Brett Favre (Matthew Stockman/Getty)
Brett Favre suffered a concussion, but interim Vikings coach Leslie Frazier wasn’t ready to send the 41-year-old quarterback to season-ending injured reserve.
Brett Favre may be down, but the banged-up gunslinger isn’t out yet.
Favre said he was knocked unconscious after being thrown to the frozen FieldTurf of TCF Bank Stadium on Monday night, but the Vikings aren’t ready to put the 41-year-old on injured reserve just yet, despite Favre suffering a concussion with only two games remaining.
“He’s proven time and time again that he’s capable of coming back and playing again, so I don’t think (injured reserve is an option),” interim head coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday.
“… He loves to compete and he likes to play. He doesn’t want to let his teammates down. He really wanted to play in front of the home fans last night for maybe the last time. That was important to him. I think more than anything he likes to compete and the fact that we’ve got two ballgames left, he’s a guy who loves his teammates and loves to play. I think that’s what motivates him more than anything.”
However, the Vikings haven’t done a great job of protecting Favre this season. He has played in 13 games and taken 22 sacks and numerous other hits, some that have knocked the NFL ironman out of games after making the start.
“You have to be aware of that potential risk and we have to weigh those. But on that one hit that he did have, it really wasn’t a chance for him to avoid,” Frazier said. “(Defensive end Corey Wootton) was on him so fast, he just had no way of protecting himself when he hit the ground. That’s always a possibility, but that’s a risk even if he had not had any previous injuries.”
The compilations of injuries this year for Favre has been an impressive list of ailments. Chin, shoulder, chest, elbow, calf, ankle, foot. And now a concussion, an injury that the NFL has taken much more seriously this year. None of the Vikings’ players that have suffered a concussion one week have come back and played the following week this season. With Favre’s concussion coming on Monday night, the timetable for recovery is even shorter as they prepare for Philadelphia on Sunday night.
“It’s rare it seems today that guys are able to come back on a short week. So, you wouldn’t think that would be possible. But there have been other things you didn’t think were possible with Brett,” Frazier said.
Case in point: As recently as Saturday, the Vikings listed Favre as “out” on the final injury report, but after he sent a message to Frazier late Sunday night stating that he was thinking of playing Monday, the Vikings called the league and got permission to upgrade him to questionable on Monday morning. He tested the sprained sternoclavicular joint in his throwing shoulder about two hours before Monday night’s game and made the start.
“From an injury standpoint, the fact that Brett was able to play was miraculous in a lot of ways and he played extremely well,” Frazier said. “He did suffer a concussion. I’m not certain of what his future status will be.”
Two weeks ago against Buffalo, Favre was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury suffered at the end of his first series, putting an end to his 297-game streak of consecutive starts. On his return to action on Monday night, he lasted just more than three minutes into the second quarter before being thrown to the turf and taking his seat on the sidelines for the remainder of the game.
The NFL ironman’s durability is no longer invincible, and the last memory of him on a football field could be him laying prone on the frozen field of TCF Bank Stadium … unless he clears the fog from his head for one last New Year’s ride.
Rookie Joe Webb is in line to make his first NFL start. He played the majority of Monday night’s game, the most action he has seen all season, and finished completing 15 of 26 passes for 129 yards, a rushing touchdown and two interceptions.
“With the amount of time and preparation that he has had, I thought he did a pretty good job,” Frazier said. “There are some things you’d like him to do better, but I think that will come over time as he gains more experience and gets more snaps in live situations. There’s only so much you can do to simulate a game in practice. He was able to see things, see the speed of the game, which is far different than the preseason, when he’s got his most exposure. But I thought he did some positive things.”
The Vikings continue to look into the possibility of adding quarterback Rhett Bomar, who is currently on the New York Giants practice squad, to Minnesota’s active roster. “I’m going to go back and talk to Rick Spielman and the rest of our scouting staff and just find out where we are and what we’re thinking about doing with the quarterback position, and some of it depends on what happens with Brett as well,” Frazier said. “We’ll discuss that.”
Frazier originally indicated that E.J. Henderson had a dislocated finger, but on Monday he said it was more of sprain. Henderson returned to the game after suffering the injury.
Safety Madieu Williams also suffered a concussion and Frazier said the team will take it “day-to-day” with him. The Vikings were down to their last healthy safeties on Monday night, as Eric Frampton filled in for Williams. Jamarca Sanford (concussion) and Tyrell Johnson (knee) were deactivated.
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.