Column: Old Favre just what Packers need

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 13, 2006

Jeff Budlong, On the Rebound

Sitting in the press box Sunday in the Metrodome watching him take the snaps, try to avoid defenders and look to make something out of nothing I was left with one thought. He should retire.

If I have said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times but the funny thing is it was the Vikings&8217; Brad Johnson who looked like he needed to be shown the quickest exit off the field and not the gunslinging, fun-loving Brett Favre who led his team into Minnesota and came away with a more convincing victory than the 23-17 victory would suggest.

Favre made the Vikings pay for their mistakes instead of making his own. When the Vikes put pressure on him &045; which was rare &045; he went to the safety valve to pick up what he could instead of trying to force something down the field.

Favre finished the day completing over 50 percent of his passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns. Sunday he was the playmaker who won three MVP awards in a row and not the turnover machine that showed up seemingly every Sunday last season.

He was having fun on the field and it showed in his play and to the delight of a significant Green Bay fan base in the stands.

What else did Farve have on Sunday? A go-to receiver in Donald Driver who broke away for an 82-yard TD pass from Favre late in the first half which broke the Vikings&8217; back after Minnesota had scored twice to take the lead at 14-10.

Even the Super Bowl champion knew this was a solid performance by a team trying to recapture its winning ways.

&8220;Considering how we were ineffective running the ball, which doesn&8217;t surprise me, I think it is

maybe the best win we have had here,&8221; Favre said.

While Favre looked like his youthful self, Johnson looked exactly like what he is &045; the oldest starting QB in the league. Johnson, although not helped by a high-priced offensive line, could not avoid the Packers&8217; pass rush throwing one bad pick and fumbling the ball on another occasion setting up a Green Bay touchdown.

There had been plenty of talk throughout the season about Johnson&8217;s lack of pay ranking him the lowest among NFL starters. However, the Vikings may have been wise in not committing major money to a 38-year-old.

The Minnesota offense can look rather stagnant with a immobile quarterback trying to run away from pressure, a wide receiver corps that is void of big playmakers and a running game more suited for the old Big 10 (3 yards and a cloud of dust) rather than the NFL. There is still plenty of season to go, but a young and mobile Tarvaris Jackson could do wonders for a team that just doesn’t score.

The Viking defense held up well but the Viking offense did not get anything going until its final drive of the game. Granted, Mewelde Moore&8217;s kick return for a touchdown may have been the spark the team needed to get rolling, but the block in the back kept everyone from ever knowing if that truly was the case.

Both teams now sit at 4-5 on the season but the record may be the only similarity between the two right now. The Pack seems to be gaining steam while the Vikes are slowing down.

At least for one Sunday, Favre looked fantastic getting a rare win in the Metrodome, while Johnson continues to look better suited for a backup role.

(Sports editor Jeff Budlong&8217;s weekly column runs each Wednesday.)