that he would change his mind if the Vikings called him during the season. It marks the second straight offseason that Favre has come out of retirement to resume his playing career. Favre's mother, Bonita, told the Biloxi Sun Herald that her son is expected to work out Wednesday and play in the Vikings' preseason game Friday at home against the Kansas City Chiefs."He is going," she told the newspaper. "I have mixed emotions, but I have always loved to watch him play. This time, however, I thought he would stay retired and stay home. I guess he could not do it. He told me he would always wonder, 'What if?' I told him I supported him. I think playing on Friday was part of the deal.... I hope he does not have to do as much. He should not have to throw as much with the good running back. That said, I hope he does not have to throw as much and try to make things happen like he usually does. They seem to have a good team in place and he liked that. I guess I need to get a Vikings jersey now." Childress confirmed earlier Tuesday to the Associated Press that Favre was traveling to Minneapolis and told the AP in an e-mail that the team would sign Favre later in the day "in a perfect world." WCCO-TV in Minneapolis first reported that Favre is expected to sign a contract Tuesday afternoon with the Vikings. WISN-TV in Milwaukee had reported earlier that Favre and his wife, Deanna, had boarded a plane with a Vikings logo on it in Hattiesburg, Miss., to travel to Minneapolis. The Vikings and Favre reportedly had a tentative contract agreement in place when Favre declined to report to training camp, telling Childress at the time that he would stay retired. That decision shocked many people within the NFL who had assumed that Favre would play for the Vikings this season. Favre underwent offseason surgery for the partially torn biceps tendon that plagued him last season while he was with the New York Jets, and he spent part of his summer working out with a high school team near his home in Mississippi. When Favre rejected the Vikings last month, he told ESPN: "It was the hardest decision I've ever made. I didn't feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable... I had to be careful not to commit for the wrong reasons. They were telling me, 'You went through all this, you had the surgery and you've got to finish it off.' But I have legitimate reasons for my decision. I'm 39 with a lot of sacks to my name." ESPN reported Tuesday that orthopedist James Andrews, who performed this summer's surgery on Favre, told Favre that the quarterback has a slight rotator cuff tear in his right shoulder. Even so, Favre decided to play again, and he reportedly met this week with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf as a precursor to Tuesday's trip to Minneapolis. Signing with the Vikings enables Favre, who turns 40 in October, to play two games this season against the Green Bay Packers, his longtime team that he left last summer after clashing with the club, and General Manager Ted Thompson in particular. The move perhaps also makes the Vikings a leading Super Bowl contender in the NFC. The team has a dynamic running back in Adrian Peterson, a solid offensive line and a capable defense. Favre is familiar with the Vikings' offensive system and their coaching staff, with previously existing relationships with Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Favre was friendly with Childress when Childress coached at the University of Wisconsin in the 1990s, and Bevell formerly was Favre's quarterbacks coach with the Packers. The Vikings reportedly were the team for which Favre wanted to play last season. But the Packers were unwilling then to permit him to play for a division rival and traded him instead to the Jets. Favre spent 16 seasons with the Packers before leaving the franchise unceremoniously last summer. He retired following a highly successful 2007 season in which he played well and the Packers reached the NFC title game before losing in overtime. The Packers made plans to move on with Aaron Rodgers as their starter at quarterback. Favre changed his mind and decided to continue playing but was at odds with Thompson and the organization over his proposed return, and the Packers traded him to the Jets. Favre was only the league's 21st-rated passer last season while with the Jets, throwing 22 interceptions to go with his 22 touchdown passes. He and the team played poorly down the stretch, and the Jets missed the playoffs and fired Eric Mangini as their coach. Several Jets players were publicly critical of Favre after the season. He announced another retirement this past offseason. But the Jets released him off their reserve-retired list following an NFL draft in which they traded up to select potential replacement Mark Sanchez, and Favre began toying with another return. Some in and around the league suspected even after Favre rejected the Vikings' offer to report to their training camp that Favre wasn't done playing, and the speculation about a return intensified Monday when Fox reported that many within the Minnesota organization, including players and coaches, remained convinced that Favre would play for the team this season. Favre has 65,127 career passing yards, with 464 touchdowns and 310 interceptions. He takes over as the Vikings' starter. Without Favre, the Vikings had planned to have Sage Rosenfels, obtained in an offseason traded with the Houston Texans, and Tarvaris Jackson compete for the starting job. The Vikings play the Packers at home on Oct. 5 and in Green Bay on Nov. 1.

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