OK, so there can't really be a "meaningful" preseason game. Still, the third of four is traditionally the one where the starters play the longest and we learn some things. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts from last night:

*Brad Childress' Beard (and yes, the second B is capitalized in this case because that patch of facial hair is a proper noun not associated with the rest of Childress) is really starting to grow on us, just as it has grown on him. At first, we thought it made him look foolish and crazy (like "a fake Eric Clapton," one friend said a couple of weeks back). But now we have to say it makes him look a little meaner and a little more authoritative. Notice how, in the picture, he absolutely dresses down a player who has the audacity to question his Beard. That, folks, is leadership.

*Say what you will about the Wildcat formation and how much Percy Harvin might potentially dazzle running it a few times a game. This gimmicky thing is not made for a nearly 40 QB who may or may not have a cracked rib. If we never see Brett Favre split out left, delivering an illegal crack back block to negate a 2-yard gain ever again, the world will be a better place. Put that thing away as long as Favre is running the show, lest we see his bones shattered and turned to dust.

*Overall, Favre looked decent -- obviously much better than he did in his first game. There's still some rust on his game, but he made some nice throws and showed he still has good elusiveness and pocket presence to step up and make plays even when flushed a little. The biggest thing is that he gives you a bona fide chance on 3rd-and-7. That feeling hasn't existed for a while around here, unless your definition of chance is "three-yard gain on a dumpoff."

*A nitpick on Harvin: for the second straight game, he ran a third down route about half a yard shy of the first down marker. Those are good rookie mistakes to make in the preseason because hopefully they will not happen again in the regular season. Allow some cushion for the comeback, Percy. Don't run right to the stick and stop.

*The defense looked formidable as well. Where does the group of E.J. Henderson, Chad Greenway and Ben Leber rank among NFL linebacking trios? That's a very strong group, and perhaps a little underrated.

*We watched at Liquor Lyle's with a crew of five. The place was pretty full, and every TV (that we saw) had the Vikings game on with the exception of one small one in the corner that had the Twins game on. Yes, a preseason game trumped a game that got the local 9 within 3.5 games of the division lead late in the season. Speaking of which: have the Twins sucked you back in yet?


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Another wayward player -- this time Pacman Jones -- heads to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers