EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Seven players and one coach remained on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice field Wednesday after their morning walk-through. Defensive backs coach Joe Woods and six cornerbacks stood in a semi-circle around quarterback Brett Favre, who was conducting a demonstration of receiver alignments, quarterback drops and other motions.
National headlines will continue to focus this week on the NFL’s investigation into allegations that he sent inappropriate photographs to a former New York Jets sideline reporter. Were it not for that ongoing story, however, we would all be talking about what could be his final game at Lambeau Field. (Don’t forget: Favre has said this will be his last NFL season. Wink, wink.) And despite the investigation and the relative cooling of hostilities surrounding his departure, it was clear Wednesday that he was focused on doing whatever he can to defeat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
Favre said there was “not a lot” of insight he could give the Vikings’ defense, but Wednesday’s tutorial appeared intense. Everyone from veteran Antoine Winfield to rookie Chris Cook were riveted for at least 10 minutes after practice. Last season, coach Brad Childress said, Favre actually served as a scout-team quarterback to mimic Rodgers during practice.
“The only thing I could have said or would say is try to put yourself in Donald Driver’s shoes, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Donald Lee,” Favre said. “I was obviously with Aaron [Rodgers] for quite a while. … Just try to think like them and maybe conceptually speaking, some of the things that they might do.”
Favre and the Vikings defeated the Packers twice last season, by scores of 30-23 and 38-26. Did Favre provide any useful insight? He said Wednesday that he can “sometimes” predict a Packers play based on pre-snap alignments but cautioned his audience about changes that could be inserted to ward off his knowledge.
In one case, Favre said, the Packers changed a play that included all slant routes to be “all slants and go.”
He added: “So you have to be cautious. You can almost talk yourself in or out and talk to your guys and say, ‘Here’s what comes in this play,’ and then your guy gets beat. You still have to react to it. … They’re going to get their big plays and be productive. [But] I don’t think they need to change anything. They give you some looks that are, I don’t want to say somewhat predictable, but they are still hard to stop.”
Hard-core Packers fans might have wretched at Wednesday’s post-practice scene, but Favre made no apologies.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “… The passion for the game, that’s one thing that hasn’t wavered.”
More to come.