Brett Favre's NFL-record starting streak, built mostly with the Green Bay Packers, could be coming to end after losing for the first time to the Green Bay Packers.
Vikings coach Brad Childress announced at Monday's press conference that Favre has two fractures in his left ankle, the same one he had surgery on in May to remove scar tissue and bone spurs. Favre had an MRI on the ankle and does not need surgery.
He was in a walking boot Monday and Childress wouldn't rule him out for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, but it's clear that Favre's 291-game consecutive starts streak is in question.
"Once he's functional, he can play," Childress said. "As you know, he's had ankle and heel problems for a long time, so that walking boot makes him a little bit more comfortable and I wouldn't rule anything out in terms of the end of the week. Don't really have a time framework on it."
According to Childress, one of the fractures is an avulsion fracture, which is where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. Favre said after Sunday night's 28-24 loss to the Packers that the injury happened when linebacker Brad Jones tackled Favre from behind as he was throwing the first of his three interceptions.
Favre has missed practice time the last few weeks because of tendinitis in the elbow, but he said a five-round series of injections in his ankle ended a few weeks ago. Although surgery will not be needed after this latest ankle injury, Favre's practice time will clearly be curtailed, if he practices at all this week.
"You can't practice if you can't move," Childress said. "He obviously has a feel for the system. My experience, though, is most players need to practice."
Favre has been sacked 14 times and hit numerous other times this year, but his protection appeared to be better against the Packers. He was sacked only once in that game, but he still is one of the lowest rated quarterbacks in the league this year.
He is ranked 30th with a 68.0 passer rating, 32nd in interception percentage with 10 and 25th in completion percentage (58.1). After throwing only seven interception all of last year, Favre has 10 this season to go with four lost fumbles.
If Favre can't play, the Vikings would turn to former starter Tarvaris Jackson.
"I feel like I've improved a lot in the last year and half watching Brett," Jackson said. "I feel like I've come a long way, probably the farthest I've come from year to year, even though I didn't play a whole lot. Probably the farthest I've come from year to year over my whole career, so I feel great about the opportunity. I feel good."
Childress said Favre needs to be able to protect himself to be able to play.
"He's got to be able to all the things that the position does," Childress said. "You can't put a guy that's a sitting duck out there. His competitive nature I'm sure will come into it, but a lot of times you have to protect people from themselves. Really, I'm taking it day by day. He's got great pain threshold and also great competitive zeal."
However, Childress said he wouldn't let Favre's NFL record streak of starts factor into his decision on whether or not Favre plays.
"We have to do what's right for the Minnesota Vikings. That's what I get charged with at the end of the day," Childress said. "I'm not worried about somebody getting one more start or one more yard to equal 300. I think the picture will clear itself up as we go forward."
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.
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