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Brett Favre, stay retired already, a Viking now

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A source close to Brett Favre said the quarterback, pending a physical, will sign a contract with the Minnesota Vikings for between $10 million to $12 million, according to ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

Favre, 39, and his wife, Deanna, arrived in Minnesota on Tuesday to meet with the Vikings, getting off a team plane at a small St. Paul airport and getting into an SUV after shaking hands with the ground crew.

Coach Brad Childress, who greeted the Favres at the airport, confirmed the planned meeting in an e-mail to The Associated Press. Asked if the plan was to sign Favre, Childress replied: "In a perfect world."

A throng of fans who somehow already had learned of Favre's arrival ran alongside the SUV as it arrived at the Vikings' practice site, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, with a lone police officer trying to herd them.

Favre is expected to take a physical later Tuesday; the Star Tribune reported that an afternoon news conference was expected.

Favre's mother, Bonita, told the Biloxi Sun Herald that her son would be working out with the Vikings on Wednesday. ESPN analyst Cris Carter reported Tuesday that Childress already has told the Vikings that Favre will be starting in Friday night's preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I have mixed emotions, but I have always loved to watch him play," she told the Sun Herald. "This time, however, I thought he would stay retired and stay home. I guess he could not do it.

"They [Minnesota] seem to have a good team in place, and he liked that. I guess I need to get a Vikings jersey now."

And that jersey probably still will be his famous No. 4. The Vikings' practice roster handed out Tuesday had John David Booty, who had worn No. 4, as wearing No. 9. There was no name assigned to No. 4.

Favre, a longtime star in Green Bay, came out of retirement last season to play for the New York Jets. He retired again, only to then entertain the idea of joining the Vikings. Three weeks ago, Childress said the quarterback would stay retired.

The pronouncement now appears to be premature.

Two television stations first reported that Favre was seen boarding a plane Tuesday morning that was headed to Minneapolis.

Sources told Hattiesburg television station WDAM, which initially broke the story, that Favre had said: "We may know something by dinner."

A high-level source first told Minneapolis TV station WCCO that Favre was expected to sign a deal with the Vikings on Tuesday.

ESPN's Ed Werder reported that according to a source, Favre told close friends and family members before boarding the plane Tuesday: "I'm going to play football.''

The decision to do so comes even though Favre has informed the team that Dr. James Andrews detected a slight tear in his right rotator cuff in May while performing arthroscopic surgery on the quarterback's passing shoulder in May, according to a source.

It was concern about that injury, and the pain in both of his ankles and left knee, that discouraged Favre from signing with the Vikings before training camp.

Favre, who holds almost all of the NFL's career passing records, has never been much of a fan of offseason practices, though. Last summer, he ended his retirement with the Packers and forced a trade to the Jets, where he faded down the stretch amid problems with his throwing arm.

But Favre remained in regular communication with the Vikings' coaching staff the past three weeks, and a source said that owner Zygi Wilf had to do very little convincing when the two met this week near Favre's home in Hattiesburg.

"He had a lot of aches and pains and they basically needed a commitment from him before he felt he was ready to play,'' a source told Werder. "He wants to be able to do the best he can do and doesn't want to disappoint them.''

The Vikings are aware of the small tear in Favre's rotator cuff.

"The tear is still there and there's always a possibility something could happen with it later on,'' a source told Werder. "He wanted to give it the best chance he could before he made a commitment. But the last three weeks, it hasn't gotten any worse and he's been working hard. Hell, who knows? It could flare up again if they make him throw 50 or 60 balls a day.

"Three weeks ago, he wasn't ready to go play and didn't feel physically he could do what they needed him to do. But three more weeks of working out and now he's feeling that he's able to throw the football and he's going to give it a try.''

Favre has been working out regularly with Oak Grove High school players in Hattiesburg, according to WDAM-TV, and has not missed a practice even after telling the Vikings he would remain retired.

The Vikings finished training camp last week and beat Indianapolis 13-3 in their preseason opener Friday. They got a strong performance from quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who has been competing with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job since Favre jilted the team July 28.

The Vikings are expected to challenge for the NFC North title this season, with whomever is behind center.

Rosenfels and Jackson have had some rough moments during practice. Jackson hurt his knee, missed a few workouts and then returned, but he was out of sync last week against the Colts.

Rosenfels did well, but preseason games are tough to evaluate and Indianapolis held out all four starting defensive backs.

On Monday, Jackson, responding to the day's scuttlebutt that Favre was predicted to play in Minnesota this season, said he was not paying attention to any of the talk.

"I pretty much have said [Favre] probably will follow me even when I retire. I'll probably have to hear about it. I'm just trying to take care of my business, and I can't worry about that stuff," Jackson said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "If I let that stuff get to me, ain't no telling where I'd be right now. I just let it roll off my shoulder and just keep going. Just keep trying to get better."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice Tuesday he was not surprised by Favre's return.

"I don't think anybody should be surprised by it," McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Aaron Rodgers, who inherited the starting quarterback position after Favre retired -- then unretired -- said, "I don't have a reaction," the Journal Sentinel reported. "It doesn't pertain to me. It has absolutely nothing to do with me. It doesn't change anything. It has nothing to do with the Green Bay Packers."

Packers linebacker Nick Barnett told the newspaper: "Ater all those years of not being able to hit him, do I want to hit him? Of course I want to hit him. He's an awesome guy. I wish him the best."

Favre, who turns 40 in October, will become the starter over incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, who was acquired in a trade with the Texans during the off-season.

Favre's mother, Bonita, told the Biloxi Sun Herald today that her son would be working out with the Vikings on Wednesday. ESPN analyst Cris Carter, a former Vikings receiver, reported today that Childress already has told the Vikings that Favre will be starting in Friday night's preseason game against the Chiefs.

“I have mixed emotions, but I have always loved to watch him play," Favre’s mother told the Sun Herald. "This time, however, I thought he would stay retired and stay home. I guess he could not do it. They [Minnesota] seem to have a good team in place, and he liked that. I guess I need to get a Vikings jersey now.”

Favre announced his retirement from the Packers in March, 2009, but eventually changed his mind and attempted to rejoin the team. The Packers had already committed to former first-round pick Aaron Rodgers as their long-term starter, and made it clear that Favre was not wanted. He was traded to the Jets last August.

Favre led the Jets to an 8-3 record after back-to-back road wins against New England and Tennessee. But he struggled down the stretch, partly because of arm problems, and the team finished 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs. Favre, who had suffered a torn biceps, cited the injury as his reason for retiring.

Favre was still under contract to the Jets and asked for his release in late April, a request that was granted. The team believed at the time that he had no intention of returning. But Favre got the itch again and underwent arthroscopic surgery to snip the remaining portion of his biceps to relieve the pain. Favre soon began training with a high school team in Hattiesburg, Miss.

But he said he experienced soreness during the practices, not only in his arm, but his knees and ankles, too. He cited that pain as evidence that he couldn’t withstand the rigors of an NFL season.

“It was the hardest decision I've ever made,” Favre said in an interview with ESPN’s Ed Werder. “I didn't feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable. I had to be careful not to commit for the wrong reasons. They were telling me, ‘You went through all this, you had the surgery and you've got to finish it off.’ But I have legitimate reasons for my decision. I'm 39 with a lot of sacks to my name.”

Brett Favre stats


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