Vikings head into break 7-1
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- The first half of Brett Favre's unfathomable season in Minnesota has been an unquestionable success. Before the most important part begins, Favre and the Vikings can enjoy a welcome intermission. The later-than-usual b...
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- The first half of Brett Favre's unfathomable season in Minnesota has been an unquestionable success.
Before the most important part begins, Favre and the Vikings can enjoy a welcome intermission. The later-than-usual break in the schedule comes at an ideal time, providing this veteran team the annual chance to recuperate as close to the stretch run as possible.
"Hopefully everybody will come back full and ready to go," defensive end Ray Edwards said.
This is the latest bye Minnesota has had in 10 years. Sometimes a week off can squelch momentum, but the opportunity to return from the rest period refreshed mentally and physically is probably more critical for a 7-1 team.
"Fresh bodies. Fresh minds. Fresh brains, as you go forward," coach Brad Childress said.
Plus, after the intensity of Sunday's 38-26 victory over the Packers in Favre's emotional return to Green Bay, a few days away from football seems appropriate.
"I think we've handled distractions pretty well. I think we should continue having distractions," Favre said with a smirk after Sunday's game. "I think we'll find out how good we are. We've had some tough tests. For the most part, we've responded very well."
In case the news didn't get out yet, Favre passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns against his old team to help the Vikings take a firm hold on the NFC North race by winning one of the most hyped games in sports history.
Favre told Sports Illustrated's Web site after the game he hurt his groin in practice last Wednesday and then aggravated the injury in pregame warmups, making him unable to move around in the pocket very well. Favre said about four hours after the game the muscle was "throbbing," but Childress said Monday he wasn't concerned.
"I was standing right behind him, watching him while he was warming up and saw him kind of reach for his groin and hold it and whatever you do with a groin," Childress said, adding: "It twinged a little bit on him."
During the week, Favre was listed as probable for the game because of his hip.
"All that stuff is lower chain. It kind of all fits together," Childress said, assessing the groin and hip issues. "He was obviously able to practice through everything."
At 40, Favre's body could use the break. He's had other body parts listed on the injury report, too, but the Vikings have protected him well. The Packers didn't sack him once either time they played.
The week off will be just as valuable for the others. Left guard Steve Hutchinson (back) and wide receivers Bernard Berrian (hamstring) and Percy Harvin (shoulder) have frequented the injury report but not missed a game. Cornerback Antoine Winfield (foot) has missed the last two weeks.
"We have no major injuries to this team right now, but a lot of people have little nicks and knacks here and there so I think a week of just nothing is always great," Harvin said.
The Vikings gathered for a team picture, lifting, running and an NFL life skills seminar before scattering in the afternoon.
"Whether they're going to sit in a deer stand or sit on the beach, or contemplate their navel, whatever it is that they care to do they're free to do, as long as they're back here on Monday," Childress said.
The coach gave the annual be-careful-during-the-bye talk, which probably never hurts for a team that still has 11 players left from the 2005 debacle that gave a new, bawdy meaning to the concept of a boat party.
"If you're a little more intentional about thinking about things, you realize what you're doing a little bit more," Childress said.
The Vikings return from the bye with three straight home games, another clear advantage on their 2009 schedule.
"Very, very, very confident," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said, assessing the team's outlook. "We know our potential, man, and we know if we play the way we can play ... we'll have a good chance to win."
Has that confidence been there since the season started?
"It was there, but we weren't sure if it was a mirage or not," Shiancoe said. "Now it's just starting to get to the point where we know it's reality."