Early this past week, Brett Favre said he was confident he was going to play despite his serious ankle injury suffered in the Packers game. By later in the week, he went further, saying he was definitely going to play.

But this is one decision that coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will make after Favre shows how he moves in the pregame workout.

In Green Bay, people who watched Favre never miss a game and watched his consecutive-games streak stretch to 291 are also watching as he prepares to face the Patriots on Sunday

Packers Vice President Andre Brandt told the Boston Globe: "I can't even recall how many times it looked like there was no way he would play earlier in the [practice], and by the end of the week he always found a way to come around."

In 1995, former Packers Pro Bowl defensive back LeRoy Butler said that Favre's then-injured ankle was so many colors they called it the "rainbow ankle." "The thing had so many colors, but he kept saying 'I'm playing.' And I knew he would," Butler recalled. "He's the toughest guy I ever played with."

On that "rainbow ankle" Favre completed 25 of 33 passes for 336 yards and five touchdowns in a victory over the Bears.

Former Packers receiver Antonio Freeman also recalled the thumb sprain that Favre played with throughout the 1999 season. He originally hurt it in an exhibition game and then reinjured in the Oakland opener.

"He couldn't even palm a football all week," Freeman told the Globe. "He is one tough son of a gun. If there is any way possible for him to walk on the field or limp onto the field, he's going to play."

In 2002 in Green Bay, he had a sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee that was so debilitating that he had to be helped off the field. Well, he completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 538 yards to win the next two games.

Butler told the Globe that the common misconception about Favre that he is only worried about the streak and that will compel him to take the field against the Patriots.

"If he looks in his teammates' eyes, he has to be there for them," Butler said. "That is why he plays every Sunday. That is why he said yes when the three Viking players asked him to come back this season."

You can rest assured that if Childress gives Favre the word that he isn't starting, he will be on his hands and knees begging and trying to convince the Vikings coach to give him a chance -- and replace him only if he can't do the job.

Favre wants to be the outstanding quarterback on the field on Sunday, and not Tom Brady, who killed the Vikings in a 2006 Monday night game 31-7. Brady completed 29 of 43 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns, and he'll do it again if the Vikings don't rediscover the pass rush they had a year ago.

Could be 6-0

The Vikings could be 6-0 rather than 2-4 after losing four games by a total of 22 points. They aren't as bad a football team as some members of the media make them out to be.

It's not that they haven't competed well in every one of those losses.

However, a year ago they found a way to make that big play, like the last-minute touchdown catch by Greg Lewis against the 49ers. This year, that hasn't been the case, falling 14-9 to the Saints, 14-10 to the Dolphins, 29-20 to the Jets and 28-24 to the Packers.

One play in every one of those games could have meant victory for the Vikings.

Trestman considered

Before Glen Mason was hired in 1997 as Gophers football coach, Mark Dienhart, then the Gophers athletic director, flew to San Francisco to interview Marc Trestman for the job. Trestman at the time was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers.

"I hired Mason because he had more experience," Dienhart said the other day.

Trestman is now in his second year as coach of the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes. They have a 12-5 record, leading the league, with one game to play against Toronto before having a bye when the playoffs open. Visiting with Trestman on Saturday, he refused to even discuss the Gophers opening under any circumstances.

"Right now I'm concentrating on coaching my team and nothing else," he said.

There is a group of former Gophers pushing Trestman for the job. However, he has a real good deal at Montreal, and only time will tell if he is contacted by the Gophers.

Bad experience

It was bad timing when this message flashed on the TCF Bank Stadium scoreboard: "We want to hear about your experience."

To tell the truth, the experience for the 48,717 fans was amazing as a strong, talented Ohio State football team combined a blocked punt, two intercepted passes, two fumbles and other assorted Gophers errors to win 52-10.

Unfortunately for the Gophers, their next three opponents -- at Michigan State, at Illinois and here vs. Iowa -- could dominate them almost as badly.

So this is going to be a 1-11 football team unless it catches some team off guard.

Let's face it: This is a young, inexperienced team, and on the basis of what's been seen so far, doesn't have a lot of talent except for very few players.


University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks said the school definitely will appeal what he calls the unreasonable ruling on the lawsuit in which basketball coach Jimmy Williams claimed he quit his assistant coaching job at Oklahoma State because he was hired by Gophers coach Tubby Smith. The original ruling was for Williams to get $1.25 million, and then it was reduced to $1 million.

Tom Brunansky, former star right fielder for the Twins, was named hitting coach at Class AA New Britain. Brunansky joined the staff at the Twins' Gulf Coast League rookie team this year.

The Patriots actually had an early connection here in 1960 when then-coach Lou Saban staged a tryout camp here for the original American Football League team and signed five former Gophers: Bob Soltis, Bobby Cox, Gordie Holz, Bob McNamara and Gino Cappeletti. All went to training camp with the Patriots, but McNamara was traded to Denver the first week of training camp. Cappelletti spent 11 years as a player with the Patriots and is now in his 30th year as a radio broadcaster for the team

Former Gophers and major league pitcher Jim Brower was named the pitching coach of the Kansas City Royals' Kane County farm team in the Class A Midwest League.

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