EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Brett Favre’s non-traditional arrival in Minnesota is not stopping Vikings coach Brad Childress from taking a traditional approach to the team’s pre-season finale against Dallas.
The 39-year-old quarterback will not play against the Cowboys on Friday night.
“I don’t see the upside,” Childress said on Wednesday.
Most teams rest their marquee starters in the final game of the pre-season to avoid the risk of injury with the regular season a week away.
What makes this situation unique, however, is Favre’s recent arrival in Minnesota.
It’s been a whirlwind for Favre ever since he arrived to a hero’s welcome just 16 days ago. A helicopter followed him from a Twin Cities airport to the team’s headquarters in Eden Prairie, where more than 100 fans swarmed Childress’s SUV as it pulled into the parking lot.
Three days later, Favre was in uniform and looking every bit as rusty as could be expected. He went 1-for-4 for 4 yards in two series against the Kansas City Chiefs, but looked much more comfortable on Monday night in Houston.
Favre completed 13-of-18 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown while playing into the third quarter of a 17-10 win at Houston.
“I thought he made a nice jump from Week 1 to Week 2 and showed he’s got a good understanding of what we’re doing,” Childress said.
Favre ran a similar offence for 16 seasons in Green Bay and has had no trouble getting up to speed with the Vikings’ playbook. The biggest thing he has to work on is chemistry with his receivers, learning their tendencies and how each one puts his own variation on the routes that are run.
The biggest strides were shown on Minnesota’s final drive of the first half against the Texans. Favre completed the final six passes of the drive, moving the Vikings 74 yards in nine plays, including a 28-yard touchdown pass to Chester Taylor.
“I think we can be productive, but we’ve got to get it together pretty quickly,” Favre said after the game Monday night.
The Vikings open the regular season on Sept. 13 at Cleveland. So Favre and the rest of his offensive starters will have an entire week of practice to fine-tune things before the football start for real.
“We’re at a pretty good spot right now, but he’s only been here two weeks,” receiver Sidney Rice said. “We still have a lot of things we can work on together. We’re going to continue to work on those things together.”
Favre still has not played a game with top receiver Bernard Berrian, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.
He is spending extra time looking at practice tape and has stayed late at practice on occasion to throw to his receivers as they try to find the timing needed to keep the chains moving.
“I feel like we’re definitely jelling,” said running back Adrian Peterson, who had a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against Houston. “I feel like we’re there, but there’s always room to improve.
“We’ve still got some polishing. Just shine it up and buff it up a little bit and I think we’ll be OK.”