Brett Favre returns to Minnesota

Updated: August 18, 2010, 11:16 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Brett Favre is back in the building.

The 40-year-old quarterback returned to Minnesota on Tuesday, arriving in a private jet trimmed in the Vikings' purple and gold with three teammates -- guard Steve Hutchinson, defensive end Jared Allen and place-kicker Ryan Longwell -- who were sent to Hattiesburg, Miss., to bring him back for one more shot at a Super Bowl.

Longwell told ESPN's Rachel Nichols in a text message that Favre told the three he would play for the Vikings this season.

"We simply went down there to get an answer and after talking for a while, his answer was 'yes,'" Longwell said in the message. "He loves the guys in the locker room and is doing it for all of us."

This time around, Favre got a ride to Vikings headquarters from Longwell -- last year, when he joined Minnesota, head coach Brad Childress was at the wheel. Longwell's black BMW SUV was followed by three helicopters from local television stations and pulled into Vikings headquarters as dozens of fans cheered and photographers snapped pictures. At one point, Favre waved to the media and fans.

"Circus in Winter Park," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe tweeted.

Favre's website posted a message earlier saying "stay tuned for breaking news from the Minnesota Vikings today on Brett Favre's possible return."

"Brett Favre for President!!" receiver Bernard Berrian tweeted.

Presumably, Favre did not make the trip just to tell the Vikings he was retiring, but the team still had not given an official confirmation that the star quarterback will play this year. He is, however, under contract -- the second season in a two-year, $25 million deal.

"He didn't know we were coming," Longwell said in another text message to ESPN's Nichols. "We just asked if he had one more year. Not about wins or losses, but just for the guys in the locker room to have a blast for a year."

The Vikings issued a media schedule for Wednesday, announcing that Childress will hold his regular news conference following practice. The team also said that a "media availability with QB Brett Favre is to be determined."

Tarvaris Jackson was in line to be the starting quarterback if Favre had not returned, and he said after practice Tuesday that he wasn't bothered by hearing that some of his higher-profile teammates flew to Mississippi to try to woo Favre.

"I feel like if my number's called I'm going to be ready," Jackson said after practice. "And I'm going to continue to try to work hard and get better. That's all I can do."

The Vikings' urgency to get an answer from Favre turned to panic Monday when the quarterback was reluctant to report to the team this week and wouldn't give word if he was coming, sources told ESPN.com's John Clayton.

Favre will turn 41 in October and has flirted with retirement for years while playing for the Green Bay Packers, the New York Jets and now the Vikings. He threw 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season to help Minnesota reach the NFC title game.

The three-time MVP has been thinking about retirement again this year after injuring his ankle in the NFC Championship Game loss to the New Orleans Saints in January. He had surgery on his left ankle in June and told teammates and some team officials earlier in August that it wasn't sufficiently healed enough for him to return for a 20th NFL season.

Yet no one in the organization has fully bought into that -- partly because the Vikings went through a similar ordeal in 2009.

Last year, Favre told the team on the eve of training camp that he was going to stay retired only to return the Tuesday after Minnesota's first preseason game. The Vikings played their first exhibition game of 2010, a 28-7 win over the St. Louis Rams, on Saturday.

Favre proved last year that he didn't need all that extra sweating in training camp, delivering one of his finest seasons to lead the Vikings to the brink of the Super Bowl.

He took a beating at the Superdome, yet still threw for 310 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw two interceptions, the last one in Saints territory at the end of regulation that cost the team a chance a game-winning field-goal try.

In many ways, the Vikings' offense is in more disarray than a year ago, and the team needed Favre as quickly as possible. Percy Harvin was away from July 31 until Monday because of the deaths of two people who were close to him and because of his migraine headaches.

Adrian Peterson has missed most of camp with a hamstring injury. Sidney Rice is sidelined with a hip problem.

Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder earlier this month that he will play this season if healthy. The quarterback, who had ankle surgery in May, met with Dr. James Andrews last week to try to determine why the ankle is still bothering him.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert was used in this report.

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