EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. (AP) - And on Wednesday, Brett Favre rested. Again. And the Chicago Bears might want to take note.
Favre's career-high 446 yards passing last Sunday led Minnesota to a season-salvaging overtime victory over the Cardinals, and some Vikings said afterward they saw a difference in their 41-year-old quarterback.
"This week I've seen in Brett what I haven't seen since last year, when it comes to energy that comes across from him," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said then. "It definitely showed."
Asked Wednesday whether he felt more energy in the run-up to the Arizona game, well, Favre shrugged the question off like he was sidestepping a pass rush.
"Say we lost in OT, I doubt he says that," Favre said, referring to Shiancoe's assessment.
But then, as if he had finished checking his receivers and just fired the ball to the open man, Favre offered his acknowledgment that taking the previous Wednesday's practice off might have provided him some extra freshness.
"That was the hope. I felt like going in, the few days that I did practice, my arm felt a little more alive. I had a little more pep in my step," Favre said, before beginning to back off a bit. "I don't know. I kind of felt that same I did the previous week."
However he feels minute to minute, Favre rested again Wednesday. He said he was fatigued during that comeback against the Cardinals. And discussing the left foot that still has two small fractures in it, Favre said he's still surprised it's not giving him more trouble.
"It's OK. Of course, after a game it always feels worse. It's still swollen, but at least I'm able to function enough on it that Monday and Tuesday and maybe Wednesday I try to stay off of it as much as possible," Favre said. "Get it back to where it feels tolerable. I'm surprised with a broken foot that it doesn't feel as bad as it probably should."
As Favre goes, so go the Vikings _ and maybe the grim days have passed.
With all the hubbub over coach Brad Childress's job security and standing in the locker room after his decision to dump Randy Moss, Favre has recently flown under the radar _ a rarity for the guy who has made constant headlines again this fall for his age, his injuries and the alleged inappropriate messages sent to a former New York Jets employee two years ago.
Over the last week or so, Favre has seemed as loose as he's been during this so-far tense and trying season. While backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson took questions in the locker room last Wednesday about his relief appearance in the New England game, Favre sneaked into the pack and posed as a reporter to ask, "How'd your hamstring feel on that long scramble?"
Favre walked away with a kid's grin on his face.
The grin returned last Sunday after the Vikings (3-5) pulled out a much-needed victory headed into Sunday's game against the Bears (5-3).
"I'm optimistic that we can build off of it. Don't expect 400 yards every week, but a lot of guys had their hand in our success. That's a good thing," Favre said.
Before practice, he talked about his comfort level with the hurry-up offense that helped spur the Vikings to victory. The menu of plays is reduced in those situations, and the quarterback has more control over what to run.
Just the way Favre likes it.
"We always think that the plays we call would be better, just like people sitting at home," Favre said.
The less-is-more approach can certainly be helpful in a league that can sometimes seem over-coached.
"If you're running one route and one route and route over and over and over again, you would think that it would be hard to screw it up," Favre said, adding: "I think that's why over the years I've been fairly successful in that type of offense. ... There's just this comfort level of I don't have to worry where guys are lining up."
Childress, whose occasional clashes with Favre over the offense have become national news and weekly water-cooler fodder, was pleased by the result and expressed confidence in the 20-year veteran's familiarity with the no-huddle approach.
"I just thought he was very alive with his arm and what he was doing with the football last week, how he was stroking it around and really banging the receivers with the football," Childress said. "That's all of them, all of the guys that practiced."
As for Favre's energy level, Childress singled out last Thursday as a day when he was "probably the 'livest' he's been."
And maybe the Vikings are alive as well.
By Elaine Donnelly
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