Jim Bougie is the bar manager at Gabe's Roadhouse, the St. Paul eatery and saloon that gets taken over by a Packers horde whenever the lads from Green Bay are in competition.

"We had 150 of them in here on Saturday night,'' Bougie said. "[Aaron] Rodgers looked good. They all left happy.''

Bougie smiled. "Not today,'' he said. "I just heard on the news that the St. Croix River is rising. Tears from Packers fans.''

Gary Scott, a Gabe's regular, said: "They are in the parking lot here at 9 o'clock on Sunday mornings, with their jerseys and hats, waiting to get in.

"Who knows? Maybe this means we're going to be able to take back our bar.''

Bougie shook his head and said: "They love their team and spend money. We want Packer fans.''

The bar manager smiled again and said, "Even if most of the Wisconsin people I know wake up at point-0-8 in the morning.''

Tuesday was a time of giddiness for Vikings followers and of stiffening upper lips for Packers fans. Brett Favre finally signed with the Vikings -- timing his arrival to miss all offseason work, to miss training camp and to miss the opening exhibition on the road.

There's nothing Favre seeks more than adulation, and he will get all that an egomaniac can handle when his on-field unveiling as a Viking takes place Friday night in the Metrodome.

Favre's presence in Minnesota will be tied to another plea from coach Brad Childress, as well as the quarterback's familiarity with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

The opinion here is the timeline offered Tuesday is a charade -- that the Vikings and Favre decided last month to reconnect in mid-August.

What shouldn't be underestimated is Favre's ability to read Zygi Wilf, and see that he was dealing with a star-struck owner willing to allow the quarterback to dictate terms.

"I'll be there in mid-August -- not a moment earlier -- and you'll pay me $12 million'' was Favre's message.

To which Zygi clearly responded: "Thank you, Mr. Favre, and could we bother you for an autographed football for me and the entire Wilf family?''

Nick Gardner, 21, is a Minnesota Duluth senior from Rhinelander, Wis. "I really thought -- after what he said three weeks ago -- that this time he was done,'' he said. "This is a terrible day for Packers fans.

"And those that are saying, 'I've moved on; I don't care about Favre anymore,' you know what? They are trying to convince themselves.

"You can't have a player who quarterbacks your team for 16 years -- who means everything to the Packers and football in Wisconsin -- and say it doesn't mean anything that he now will be playing for the big rival.

"We're all dying inside.''

It will get worse for Gardner in four days when he arrives back in Duluth. "I'm badly outnumbered on campus,'' he said. "I'm not looking forward to Oct. 5 [Vikings-Packers in the Dome]. The week before that game is going to be brutal.''

Roberta Gherty works at a coffee shop and also a pizza place in downtown Hudson, Wis. She's known to locals as "Bert.'' Her car is painted in Packers colors.

"I saw some Vikings fans getting excited and cheering Brett," Gherty said. "We're in shock over that, but we're going to come out of it."

As Hudson's ultimate Packers loyalist, Bert was asked if there were any tears as Favre arrived in Minnesota as if he was Napoleon returning to Paris -- and, by coincidence, both conquering heroes in ridiculous hats.

"No tears; I shed those when he left the Packers,'' Gherty said. "I thought I was over Brett completely. I even went out and bought a Rodgers jersey.

"I don't know what I'm going to do with my collection of Favre jerseys now that he's with the Vikings. Maybe I'll put them all up for sale.''

K.P. Anderson, formerly of Cambridge, is the executive producer of E! Television's "The Soup'' and the spinoff "Sports Soup'' on Versus. He heard the Favre news when he awoke in L.A. on Tuesday morning and turned on television.

"First thing I did was call the writers and say, 'Tiger Woods choking isn't a top story anymore.' We're going with Favre and more Favre.

"The video of people waiting along the road for Favre ... I don't recall my fellow Vikings fans doing that when we got Sage Rosenfels.''

Patrick Reusse can be heard 5:30-9 a.m. weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP. • preusse@startribune.com