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At some point very soon, Brett Favre needs to consider a critical question. Maybe Minnesota coach Brad Childress will ask him at their meeting later this week:
Do you want to play for the Vikings or against Green Bay?
If it's the latter, Favre needs to jump back on his tractor and continue living the good life in Mississippi. The NFL game is too difficult, and the stakes in this decision are simply too high, to play merely for the sake of pursuing a vendetta. Proving the Packers made a mistake by trading him last summer isn't a good enough reason to commandeer the most important position on a team that has designs on a deep playoff run.
As ESPN's Mark Schlereth said Tuesday night: "If you're playing out of vengeance, I'm going to tell you right now, those aren't the right decisions."
If Favre wanted to return because he loves playing football, or even if he can't stand the thought of falling from the public spotlight, there are multiple teams he could choose from. But ESPN's John Clayton reported this week that Favre told New York Jets officials that Minnesota was the only team he would consider playing for.
There could be only one reason for that stipulation: Revenge. Otherwise, Favre has no substantive ties to the Vikings. Sure, he was once coached by Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. And yes, he appears to consider Childress a professional acquaintance. But it's not like he grew up in Minnesota and always dreamed of playing there. It's not as though he has many friends in the locker room. (The Vikings have only one former Packer on their current roster: Placekicker Ryan Longwell. Thanks to Kyle for catching the omission in an earlier version of this post.)
The only tie Favre has to the Vikings is that they play in the same division as the Packers. I wonder where we would be if Chicago hadn't acquired Jay Cutler. Would Favre be considering the Bears as well? After all, we all know the Bears-Packers rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sports. (Ha. Just an inside joke for long-time blog readers.)
Seriously, this isn't just an issue for Favre. I'm sure there are members of the Vikings organization who are giddy right now, but they need to approach this situation with extreme caution. I don't know if they want a quarterback whose motivation is as twisted as Favre's might be.
I talked to someone Tuesday night who played devil's advocate on this final question. Who cares what Favre's motivation is? If the Vikings can tap into it and capitalize in a way that improves their 2009 team, then why not? But in my mind, those two sentiments can't coexist. I don't think Favre can be the quarterback Minnesota needs him to be if he's motivated more by his Packers angst than he is by his enthusiasm for the Vikings.