Defensive end Ray Edwards (knee) and defensive tackle Kevin Williams (unknown) were not on the field as the Vikings opened practice Wednesday at Winter Park to begin preparations for Sunday's NFC title game at New Orleans. Toward the end of the media access, linebacker Chad Greenway also appeared to come up limping after taking part in an individual drill.
The media is only allowed to watch the start of practice so it's unclear if the situation with Greenway is a concern. We should know more later today when the Vikings issue their first injury report of the week.
The Vikings also held numerous news conferences today, including one with quarterback Brett Favre.
Favre has said numerous times this season that the only reason he came back from his second shot at retirement was to get to the Super Bowl. But that doesn't mean Favre feels he has to prove anything. He made that clear today after being asked about the fact the last time he was in the Super Bowl the opposing quarterback was Denver's John Elway. Elway retired after the 1998 season.
"I came back for the opportunity in hopes of getting back to the Super Bowl. No doubt about it," Favre said. "People may think that I'm pulling their leg, but I really don't feel like there is anything left to prove. The thing with playing 19 years is, like you're saying with Elway being retired so long, people actually forget that I actually had success, had been in the Super Bowl. I have to remind them of that sometimes. 'Hey, I played in the Super Bowl.' [They're like], 'Really?'
"I guess I've played so long that I have to re-justify that I was actually a pretty good player at one time. I've played in the big game before. Actually, I was fortunate enough to win one. Unfortunately we lost one but I don't know if there are too many guys left in this league that were in those games [after the 1996 and 1997 seasons]."
Favre also said that while a partially torn biceps in his throwing arm derailed his season with the Jets last year that wasn't the sole reason he struggled.
"Last year I know I had that I had an injury and it's easy, as I've said, to say that I didn't play as well because of that. I think to a certain degree that may be true but more than anything I just didn't play as well as I could have down the stretch," he said. "An injury doesn't help. But I really didn't feel like I had to redeem myself. I knew that's not a good way to go out, but after I had the surgery and felt a little bit better I don't think there was ever a time in my mind where I didn't think about, 'Boy, it would be nice to win the Super Bowl.' Every guy wants to be a part of the Super Bowl. As you get older you appreciate it more, especially since you've been there. You know how difficult it is to get back. I don't care how good you are. I keep using Pittsburgh as an example and the Giants a couple of years ago. You never know, seize the moment and I'm just thankful for this opportunity. That was a big part of coming back but not the most important."
Favre will see a familiar face Sunday when the Vikings face the Saints in the NFC Championship Game. Saints safety Darren Sharper was a teammate of Favre's from 1997 to 2004 with the Green Bay Packers. Sharper then spent the following four seasons with the Vikings and often talked about getting a chance to pick off a Favre pass when Minnesota faced Green Bay.
So will Sharper have any advantage now facing a quarterback he knows very well?
"I played with him numerous years and he's one of those guys that was very instinctive as far as the talent is concerned," Favre said. "Sometimes watching film, like this past week's game, I'm going, 'Man, that guy moves around pretty good.' I see Darren and he looks physically as good as he has ever looked. But his instincts, those are the things you can't coach. He makes a lot of plays. The thought from people when you play a guy like Sharp is that you can trick him and get big plays. In all honesty, you really don't see that this year. Part of it is their rush and things like that. There's not a whole lot of time to throw. But he's playing very sound. That's not to say we can't make plays but I think all the factors have to be in line. We have to protect well, have to have the right play called, formation things. All that stuff has to be ... because he can decipher plays pretty quickly."
One final note, Favre admitted afterward that he "choked" while doing a rendition of "Pants on the Ground" after Sunday's game. Favre said he knew there were way more lyrics than what he got out during his attempt to sing. Here's the video if you haven't seen it. And if you haven't seen it, you haven't been paying attention because this video is everywhere.