Vikings 38, Packers 26

Favre’s the big cheese

He has 4 TDs in Lambeau return

By Chris Jenkins
Associated Press / November 2, 2009

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GREEN BAY, Wis. - Brett Favre jogged out of the tunnel in a purple helmet. He might as well have been wearing a black hat.

No, Favre didn’t seem to relish playing the villain in his return to Lambeau Field. But it was going to take more than a chorus of boos to throw him off his game.

For the second time in less than a month, Favre sliced up his former team and stuck it to the franchise that cast him aside as the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers, 38-26, yesterday. Despite being jeered repeatedly by Packers fans who once cheered his every move, Favre completed 17 of 28 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.

“Packer fans cheer for the Packers first,’’ Favre said. “I know that. But I hope that everyone in the stadium watching tonight said, ‘I sure hate those jokers on the other side, but he does play the way he’s always played.’ ’’

High-stakes, emotional drama aside, this much is clear: The Vikings (7-1) took a firm hold on the NFC North standings.

But given the raw tension between Favre, the Packers’ front office, and the fans who felt betrayed when their favorite player came out of retirement - again - to join their rival, cornerback Charles Woodson acknowledged the game was significant beyond the division standings.

“I think it was disappointing for a lot of people,’’ Woodson said. “It’s just a loss, but I think a lot of people really wanted this one bad. We let a lot of people down today.’’

Under less dramatic circumstances, rookie receiver Percy Harvin would have been the star after catching five passes for 84 yards and a TD and returning five kicks for 175 yards.

The Vikings’ defense roughed up Favre’s successor, Aaron Rodgers, sacking him six times. But with the Packers (4-3) on the verge of getting routed, Rodgers rebounded.

Rodgers threw for only 38 yards in the first half but finished with 287 yards and three TDs.

“I hate losing to whoever’s at quarterback for them,’’ Rodgers said. “I hate losing to the Vikings.’’

The Packers recognize that their chances of winning the division are fading, but they still can compete for the wild card. And they could see the Vikings again in the playoffs.

“Hopefully, we’ll have another crack at these guys down the road,’’ Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

Favre left the field surrounded by cameras, pumping his fist to a mix of cheers and boos as he jogged down the tunnel, stopping to hug a few former teammates.

Vikings coach Brad Childress said Favre did a great job of staying “in body,’’ not letting the charged atmosphere get the best of him.

If Favre didn’t realize the extent to which Packers fans have turned on him, he does now. But he said that doesn’t diminish his accomplishments as a Packer - in his mind, anyway.

“What I’ve done here speaks for itself,’’ Favre said. “What I was part of was awesome. That will never change.’’

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