EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Brett Favre is coming back for more.
The 39-year-old quarterback turned his back on retirement for the second time in as many years, agreeing Tuesday to play for the Vikings.
Favre took a morning flight on a team plane from Mississippi to Minnesota, arrived to cheering fans outside the team’s practice facility and was in a helmet and pads less than 90 minutes later. His red practice jersey was the familiar No. 4, the same number he wore for years with the rival Green Bay Packers.
The team confirmed a deal was done to The Associated Press, but terms were not immediately disclosed.
This is Favre’s second comeback. A year ago, he came out of a short retirement to join the Jets.
Favre had arthroscopic surgery to fix his throwing shoulder in May and three weeks ago told coach Brad Childress he would stay retired. The Vikings 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 even got an encouraging performance from quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who has been competing with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job.
All that goes out the window with Favre returning to add to a resume that already includes nearly every NFL career passing record.
His zinger of an arm and toughness in the pocket are a combination few possess. With an offense he says he could operate in his sleep, Favre seems to fit well with Minnesota — epecially 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, and perhaps that elusive Super Bowl, they’ll need stability at the sport’s most critical position.
Favre has wrestled with retirement for most of this decade and the will-he-or-won’t-he saga became an annual offseason drama for the Packers, his longtime home. In Green Bay, the latest news elicted a few shrugs, little more.
A few months after Favre’s tearful goodbye news conference in March 2008, Green Bay traded him to the 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. Favre spent the summer working out in Mississippi and led everyone to believe he was on his way back to the NFL until 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 and 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.
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