Vikings players spent the entire summer answering questions about Brett Favre and anticipating him…
Matchup to watch: Favre vs. convention
Friday's game with the Kansas City Chiefs was supposed to be a showcase of Tarvaris Jackson, making what many believed would be a last stand as the Vikings' starting quarterback. If he played well, the battle with Sage Rosenfels would still be on. If not, Rosenfels could all but lock down the starting job with a solid performance in Week 3 of the postseason against the Texans. Instead, the whirlwind signing of Brett Favre has changed all that, as Favre's willingness to play in the Vikings' preseason home opener has stunned observers and made this the matchup to watch.
Favre said at his Tuesday press conference that when he spoke with Brad Childress from his home Monday that, if he signed, he wanted to play already on Friday. In almost every circumstance, such a signing would spell that the target date for Favre taking the field against the Vikings wouldn't be until the Monday night game with Houston. But, just four days after agreeing to a deal and three days after taking his first steps on the practice field, Favre is expected to be in the lineup and playing.
Granted, it isn't likely to be a very long stint, but Favre wants to prove that his knowledge of the Vikings' offensive scheme is so thorough that he can literally step into the lineup without the benefit of the first training camp practices. The Chiefs may be an ideal team to get that kind of work against. The organization essentially admitted that it was starting over when it dealt Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen to the Vikings last year and the result was nothing short of dismal. Allen alone had more sacks than the Chiefs team, which had just 10 sacks – the fewest in NFL history. Compound that with the fact that new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast is switching the Chiefs defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and you have a recipe that could keep Favre protected while at the same time giving him a chance to dip his toe in the water and get some playing time.
While the Chiefs are re-making themselves on the fly with new coach Todd Haley and front office man Scott Pioli, there are a lot of players learning a system that is new to them and will have a learning curve. That could play into Favre's hands, as the Vikings look to exploit the inexperience up front on the Kansas City defense as well as the age at linebacker that can create mismatches. The Chiefs are a team looking to fill a lot of holes, so they may be more interested in getting a good look at the bubble players than they are the few players who already know they have a roster spot solidified. They are unlikely to take too many chances defensively, because at this point, they're more concerned with coming up with a lineup that will mesh together and run the defense. A conservative defense is about the worst thing you can have with a gunslinger like Favre looking to make an impression on his new home fans.
Even though it may only be a series or two, those in attendance Friday are going to see something nobody thought they would ever see – Brett Favre wearing the home purple uniform of the Vikings – making this, even if only briefly, this week's matchup to watch.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this hot topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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