This week will likely be the last of Brett Favre's four grudge games against Green Bay since he shook up the sports world by signing with former rival Minnesota more than a year ago.
If Favre and the Vikings (3-6) aren't victorious on Sunday, well, the NFC playoffs will probably take place without any purple.
This season has been so strange, though, and so frustrating for Favre and his teammates that the rematch against the Packers (6-3) appears to offer far less drama than all the other subplots surrounding the 41-year-old quarterback and his underperforming team. The NFL, after all, at some point will announce the findings of its investigation into allegations that Favre sent texts and lewd photos to a female Jets employee two years ago.
"We can't be concerned about anything else but winning the football game," Favre said, addressing a question about whether finality is on his mind this week. "There's no time to think about those types of things."
Favre has produced 21 of Minnesota's 23 turnovers nine games into the season, and his 72.2 passer rating — stuck near the bottom of the rankings all year — is 30th in the league. The only mark lower in his 20-plus NFL seasons was 70.9 in 2005.
"The question's been asked, it seems like every week: 'You glad you came back?' I am," Favre said. "Am I pleased with the way the season has gone up to this point? Absolutely not. But there's still some hope left, but that is diminishing. We'll put what's happened up to this point in the past and see if we can change it."
Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked Wednesday to spell out why he still feels Favre is the team's best bet to run the offense.
"Knowledge of the system, the way he plays the game, the way he's able to throw the football," Childress said, then pointing to Favre's 446-yard output in the comeback win over Arizona the week before last Sunday's loss at Chicago.
He added: "It's the same reason that he came back here in the first place, because I feel like we have a chance to win and score the most points with him in the game."
Childress, who was sharply critical of Favre's interceptions following last month's loss to the Packers, refused to fault him for any of his three picked-off passes against the Bears. In fact, Childress — while acknowledging he'd always like to "coach those out" of his quarterbacks — essentially chalked up all the turnovers up to Favre's aggressive style.
"Those guys have to live on the edge," Childress said.
Favre defended his accuracy in last week's 27-13 loss. On two of his interceptions, his intended receiver slipped on the grass as the ball arrived. The other one, intended for Percy Harvin, was tipped at the line.
"What can you do? If Percy catches that ball he may go for 30," Favre said. "He did the week before on a similar-type play. I don't know if it has anything to do with the receivers. It would be easy to point to that. Were we off a little bit on some other plays? Yeah, probably so."
Favre threw 24 interceptions in 1993, 23 each in 1998 and 1999 and 29 in 2005, so he's endured these turnover rashes before. But he said he doesn't typically alter his approach in such stretches.
"If anything, the last few years I've probably become more conservative in situations like the other day," Favre said. "You've just got to play the game the same way. You've got to prepare yourself the same way. That hasn't changed. It won't change."
Playing with pain hasn't changed for Favre, either, who said his shoulder feels "OK" and that he's not "overly concerned" about it. It wasn't bad enough for the Vikings to list it on the injury report Wednesday, with his ankle and foot getting the only billing.
Childress termed Favre's soreness as a normal part of the recovery from the last game, and Favre took part in a limited portion of practice.