Notebook: Brett Favre doesn't sound optimistic about playing again
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Leslie Frazier isn't ruling out Brett Favre for Monday night, but the Minnesota Vikings' 41-year-old quarterback sure doesn't sound optimistic about being healthy enough to play then -- or the rest of the season, for that matter.
Favre said on Thursday he continues to experience discomfort and numbness in his right hand, stemming from shots on his throwing shoulder Nov. 28 at Washington and Dec. 5 against Buffalo.
He missed Monday's game against the New York Giants -- ending his consecutive-starts streak at 321 games -- and though an ultrasound the next day showed no nerve damage or blood clots, Favre said on Thursday he hadn't seen any change.
"I don't think it would even be wise to go out and throw and reaggravate it," said Favre, who repeatedly described the injury as a stinger. "So, it's a time situation."
Asked if he'll throw once the numbness goes away, Favre said, "I suppose. We are obviously running out of time. I totally agree with Leslie, we have talked in detail -- you have to get Joe (Webb) or whoever ready. I totally agree with that. I think you go in with that mindset, let him get those reps, and in the meantime, see how I feel."
Webb, the rookie sixth-round draft from UAB, took the first-team reps during the portion of practice reporters were allowed to watch on Thursday.
The Vikings put Tarvaris Jackson injured reserve because of ligament damage in his right big toe that would have sidelined him for at least four weeks, Frazier said. So, barring an unexpected development in Favre's recovery, Webb most likely will start on Monday against the Chicago Bears, with journeyman Patrick Ramsey -- signed off the street after a Wednesday workout -- serving as the lone backup.
"We'll see," Frazier said. "Just give it a couple of days and just see if things change. We'll see what happens."
Favre said he plans to stay with the team for the reason of the season regardless of his status, though he noted he "can't say I look forward to traveling any. Getting back at 3 in the morning for a home game the other day, I felt like I had played."
Favre was far more optimistic about the prospects of Webb, who injured a hamstring while blocking on the punt-return team Dec. 5 against Buffalo but was feeling well enough to get his first NFL action against the Giants.
Physically gifted and athletic at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Webb sealed his spot on the 53-man roster with an impressive preseason in which he went 17-for-30 passing for 191 yards with three touchdowns, one interception, a 95.3 passer rating and 126 yards on 11 rushes, including a 48-yard touchdown Aug. 22 at San Francisco.
He finished 2-of-5 passing for 7 yards over three relief stints on Monday and had a 16-yard scramble in the fourth quarter.
"I'm probably like most people -- I'm excited to see him," Favre said. "I love his attitude, his personality. There's no doubt the guy is as talented as they come. Raw as a passer. Made a great throw to Sidney (Rice) the other night. Had a nice run toward the end of the game. You could say, 'Ah, it's the end of the game,' but he's very capable of doing that. He's probably more dangerous with his feet than he is with his arm."
However, last week marked the first time since training camp Webb had run the Vikings' offense in practice, rather than running the scout team. He also hasn't played in anything close to the single-digit temperatures, leaving questions about how he and the Vikings offense will function in the most extended action of Webb's young career.
"It's a great opportunity," Webb said. "Monday Night Football -- you can't get no better than that. You've been dreaming that ever since you've been a little kid. Watching the game ever since you've been a little kid, and now I'm probably going to be a part of it -- love to take
advantage of it."
Staying on track
In Frazier's first 24 days as the Vikings' interim coach, he's lost four players to injured reserve, had his home stadium's roof collapse, coached a home game in Detroit and been left without his top two quarterbacks.
This week, he has to motivate a team that's been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention to play in single-digit temperatures on a field that as of Thursday remained frozen solid with a rookie quarterback -- and against a Chicago Bears team that could clinch the NFC North Division with a win.
"I don't know if this was part of the manual when they talked about being a head coach," Frazier said. "But the good thing is I think our players have handled things very well. And this will be a big test for us.
"Bouncing back from a tough loss against a very good (New York Giants) football team and then playing a (Chicago) team that has a chance to clinch the division, then our playing at home -- this will be a good test for all of us just to see where we are as a football team and the fact that we don't have the playoffs to play for. So, this will be a great barometer for us and something we can look back on in the future that I hope we'll be able to build on."
• Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday he planned to rule soon in the long-running investigation into allegations of sexually charged misconduct against Favre, who said on Thursday he still hasn't "heard a word" from the league.
• The Vikings signed DB Simeon Castille to the practice squad. Castille (6-foot, 190 pounds) appeared in nine games over two seasons with Cincinnati and San Diego.
• FS Madieu Williams was selected as the Vikings' Community Man of the Year, making him a candidate for the NFL Man of the Year award and earning a $1,000 donation to the Madieu Williams Foundation. Williams works with several local charities, hosted a free football camp in Maryland last summer, supports the Cincinnati area where he played for four seasons and made a $2 million donation to create the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health at the University of Maryland.