The Vikings continue to say that quarterback Brett Favre will be a game-time decision after spraining the sternoclavicular joint in his throwing shoulder when blindsided on his first pass in Sunday’s 38-14 win over the Buffalo Bills. The hit knocked Favre out of the game and he hasn’t thrown a football since.
“He’s made some progress. He has a little more range of motion. I see him stretching and moving around. I think he’s obviously in some pain. Particularly sleeping I think is not very comfortable. … I have seen him progress a little bit,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said before Thursday’s practice.
“I think right now we need to see how much he can do and how much pain he can tolerate, if he can even do it at all.”
Favre was expected to practice Thursday, but the team had a change in plans after seeing him during the morning walkthrough. He didn’t do much during the early portion of practice open to the media. While Tarvaris Jackson, Joe Webb and R.J. Archer threw passes to receivers, Favre caught the return passes and pitched them underhanded to the quarterbacks.
Both Bevell and interim head coach Leslie Frazier said Favre would be a game-time decision. If he doesn’t start Sunday, it end his 297-game streak of consecutive starts.
Frazier would like to see Favre try to throw on Friday or Saturday before making a decision, but he acknowledged he wouldn’t necessarily rule out Favre until seeing him trying to throw before Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.
"That would be a tough one. We'd like to see him do something Friday or Saturday,” Frazier said. “But you know, we would take a look Sunday morning. If he's able to go out and throw the football, move around, it could end up being a game-time decision just because of what he's been able to do in the past. That scenario is still a possibility."
Last week, the Vikings waited until two hours before game time to decide on running back Adrian Peterson, who was recovering from a sprained ankle suffered the weekend before.
“The quarterback position is so different than an offensive lineman or a tailback, defensive linemen. Those guys could probably get away with this injury. Considering where it is, it's a little different because of that,” Frazier said, referring to Favre’s sprained shoulder.
“I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that it will work. Just hoping that things will be better tomorrow than they were today.”
RICE STILL PROGRESSING
Despite five catches for 105 yards Sunday for receiver Sidney Rice, he and Bevell say he’s still not 100 percent recovered from hip surgery in late August.
“I would agree with his assessment. I don’t think he’s all the way back. You can see in practice there are still things he can work on. He’s still working,” Bevell said. “He still gets a little bit of soreness.”
But Frazier said that having Rice’s ability to make the catch in traffic, as he did on a 31-yard touchdown last Sunday, helps the entire team.
“To have him back and make the type of plays he made on Sunday, it just makes our offense, our entire team, better, because now you can possess the football a little bit more and it just opens up some things in the run game, especially if they put more than one person over to where Sidney is,” Frazier said. “It'll make our run game even better. Having him back and having him back close to 100 percent is big for our entire team.”
HARVIN, OTHERS STILL OUT
Receiver Percy Harvin hasn’t practiced since Dec. 1. Frazier said he was at Winter Park on Monday and thought he was past the most recent migraine, but Harvin continues to deal with complications from his migraines and hasn’t been at Winter Park during the heavy installation days on Wednesday and Thursday.
Frazier said the team will take it slow with Harvin and he continues to look at his medical options.
“We’re considering some things, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens,” Frazier said.
Joining Favre and Harvin sitting out of practice were G Steve Hutchinson (thumb), CB Chris Cook (knee), DE Ray Edwards (ankle), WR Percy Harvin (migraines) and S Tyrell Johnson (knee).
Hutchinson practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday, but he sat out Thursday and is expected to test the fractured thumb again on Friday.
“He did OK (Wednesday), but we want to make sure that he’s confident as well in the things he has to do,” Frazier said. “They’ve got a pretty good defensive line, so tomorrow hopefully we can test it and push him a little more. But it’s going to be both a mental and physical thing, so we’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.”
Several Vikings were limited: QB Joe Webb (hamstring), RB Toby Gerhart (hamstring), RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) and Rice (hip).
Frazier said Peterson is much better now than he was Sunday playing through the ankle sprain.
“He's had two good days. He's still a little gimpy, but he's better,” Frazier said. “Tremendously better as you saw him run in that ballgame. As long as he doesn't have a setback, he should be no problem on Sunday.”
For the Giants, only tackle Shawn Andrews didn’t practice, although S Brian Jackson (hand), WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), C Shaun O'Hara (foot), WR Steve Smith (pectoral) and DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) were limited.
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.