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Favre emotion to reach its peak today

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Brett Favre will run out of the Lambeau Field tunnel wearing purple, and nobody really knows how Green Bay Packers fans will react.

Brett Favre
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) returns to Lambeau Field for the first time as an opposing player. Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Brett Favre will run out of the Lambeau Field tunnel wearing purple, and nobody really knows how Green Bay Packers fans will react.

But if the angry buzz generated by the mere appearance of in-stadium video highlights of Favre and the Vikings during the first few Packers home games is any indication, the once-beloved face of the franchise will be booed. Loudly.

The tempest of emotion leading to today's Vikings-Packers game could make for one of the most awkward homecomings in sports history. Favre, perhaps the league's most emotion-driven player, will try to tune it all out.

"The people that have jumped ship or whatever completely, what can I do?" Favre said. "I'm not going to concern myself with it."

That makes one of us.

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Everybody else is ready for some great sports theater.

Joe Montana faced the 49ers as a Chief. Michael Jordan faced the Bulls as a Wizard. Heck, Favre already faced the Packers - and beat them - at his new home, the Metrodome, less than a month ago.

But as Favre returns to the scene of his surreal standoff with the Packers' front office last summer, it's hard to imagine a more intense setting.

Favre has been booed before at Lambeau, something that's bound to happen when you're the NFL's career interceptions leader - even in mild-mannered Green Bay. And that, Favre said, felt like "kind of a kick in the stomach."

Bring it on, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen says.

"They might still like Brett, but they're Packer fans," Allen said. "They're going to boo the Minnesota Vikings. It's not going to hurt my feelings. They're not going to make me cry. As a matter of fact, I expect good harsh ripping-on. I want to hear some funny stuff out there."

And while it's only Week 8, the stakes couldn't be much higher for both teams.

With a victory, the Vikings take a huge step toward putting the NFC North out of reach. A Packers win makes the division race tight.

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Then there's the snap-judgment factor: If Favre wins, he'll complete a season sweep over his former team and stick it to the man who traded him, Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

But if Favre melts down in a flurry of interceptions and the Packers win behind another strong performance by Aaron Rodgers, it will be seen as a sign Thompson and Packers coach Mike McCarthy knew what they were doing all along.

Neither Favre nor McCarthy spent this week revisiting last year's dispute, which began when Favre suddenly told the team he wanted to come out of retirement last summer - after asking for, then abruptly turning down, a chance to come back to the team earlier that offseason.

Increasing public tension between Favre and the Packers' front office during training camp in 2008 eventually led to a sit-down meeting between Favre and McCarthy, and McCarthy determined Favre wasn't in the right "mindset" to return.

McCarthy never fully explained what he meant, but did say earlier this year that Favre expressed a desire to play for the Vikings at the time.

Favre instead was traded to the New York Jets, retired again after last season, then unretired again to sign with the Vikings. Favre said this week that it's "probably best that things worked out the way they did," and McCarthy agreed.

"As far as his situation over there, and if he's happy, that's great," McCarthy said. "But going back to that time for everybody, really in my view it has nothing to do with (Sunday's) game."

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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