Put me down as one member of the media who never has doubted that Brett Favre will return as the Vikings quarterback for the 2010 season.

In fact, go back a year ago, and I believe the odds then were that Favre was going to play in 2009, and all he wanted was permission to miss training camp and other offseason things that NFL football players deal with.

Nobody will convince me that Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was Favre's quarterback coach with the Packers, didn't spend a good deal of time communicating with Favre last year before he decided to join the Vikings, and that Bevell isn't doing the same amount of thing this offseason.

Why would Favre have the ankle surgery he underwent this past week if he wasn't going to play football?

There's also the case of being richer to the tune of $13 million that Favre will be paid for playing with the Vikings this coming season. He is under contract, although the money isn't guaranteed like it was last season. But if Favre insists, rest assured it will be guaranteed the moment he steps on a Vikings practice field.

Several of the Vikings keep in contact with Favre. And while he has told them he hasn't made up his mind, the 40-year-old quarterback hasn't at any time said that "I don't believe I will play."

I believe there is only one reason that Favre won't play this season: if his wife, Deanna, insists that he's had enough and she doesn't want her husband to suffer a serious injury.

Furthermore, the Vikings must believe that Favre will be coming back, otherwise they would have made some move to pick up a quarterback in the draft, or made a trade for a veteran.

Favre told me more than once last year that he has never enjoyed a season more than he did in 2009, and how much fun he had working with the players on the team and helping the young players improve.

There's no doubt that Favre wants to win one more Super Bowl before he hangs it up.

AL East is tough

The Twins have struggled against the Yankees and the Red Sox over the years, and if you're looking for a reason, manager Ron Gardenhire points to the payrolls of the two teams.

"Their payrolls are double that of everybody else," Gardenhire said. "They have veterans and all-stars all the way up and down their lineup, their bullpen and their rotation. That's why every year those teams are really, really good. They pay the money, and don't have very many kids on their team. They have all-stars all over, up and down, and that makes it tough."

The Twins did come home after the 2-5 road trip to beat the Brewers on Friday.

"That was a hard road trip. ... Our guys are battling," Gardenhire said. "They are a little worn down right now. We need a day off. We've played a lot of games in a row. We have one Monday. That will help us."


One reason University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks and the Board of Regents might not allow liquor to be sold at TCF Bank Stadium, under an option granted by a law just passed by the Legislature, is that no doubt Bruininks is getting a lot of pressure from other conference presidents to keep the ban in place. They're afraid that if Minnesota started liquor sales in its stadium, then there would be a lot of pressure to do the same in other Big Ten stadiums. However, when you have budget problems and are cutting employee salaries, how do you turn down an opportunity to add to your revenue?

The Big Ten champion Gophers baseball team has only two seniors, but they are likely to lose two of the underclassmen to the draft: outfielder/catcher Mike Kvasnicka, a junior from Lakeville North (.346 batting average, seven home runs, 45 RBI, .454 OBP), and righthanded pitcher Seth Rosin, a junior from Shoreview, (7-4, 4.74 ERA, 87.1 IP, 82 strikeouts, 10 walks) who played at Mounds View.

At his pre-lottery press conference David Kahn, the Timberwolves' president of basketball, made it clear that the top players available were equal, and if the Wolves didn't win the lottery they would do well picking any one of the top three. Well, the Wolves finished fourth in the lottery. Does that mean that the Wolves won't get a good player in the draft?

Ex-Gopher and former Twins pitcher Glen Perkins gave up eight hits and four runs in six innings for Class AAA Rochester in his last start against Syracuse. Perkins is 0-6 this season with a 9.09 ERA. ... Catcher Wilson Ramos, who got off to such a hot start for the Twins when he filled in for the injured Joe Mauer, is hitting .151 for Rochester. The three top Twins minor league teams are struggling. After Friday's games, Rochester was 15-27, New Britain was 10-29 and the Fort Myers Miracle was 18-23. Beloit is the only winner among the top four Twin minor league teams with a 25-17 mark, including Friday's game.

Chris Bass, a former Rosemount baseball player, hit two grand slams and drove in nine runs for Old Dominion in its 14-10 victory over Hofstra on Friday.

John McDonough, who graduated from St. Mary's University in Winona and is now is president of the Chicago Blackhawks, is being given a lot of credit for the success of the hockey team, now leading San Jose 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals.

Former Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson hasn't seen any playoff action for the Blackhawks because of concussion-like symptoms and there is no timeline for his return.

Former Gopher Ryan Potulny had two goals and two assists in six games played at the IIHF World Championships in Germany while Kyle Okposo had one goal and two assists. ... Former MSU Mankato and Osseo High school standout Travis Morin is tied for third in scoring for the Texas Stars of the AHL with three goals and eight assists in 14 playoff games.

Former Holy Angels standout Jimmy Kilpatrick (seven goals and nine assists in 19 games) and Roseville native Mark Van Guilder (five goals and 10 assists in 13 games) are among the top scorers for the Cincinnati Cyclones of ECHL, who are playing Idaho in the league finals. ... Edina native Anders Lee, a Notre Dame recruit, was named the USHL's Clark Cup Playoff MVP after leading the Green Bay Gamblers to the league championship last week after scoring one goal and two assists in the deciding fifth game. Lee led the USHL in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 12 assists in 12 playoff games.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com