The end of the year doesn't mean the end of the line for Brett Favre. The Minnesota Vikings quarterback says anybody who expects him to take another tailspin -- as he did late last season with the New York Jets -- is sorely mistaken.
"I don't think I'm falling apart in December like most people seem to think," said Favre, whose team needs to win at Carolina tonight to clinch the NFC North title. "I don't feel much different than most guys in that locker room at this stage of the season. In fact, I may be better off in that I haven't been hit. I feel pretty good."
In his one go-round with the Jets last season, Favre battled arm problems down the stretch, and the team that started 8-3 lost four of its final five and missed the playoffs. He had nine passes intercepted during that slide.
There have been some struggles for the Vikings star lately. After only three of his passes were intercepted in the first 11 games, three more have been picked off in the last two. And in a 20-10 home victory over Cincinnati last Sunday, Favre threw for 192 yards -- the first time since September he has totaled fewer than 200. Still, there's very little comparison between this season and last.
Favre is in an offensive system he knows far better, and he's surrounded by a vastly superior supporting cast. The Vikings have already secured a spot in the playoffs and have won five of six. Also, Favre might be getting one of his favorite targets back. Rookie receiver Percy Harvin has a 50-50 chance to play after sitting out last Sunday because of migraines. He is second on the team with 681 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
"Percy obviously is a dynamic player and threatens the defense," Favre said. "It's just not the same [without him]. . . . When he's not in there you see a different approach defensively."
As for Favre, he's taking the same approach he always has. Only this year -- as opposed to last -- he believes the results will be different.
-- Sam Farmer