Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Favre honored to be mentioned with Lewis

Posted by: under Vikings offense, Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre Updated: October 14, 2009 - 2:12 PM

Brett Favre and Ray Lewis might play on opposite sides of the football but the veterans can be compared based on their longevity and leadership. Favre, for one, is honored to hear the comparison.

"To be mentioned with a guy like Ray, the same breath, I'm honored by that," Favre said today in his mid-week news conference. "Because I've played longer, that's never affected me. I'm honored to play with Adrian Peterson. I think the guy is a tremendous player. He's very humble. Now, I've never played with Ray. I've played against him, of course, watched him. He's more vocal than I am, way more vocal. He's one of those who backs up what he's saying. There's a lot of guys who talk the talk, don't walk the walk. He's one of them that walks it. Trust me, to have passion like he does, -- I like to think like I do -- play in, play out, week in, week out. Do you have bad games? Sure. Do you have bad days of practice where you don't feel like talking to anybody? Absolutely.

"But when you need him or when things kind of go astray who do you turn to? And it's never necessarily even turn to. He'll get your attention. It's something you can't coach and very few players have that ability to kind of right the ship when needed. He's one of those players. It would be a blast to play with him I would really think. It's just his energy and passion and that's a fun thing to be around. And you can't fake it. You can only fake it for so long. He doesn't fake it. So from a leadership standpoint, I don't know how you would compare it [between us]. I would think that our passion for the game would be very similar and he's playing great. Watch him on film. Does he get beat sometimes? Who doesn't? ... It's sort of like [Ravens safety] Ed Reed in that sometimes maybe the scheme calls for him to drop yet he rushes based on what he sees. That's stuff you can't coach and he's got it."

Favre, by the way, is in his 19th season and Lewis is in his 14th year.

Other notes of interest from Favre's presser:

On the NFL's emphasis on roughing the passer calls: "I'm all for protecting the quarterback, but I think it's something that maybe has been over-emphasized a little bit because there are some [calls] that are very questionable. I understand why they are doing it, I'm a quarterback, too. But it's tough when it may determine the outcome of a game and it's not as obvious as you may think it is."

On the test the Ravens defense will present Sunday, despite the fact it is ranked 26th in the NFL against the pass: "Numbers are so deceiving. I'll be the first to tell you that. Statistics are so one-sided. A ton of those yards are like San Diego [when the Ravens gave up 436 yards in Week 2]. And one play was to Darren Sproles and he goes 80 or whatever and it's just a little schematic thing that they had seen. They knew they could get [linebacker Terrell] Suggs or guess on coverage. He's obviously a great rusher. So there's 80 yards right there. They had a couple late in the game. But Baltimore wins the game and they really got San Diego one dimensional. If you throw it enough times you're going to get some big plays but also you're going to give up some. ... They are very physical. Probably up to this point I would say the most physical team we're going to play. Do they get out of position sometimes because of their scheme? Sure.

"Now, finding that opening, in some ways you almost have to get lucky. A big part of this game is luck because what you see is not what you get with them. If they line up here, [that doesn't] mean this is coming. They are a little unorthodox that way. In some ways from a third down or a nickel standpoint it's like Green Bay, it's like San Francisco a little bit. They give you some exotic looks on defense and they are willing to kind of roll the dice some. Ed Reed is one of those ballhawks. You go, 'Why is he over there?'

"He's reading eyes or he's route reading. Does he get out of place sometimes? Sure. I go sometimes on a read where I'm supposed to go here, I go right there. At times I have no answer for why. It's just what you see and instincts. That's what a guy like Ray Lewis does, that's what a guy like Ed Reed does. So they are going to give up some plays but yet they are going to make a bunch, too. Those last two games [losses to New England and Cincinnati] they very easily could have won, just as easily as we could have lost to San Francisco. As always, you play Baltimore you better get ready."

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