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Sunday, August 22, 2010
Four whole plays for Brett Favre

By Kevin Seifert

Brett Favre
Patrick Willis of the 49ers welcomed Brett Favre back to the NFL on Sunday.

Let's see how many words I can write on four plays. Because that's all the action Brett Favre saw Sunday night in his preseason debut at San Francisco.

(*You'll find out the total if you stick around until the end of this post. The suspense builds....)

The short version: Favre completed one pass and absorbed one pretty good lick, courtesy of an Adrian Peterson "olé " that will make Minnesota Vikings coaches think twice about using him as their third-down back this season.

Brett Favre
Brett Favre had just four plays against the 49ers, completing one pass for 13 yards.
The Vikings originally planned to play Favre up to 10 plays, but coach Brad Childress had seen enough after 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis blew past Peterson and crunched Favre on a second-and-13 play. (And don't try to tell me that Peterson faced the unenviable task of blocking two free blitzers on the play. He chose Willis and never looked at linebacker Takeo Spikes.)

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called a draw on third down, and backup Tarvaris Jackson took over on the Vikings' next series. Four days after reporting to the Vikings' practice facility, Favre's only pass was a 13-yard swing pass to Peterson. The outing was reminiscent of his Vikings debut in the 2009 preseason, when he completed 1 of 4 passes and absorbed a pair of brutal hits.

Like last year, Favre accomplished the primary mission of getting his feet wet -- and then getting out in one piece. I imagine he'll play a half or possibly longer in the Vikings' next preseason game, scheduled for Saturday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

Frankly, Favre's pre-game interview with ESPN's Ed Werder was much more interesting. During the discussion, Favre revealed that he spoke twice to the full team last week. The first came during a previously-reported meeting last Wednesday before his first practice.

Favre called the second meeting, however, following a report that indicated he has an adversarial relationship with Childress. The source was identified as an anonymous player, and Favre said he relayed this message to his teammates: "If something is being said in here -- by whoever, it's got to stop. It's hard enough to win as it is. Success does crazy things. So we had a good meeting."

For a few reasons, we haven't really discussed the report on this blog. First, we documented Favre and Childress butting heads a number of times last season. So that's already part of the landscape between the two men. I think Favre knows full well what he's getting himself into, for better or worse. Here's where we landed last year:
Playing quarterback for Childress in this offense isn't easy. It requires a certain acceptance of subordination to its concepts and administration, even if you're a seasoned veteran with Super Bowl trophies on your mantle. Favre is only the latest quarterback to make that discovery.

Second, it's hard to imagine Favre would have agreed to play this season if his animus for Childress was so acute. They might not send each other Christmas cards, but whatever issues they had in 2009 still resulted in arguably the best season of Favre's career as well as a trip to the NFC Championship Game. I'm guessing the big picture prevailed here.

Like anything, the Favre-Childress relationship will come under heavy scrutiny if the Vikings have a disappointing season. If they win at a similar clip as last season, I'm guessing we won't hear much more. So let's leave it with a Flash Gordon-like conclusion: "The End ... ?"

(*Not counting contractions, but including this parenthetical, we're at 590 words. Not bad, huh?)