Could a “wimpy” injury put an end to Brett Favre’s NFL record of 289 consecutive starts? Not likely, but that inquiry wasn’t completely discounted Wednesday at Winter Park.
Even Favre played along with the possibility.
“Yeah, it would be a consideration,” he said. “… I’ll be smart about it as the week progresses. I need to work on the timing, obviously. But to what extent? Spending a lot of film time. I was over here last night and spent a lot of one-on-one time with Randy.”
Favre – known for his competitive fire, ironman NFL streak and ability to play through physical and emotional struggles – would seem unlikely to miss a game for an injury that he once considered “wimpy.” However, he learned from experience that tendinitis can be more painful than he thought. He missed training camp one year because of it.
“Prior to that, if you would have told me tendinitis would keep me out, I would have laughed at you because I always looked at it as that’s kind of a wimpy injury,” he said. “It was painful, very painful. And for people who have had it, lifting things is a problem. Throwing 50 yard bombs is even tougher.”
But the Vikings offense is just showing signs of life, and Favre wants to be a part of that. He threw his 500th touchdowns pass – and his first one to Randy Moss – on Monday night, repositioning the bar for quarterback longevity and accomplishments once again.
“Throwing that touchdown to Randy, that felt good. I knew we needed that big-time. We needed a spark and we got a flame at that point. I want to be a part of that,” Favre said. “I think there’s really good things to come. OK, it’s not the start it was last year, but this team is very capable and I think it’s wide open in this league.”
The Vikings are 1-3 and looking up at the 4-1 Chicago Bears and 3-2 Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. But after throwing only two touchdown passes in his first three games this year, Favre and the passing game came to life in the second half of Monday night’s game with three touchdowns – one to newcomer Moss and two to Percy Harvin.
“He had enough velocity to make a couple of great throws that he made to Percy and obviously enough of a touch to throw a high, arching ball to Randy,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said. “Why we struggled with some of the underneath stuff, that’s kind of hard to say.”
Favre said he really started to feel the pain from the elbow in the last three or four drives of the game and could be seen clutching his elbow after a couple of throws.
He said the pain hasn’t gotten any worse or better in the last few weeks, and he has taken to stimulus, icing and other precautions in an attempt to accelerate the recovery. He has also worn a brace in practices and was limiting his reps, trying to make up for it with more meeting time with his receivers. He said one of the benefits is that he is learning where Moss wants the ball on certain routes.
“The most important thing with it is rest. I could sit out all week and play Sunday, but I need the reps,” he said.
At the start of Wednesday’s practice, he was limited to handing off to the running backs while backups Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb worked with receivers in the passing game.
Childress wouldn’t completely discount the possibility of needing to play Jackson in the future, but it doesn’t appear to be an immediate probability.
“You’re always considering. You’re always taking information and seeing what’s best for the greater good,” Childress said.
Favre said the throwing elbow had some inflammation and “puffiness” after Monday night’s game and the pain was more prominent in the final drives, but he also said he was confident in where he was at physically.
“You can’t sit here and make excuses,” he said. “I can play better. I will play better.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.