Brett Favre will start for Vikings

Updated: December 20, 2010, 7:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- So maybe Brett Favre isn't quite done yet.

The Minnesota Vikings said the 41-year-old quarterback will start Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears, at snowy TCF Bank Stadium on what's expected to be a slippery, rock-hard surface.

While Favre is making a surprise start, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was ruled a late scratch due to lingering ankle and knee injuries.

Favre came out at approximately 6:15 ET to throw passes and test his sprained right shoulder. Standing next to Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Favre first started throwing 10-yard passes and then he backed up and threw one pass about 30 yards before huddling with trainers and coaches and walking off the field. He missed last week's game against the Giants, ending his NFL-record streak of consecutive starts at 297.

The team announced on its website that Favre's status was changed from "out" to "questionable" earlier in the day and at 7 ET announced via Twitter that he will start.

Team officials informed the NFL and the Bears on Monday morning that Favre was feeling better and would try to play.

Favre is skeptical but curious, sources told ESPN's Ed Werder. He woke up this morning with the gut feeling that he might be able to play and decided to act upon it. He spoke with interim head coach Leslie Frazier and trainer Eric Sugarman and it was decided he would throw pregame.

Favre was on the first Vikings buses arriving at the stadium.

"I don't want this to be a huge deal but I feel I owe it to people to see if I can play,'' Favre told his teammates, according to sources.

Some will no doubt interpret this as Favre's ego intruding on his better judgment. Favre believes it is another demonstration of his commitment to his team and his love of the game.

Those close to Favre describe him as being conflicted about what to do. They say he views this situation as similar to the angst he felt about reversing his decision to retire after last season. Just as Favre wondered then what he might be capable of, he has those same questions now. He would wonder how he feels if he retired again without at least trying to play these final few games.

Favre hoped his abrupt decision might not overshadow the game itself or what was expected to be rookie quarterback Joe Webb's first NFL start.

Two days ago, Favre attempted to throw, just 10- to 15-yard passes to Sugerman, but he experienced pain and almost immediately stopped. Those attempts were described as "awkward and painful."

"Brett Favre attempted to throw the football two days ago and was unable to, due to pain in the SC joint and residual numbness from a brachial plexus injury," Sugarman said Monday in a statement issued by the team. "He declared himself out at that time. He woke up this morning feeling much improved. His symptoms and function have improved dramatically over the past 24 hours.

"In fairness to him and his team, he would like to be given the opportunity to play tonight if physically able."

Favre has attended meetings and mentored Webb this week but has not thrown a single pass to a Vikings receiver this week.

Favre said his shoulder feels significantly better and the numbness in his right hand has subsided, but he still has tingling in his fingers.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said there is nothing in the rules that prevents the Vikings, or any other team, from changing a player's injury report designation.

"If a player's medical status changes during the course of the week, the club must update his playing status accordingly prior to the game," Aiello said. "That is what the Vikings did when Brett's status changed today."

Favre was blindsided by Bills linebacker Arthur Moats and drilled into the turf on Dec. 5.

Favre watched practice again all week, and the team signed veteran Patrick Ramsey as an insurance policy after placing No. 2 backup Tarvaris Jackson on injured reserve.

But, it's Favre and things can change.

The Vikings and Bears are playing at the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium because the Metrodome's roof collapsed last weekend after a heavy snowstorm. The roof's failure caused the Vikings-Giants game to be moved to Detroit, but the university was able to get its two-year-old stadium ready to host the Bears.

Snow started steadily falling in the Twin Cities on Monday afternoon and forecasts called for wind-chill temperatures well below zero by game time, conditions that Favre got to know well during 16 years with the Green Bay Packers.

The Vikings also placed left guard Steve Hutchinson on injured reserve with a broken right thumb, ending his season, and signed quarterback R.J. Archer from the practice squad.

Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from ESPNChicago.com Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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