The 40-year-old quarterback who has created so much "Favre magic" is headed for a career hat trick.
Brett Favre appears to be coming back for a third time since announcing his NFL retirement in 2008.
Favre flew to Minnesota on Tuesday aboard a private jet, along with three Vikings teammates dispatched to Hattiesburg, Miss., to plead for his return.
A year ago, it was Vikings Coach Brad Childress who chauffeured the quarterback back to team headquarters. This time it was Minnesota kicker Ryan Longwell, Favre's close friend since their days together with Green Bay. Three helicopters from local television stations hovered over Longwell's black BMW SUV on the drive to the facility.
Still, as of Tuesday evening, there was no official statement from the team or Favre. On the quarterback's website was a message reading "stay tuned for breaking news from the Minnesota Vikings today on Brett Favre's possible return."
Minnesota receiver Bernard Berrian, whose team came within one victory of a Super Bowl trip with the three-time NFL most valuable player at quarterback last season, tweeted: "Brett Favre for President!!"
The Vikings did issue a media schedule for Wednesday, saying that Childress will hold his regular news conference following practice, and that "media availability with QB Brett Favre is to be determined."
This month, Favre told Vikings teammates and officials that his surgically repaired ankle — injured in the NFC championship game loss at New Orleans — hadn't healed sufficiently for him to come back.
No one knew exactly how to interpret that, though, because of what happened a year ago. Last summer, on the eve of training camp and a few months after surgery on his throwing arm, he told the Vikings that he was going to stay retired. He decided to return, however, the Tuesday after their first exhibition game.
The timing of this was identical, seeing as the Vikings are once again coming off their exhibition opener. Longwell, defensive end Jared Allen and guard Steve Hutchinson formed the trio of Minnesota players who made the trip to Mississippi to ask Favre to come back.
Another Favre comeback wouldn't just please the Vikings; it would be very meaningful to the NFL too. The season opens Thursday, Sept. 9, when the Saints play host to Minnesota in a conference title game rematch. The marquee billing of New Orleans' Drew Brees against Favre has much more appeal than if either Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson were starting for the Vikings.
Cris Collinsworth, NBC's color analyst for the opener, believes the possibility of Favre calling it quits this summer was much more real than last summer — and not just because the quarterback is a year older.
"He's coming off of ankle surgery, and I'm sure he's wondering at 40 years old, 'What am I doing? What am I thinking?' " Collinsworth said. "He doesn't need the money.
"But this [Vikings] team is so good. In many ways, they were arguably the best team in the NFL last year. They were on the road, in the championship game against the eventual world champions, to turn it over five times and still be a 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty away from lining up to kick the game-winning field goal to go to the Super Bowl themselves."
Collinsworth said it "had to be pulling on" Favre to go out the way of Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, who ended his career with Super Bowl victories in consecutive years.
"The Elway standard," Collinsworth said, "is the one that they all live for."