Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
HOUSTON -- When you look at it from the big picture, new Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre played winning football Monday night. The Vikings offense scored 17 points, rolled up 283 yards and committed no turnovers with Favre running the team for all of the first half and their only drive of the third quarter.
I think everyone would agree that it's awfully nice to have a tailback like Adrian Peterson, who can single-handedly dissipate the pressure by opening with a 75-yard touchdown run. And Chester Taylor, the other half of the Vikings' backfield duo, made an excellent open-field move to turn a swing pass into a 28-yard touchdown reception with 27 seconds left in the half.
As many people have pointed out, the Vikings' offense has a group of talented skill players who just needed to be tied together by a consistent and reliable quarterback. For the most part, Favre provided that presence Monday night.
They did have a five-series lull after Peterson's touchdown. And Favre has no excuse for an illegal crackback block during a Wildcat play that cost the Vikings 15 yards in the third quarter. I'm sure some people will see it as a sign of toughness, but to me it just wasn't bright to throw any block -- low or high -- when you're approaching 40, have a torn rotator cuff and believe you have a cracked rib or two.
Otherwise, however, I thought the most encouraging Favre-related sign for the Vikings was the deliberate way they progressed through their two-minute drill preceding Taylor's touchdown.
They committed three penalties on the drive, at one point facing first-and-25 from the 50-yard line. We've all seen drives derail under similar situations in recent years. But Favre kept the offense calm, completed four consecutive passes and quickly found Taylor after reading a Texans blitz. Overall, he completed 13 of 18 passes for 142 yards.
None of this is revolutionary stuff. NFL starters are expected to get points regularly and run a two-minute drill professionally. The Vikings, however, haven't had that kind of reliability for years. If Favre can get their offense to perform this way consistently in 2009, he'll be worth the effort it took to bring him to Minnesota.
OK, unless something crazy happens, I'll be back after the game.