Brett Favre (Al Pereira/Getty)
While many people wrote off Brett Favre being able to start this week after suffering a stress fracture in his ankle and an avulsion fracture in heel, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said he would be surprised if Favre doesn’t play for the first time in 292 games. Plus, get the injury updates and other notes from Thursday at Winter Park.
As Brett Favre started walking around the Winter Park practice facility without his walking boot attached to his left leg, people were still searching for answers on whether or not he would be playing Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has seen Favre survive numerous injuries without missing a start. Bevell was the quarterbacks coach with the Green Bay Packers from 2000-05 and saw Favre endure tendinitis, foot sprains, ligament sprains in his knee, hamstring strains and concussions, but a broken thumb was the most impressive for Bevell.
That’s why he would be surprised to see Favre miss a start for the first time in 292 games.
“Surprising would probably be a good word. He’s never not been out there so it would probably be a surprise,” Bevell said. “I was there when he broke the thumb. Immediately the doctor said we’ve got to pin it and you’re going to be out six to eight weeks. In his mind, he said, ‘Wait a minute. I just played really well because we didn’t know it was broken.’ He played well in the game. He said, ‘Well, I’m going to give it a shot.’ He played well, so it would surprise me if he wasn’t able to be out there.”
Favre joked that equipment managers were screwing cleats into the bottom of his boot.
Bevell said the decision on whether or not Favre plays will be between the quarterback and the head coach. Vikings coach Brad Childress said Favre didn’t do any throwing yet and just watched some of practice Thursday afternoon.
“He’s been a little better every day. Whether it's good enough to play in an NFL football game remains to be seen,” Childress said after Thursday’s practice.
The fact is that Favre hadn’t been playing well even before the injury. He is accountable for 14 of the team’s 15 turnovers. He has 10 interceptions through six games in addition to four lost fumbles. Those 14 turnovers have resulted in 54 points, an average of nine points per game.
The Vikings’ four losses have been by an average of 5.5 points, with three of them by five or fewer points.
Despite some people looking at Randy Moss as a culprit on one of the interceptions, Bevell said the interceptions against the Packers were Favre’s fault.
“I wouldn’t put it on the receivers for that. Coach talked a lot about the one that he threw to (Desmond) Bishop,” Bevell said, referring to Childress’ comments saying that play was supposed to go to the other side of the field. “Percy was on the other side on that one. On the one where (Nick) Collins jumped over the top, I think we could have been looking somewhere else there as well.”
On the other end of the spectrum are the Patriots, who forced four turnovers against the Chargers and didn’t turn the ball over once themselves, the second time the Patriots have had a plus-4 turnover margin this season and the 15th time they’ve done that in their last 10 seasons, according to Elias Sport Bureau.
Favre was the only Viking that didn’t practice at all, although several were limited Thursday, including G Steve Hutchinson (quadriceps), OL Chris DeGeare (ankle), DT Letroy Guion (hamstring), CB Lito Sheppard (hand), C John Sullivan (calf) and DT Pat Williams (quad).
Safety Husain Abdullah (concussion) and CB Chris Cook (knee) were full participants once again. Childress said Abdullah hasn’t shown any signs this week of the concussion he suffered Oct. 17.
“You wouldn’t think he’s missed a beat or missed a step, football wise or conditioning wise, anything,” Childress said. “I saw him early this morning in practice. Had a good talk with him. He feels great and he looks fine.”
For the Patriots, RB Fred Taylor (toe), DE Mike Wright (knee) and S Jarrad Page (calf) didn't participate. S Patrick Chung (knee), WR Matthew Slater (ankle) and WR Deion Branch (hamstring) were limited. DT Vince Wilfork was back to full go after getting Wednesday off.
Special teams coordinator Brian Murphy said his specialists would go through a more extensive warmup before Sunday afternoon’s game because they aren’t familiar with the weather conditions in Foxboro Stadium.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier confirmed that Abdullah will be starting.
Frazier said linebacker Chad Greenway , who leads the Vikings with 65 sacks, is playing at a Pro Bowl level. “I think he is a Pro Bowl linebacker. His ability to run with tight ends, to make the big plays that he’s making now, if he can continue to come up with some turnovers that will be the next step for him,” Frazier said. “From a linebacker standpoint, he is doing everything you could ask of a linebacker. To me he is a Pro Bowl linebacker.”
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.