Brett Favre looks ready to unretire again.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Brett Favre looks ready to unretire again.
The 39-year-old quarterback arrived in Minnesota today 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.
He was greeted at the airport by coach Brad Childress, who confirmed the meeting in an e-mail to The Associated Press. Asked if the plan was to sign Favre, Childress replied: "In a perfect world."
Favre's agent, Bus Cook, e-mailed the AP: "No deal in place yet."
The meeting comes just three weeks after Childress said Favre told him he would stay retired. The Vikings have wrapped up training camp last week — Favre was never a big fan of training camp — 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.
Favre, who holds almost every NFL career passing record, has been wrestling with retirement for the better part of this decade, and the will-he-or-won't-he saga became an annual offseason drama for the Packers, his longtime home. A few months after Favre's tearful goodbye news conference in March 2008, Green Bay traded him to the New York Jets when he tried to come back, only to learn the Packers were committed to Aaron Rodgers.
Favre started strong in New York, but faded down the stretch amid problems with his throwing arm and, with another "I'm done" announcement, headed for his second retirement. The Jets released him from his contract right after the draft — and soon after the Vikings were openly expressing interest.
He had arthroscopic surgery to fix his shoulder in May, spent this summer working out in Mississippi and led everyone to believe he was on his way back to the NFL until his surprising announcement last month.
"It was the hardest decision I've ever made," Favre told ESPN then. "I didn't feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable."
The next day, Childress was asked whether there was a chance the Vikings would still pursue Favre. He said: "Not from my standpoint, no." Owner Zygi Wilf reiterated that pledge on the first day training camp.
And yet, here comes Favre, who turns 40 in October. He said last month he didn't think he had enough left to get through a full season.
"I had to be careful not to commit for the wrong reasons," Favre said then. "I'm 39 with a lot of sacks to my name."
He has a lot of interceptions to his name, too, more than any other quarterback in NFL history. The last time Favre appeared in the playoffs — a bitter loss at Lambeau Field by the Packers to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game following the 2007 season — he put up one of his worst performances in recent memory.
Still, an aged Favre is better than most. His zinger of an arm and toughness in the pocket are a combination few possess. With an offense he said this summer he could operate in his sleep, Favre seems to fit well with Minnesota.
Especially given the Vikings' problems finding a reliable quarterback since Childress took over in 2006.
The Vikings have Pro Bowl players all over their roster, with reigning NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson in the backfield and a dominant defensive line. No matter who's behind center, they ought to be in position to defend their NFC North title. To win the conference, though, and perhaps that elusive Super Bowl, they'll need stability at the sport's most critical position.
So far, neither Jackson nor Rosenfels has the resume to elicit the confidence he can be that solid guy.
They each had some rough moments during practices in camp. 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 in the game, but the preseason is tough to evaluate and Indianapolis held out all four starting defensive backs last Friday.