Joe Webb's impressive performance in the Vikings' victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday night doesn't mean the rookie will be under center for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Interim coach Leslie Frazier said again today that if Brett Favre can pass his baseline neurological exam and a battery of other tests he would start in what figures to be the final game of his 20-year career.
“Yeah, if he’s cleared he hasn’t told me anything different," Frazier said when asked if Favre had expressed a desire to play. "We’ll see what happens medically but we’d love to see him play.”
This comes after Webb completed 17 of 26 passes for 195 yards in a 24-14 victory over the host Eagles. Webb was especially impressive in the second half. He led two scoring drives to open the third quarter, and completed a 19-yard pass to Percy Harvin on third-and-11 from the Eagles 47-yard line in the fourth quarter during a series that ended with Adrian Peterson's 1-yard touchdown run.
What isn't clear is just how far Favre has come in terms of improvement after suffering a concussion a week ago Monday night against the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium. Frazier said that Favre last took the baseline exam about three or four days ago and might take it again on Thursday. If Favre doesn't pass the exams, he can't play.
"We just got to the point where we just thought it was best once we got to, I think it was [last] Friday or Saturday, to let Joe run with it and we'd give it another try [later]," Frazier said. "Now we had no idea we wouldn't be back here on Monday at the time, but that's the way it goes."
Frazier did say that Favre's throwing shoulder is now fine. Favre's NFL record starting streak came to an end on Dec. 13 because of a sprained shoulder that caused numbness in his hand. "[There] have no inhibitions in that regard, no concerns," Frazier said. "At least they haven't been voiced to me that that was a concern, regarding his shoulder or his neck. So, right now, it’s all based on the concussion."
Asked how he would balance starting Favre over Webb, Frazier said: “It’s really not a hard decision for me. Brett is a terrific player, we feel very comfortable when he’s on the field that we have a great chance to win so you always want to put the guy out there who is going to give you the best chance to win. If Brett is healthy I think our entire team feels very confident that we have a great chance to win when he’s the starting quarterback. And nothing against Joe, Joe’s going to be a terrific player in our league but if Brett is able to go he’d be our starting quarterback.”
Regarding, the NFL's announcement today that it would fine Favre $50,000 for his failure to cooperate in the investigation as to whether the quarterback sent inappropriate text messages and photos to former Jets employee Jenn Sterger in 2008 when both were with the franchise, Frazier had little to say.
"It’s a league matter and really nothing I can speak to," he said. "The league is handling whatever needs to be handled. Our organization is extremely supportive of the league office, and things are where they are."
Because it was never something the Vikings could control, Frazier said he did not put a lot of his focus or energy into worrying about whether Favre would be fined or suspended. "I just knew it was something that was completely out of my control as well as our team's," he said. "Always just pulling for Brett and his family, and glad there's been a resolution."
Although owner Zygi Wilf wasn't at Tuesday's game, he did call Frazier to congratulate him on the victory. So did President Mark Wilf, who wasn't in attendance. But there is still no word yet on whether Frazier will have the interim title removed.
Frazier is 3-2 since taking over the Vikings in late November after Brad Childress was fired.
"I'm sure we'll talk here pretty soon," about the future, Frazier said. "We're wrapping the season up now. Hopefully real soon."
Asked if the plan has been to talk after the Detroit game on Sunday, Frazier said: "There was never a stipulation. Just the fact that you've got one more game to go now. It will probably happen pretty soon now. But parameters were never given, whether after week 4, week 5 or week 6."
- Wide receiver Sidney Rice and linebacker Erin Henderson both suffered concussions on Tuesday and it's uncertain if they will be ready to play Sunday at Detroit.
Cornerback Asher Allen suffered an injury to his abdomen Tuesday. "We'll have to see how he does as the week goes on," Frazier said. "Short week this week against a much improved Detroit Lions football team but we definitely are facing a short week.” In fact, the Vikings will only have two days of practice after being off Wednesday.
Running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 118 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown Tuesday despite the fact he banged up his already bruised knee on his first carry of the game. "We’ll have to keep an eye on him during the course of the week because the very first contact he got was right in that spot, so we’ll have to see how he goes," Frazier said. "He played terrific even with that injury, so we’ll see what happens the rest of this week."
The Lions held their usual Wednesday practice. Their injury report included cornerbacks Tye Hill (illness) and Chris Houston (shoulder), did not participate; wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), did not participate; linebacker Landon Johnson (concussion), did not participate; running back Jahvid Best (toe), limited; defensive end Lawrence Jackson (groin), limited; and quarterback Drew Stanton (left shoulder), limited.
The Vikings issued an injury report with projections of what players would or wouldn't have done if there had been a practice. Allen (abdomen), would not have practiced; Favre (concussion), would not have practiced; Erin Henderson (concussion), would not have practiced; Rice (concussion), would not have practiced; fullback Naufahu Tahi (ankle), would not have practiced; safety Madieu Williams (concussion), would not have practiced; safety Tyrell Johnson (knee), would have been limited; running back Adrian Peterson (knee), would have been limited.