Like it or not, the Packers' setting is special

  • Article by: Mark Craig
  • Star Tribune
  • August 8, 2007 - 1:03 AM

GREEN BAY, WIS. - Sorry, Vikings fans. But if one must attend an NFL training camp, it doesn't get any better than standing in the shadows of the Don Hutson Center, looking onto Clarke Hinkle Field as Lambeau Field towers majestically in the background.

From the classic uniforms to the festival atmosphere to Lombardi-era tradition of players pedaling bikes to and from practice with the young owners of those bikes riding along, the place feels more like a museum than an NFL workplace.

OK. Enough of the sappy stuff. Now, what about the 2007 Packers?

Well, they look solid defensively. The offensive line should be strong. And there are obvious question marks at tight end, receiver, fullback and running back. And, oh yeah, that Favre fella turns 38 in October, which explains why his presence wasn't required at Tuesday's morning practice. He practiced Tuesday night in pads under the portable lights.

While the Packers would love to send Favre out with a second Super Bowl title (yes, he will retire ... someday), they also realize the Green Bay Packers will go on without Favre, just like they went on without Bart Starr 35 years ago.

The Packers surrounded Favre with the youngest team in the NFL last season. They went 8-8, which was pretty good. Then, in April, they used the 16th overall draft pick on Tennessee defensive tackle Justin Harrell, who missed most of his senior season because of an injury.

While NFC North rivals Chicago (Greg Olsen), Detroit (Calvin Johnson) and the Vikings (Adrian Peterson) are expecting an immediate offensive impact from their first-round picks, the Packers are patiently working the 6-4, 310-pound Harrell with the third-team defense alongside undrafted rookie Daniel Muir of Kent State.

"We like Justin quite a bit, but he wasn't in the best of shape coming in, which happens sometimes with these big fellas," Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said. "But he's working his way into shape. He's doing a good job. We believe strongly that you win with your offensive and defensive lines."

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