A year ago, quarterback Sage Rosenfels was in a Vikings uniform and watched Brett Favre complete 25 of 31 passes for 316 yards, four touchdowns and a 148.7 passer rating in a 44-7 victory over the New York Giants.

After being traded to the Giants on Sept. 4, Rosenfels will be on the opposite side Sunday at Mall of America Field. The Giants have an 8-4 record, compared to the Vikings at 5-7, and are favored to win this game by 2 1/2 points.

One reason the Giants are favored is they have a healthy quarterback in Eli Manning, while the Vikings won't make a decision on whether Favre is healthy enough to play until game time. But Manning is 0-4 against the Vikings.

Rosenfels has a lot of respect for both quarterbacks.

"I'll tell you what, [Manning] is a very good player, and his greatest strength is his mind," Rosenfels said. "He's a very smart player. He really understands how to pick up blitzes very well and he understands the strengths or weaknesses of this offense. He's pretty much been in the same offense for seven years so he knows it inside and out, and our team sure goes by the way Eli plays. I think he's played very well this year."

Rosenfels, who loved it here and didn't want to get traded and maybe shouldn't have been, said this about the Giants: "When we don't beat ourselves, we feel like we're a tough team to beat. The times that we've lost this year is when we've hurt ourselves with turnovers and things like that. When we're playing good football, we feel like we can beat anybody in the league; when we're not playing good, we can lose to anybody in the league. That's why the NFL is so exciting."

The Giants have won two in a row, beating the Jaguars and Redskins after losing to the Cowboys and Eagles.

"We know this is a huge stretch for us," Rosenfels said. "[The Vikings] are as good as any team we've played this year. They're so sound in their scheme that you know no one is really doing much on them. It's going to be a huge, huge challenge for us this week."

Rosenfels said "our defense has really done a nice job this year and they're doing a good job of stopping the run so far. But [the Giants] also haven't seen Adrian Peterson and obviously that's the challenge of the week is to try and stop Adrian. He's been really running well the last few weeks and hopefully we can slow him down."

Rosenfels added that "the Giants are using some of my ideas or experiences that I've had with different teams and things I've learned from other quarterbacks around the league, things I've learned from Brett. There's a few things that we've put in the offense that I think have helped us."

Rosenfels -- who has played only a few snaps this season but is holding on field goal and extra-point attempts, something he hasn't done since college -- said some of his knowledge of the Vikings might be helpful to the Giants, but only to a point.

"Well, yeah, there's always a few things you can do, but the thing about the Vikings is that their personnel is so good," he said. "I can tell them all I want, but if you can't stop Adrian Peterson running the ball, none of my tidbits are going to help out at all. So you know [it's] a big challenge offensively and defensively this week, and we'll see what happens."


• Wolves forward Kevin Love continues to put up great scoring and rebounding numbers. He is averaging 20.1 points and 15.5 rebounds, and the last person to average 20 and 15 for an entire season was Philadelphia's Moses Malone in 1982-83. Love has 17 double-doubles this season, which ties the Lakers' Pau Gasol for the league lead, and has posted a double-double in his past eight games. He also has grabbed 15 or more rebounds in his past eight games. Only Kevin Garnett posted more 20-20 games in a season for the Wolves (six in 2003-04) than Love, who already has five such games this year.

• With the success the University of St. Thomas athletics teams have enjoyed in recent years, there have been suggestions from alumni that the school follow some of the North Dakota and South Dakota schools and consider jumping to Division I. But Mark Dienhart, St. Thomas executive vice president and chief administrative officer, said the school trustees have discussed both starting a medical school and going to Division I in athletics, but have decided not to do either for the present.

• Dienhart was the Gophers athletic director from 1995-2000, and he remembers calling Jim Tressel when he was the Youngstown (Ohio) State football coach before Dienhart hired Glen Mason. Tressel, who eventually became head coach at Ohio State in 2001, had no interest in taking the Gophers job.

• All I have heard from different sources is good things about Jerry Kill since he was named Gophers football coach.

• With three Texas coaches stepping down, rumors are that Tim Brewster, who was on Texas coach Mack Brown's staff at North Carolina and Texas, could rejoin the Longhorns.

• Derek Mason, who was assistant defensive backs coach with the Vikings for three seasons before joining Jim Harbaugh's Stanford staff in February as defensive backfield coach, has helped the Cardinal to an 11-1 record and a berth in the Orange Bowl.

• Former Gopher Jordan Schroeder has five goals and eight assists in 24 games for Manitoba of the AHL. He had two goals in his past four games and had three goals and three assists in November. ... For Rockford of the AHL, former Gophers Ryan Potulny is tied for the team lead in scoring (seven goals and nine assists in 23 games) and Jeff Taffe is third (six goals and eight assists in 19 games). Former Gopher Nick Leddy has two goals and seven assists in 19 games for the IceHogs.

• Ricky Rubio had one of his best games this season for Regal FC Barcelona on Wednesday night. Playing a team-high 28 minutes, Rubio scored 10 points to go along with 10 assists, four rebounds and three steals in the team's 75-69 victory over Fenerbahce Ulker. Through eight games in the Euroleague, Rubio is averaging 7.3 points and 3.8 assists per game.

• Former Gopher Lawrence Westbrook is playing for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League and has started two games while appearing in four. Westbrook is averaging 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

• Gophers transfer Paul Carter is the second-leading scorer for Illinois-Chicago this season at 14.4 points per game. He is also leading the team in rebounds with eight per game. The Flames are 4-5 overall.

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