Minnesota Vikings

2009 record: 12-4 (First in NFC North)
Bucky Brooks
Brett Favre returns but is unable to duplicate his outstanding performance. The Vikings surprisingly finish out of the playoffs.
Prediction:  9-7, third in NFC North
Vic Carucci
Brett Favre is back and this team is a Super Bowl contender again. Still, he's going to struggle to duplicate last year's performance.
Prediction:  10-6, second in NFC North
Pat Kirwan
Packers are knocking on the door but until I see them prevent the Vikings pass rush from getting to Aaron Rodgers, I like Minnesota.
Prediction:  11-5, first in NFC North
Jason La Canfora
I can't fathom Brett Favre playing as well as he did in 2009. Health for him, Rice and Harvin is a concern, and Williams Wall is aging.
Prediction:  10-6, second in NFC North
Michael Lombardi
Vikings are a good team, but need Brett Favre to play on the road like he did at home last year.
Prediction:  9-7, second in NFC North
Steve Wyche
Brett Favre brings back the swagger but can he deliver again? Adrian Peterson and the defense still get them to the playoffs.
Prediction:  10-6, second in NFC North
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Consecutive seasons Brett Favre's final pass has ended in an interception -- and major disappointment for his teams.
Brett Favre
The venerable veteran ended his annual flirtation with retirement to take yet another stab at winning the Super Bowl. Although Favre played magnificently last season at the age of 40, the odds are stacked against him to repeat that kind of performance. With Vikings fans pinning their Super Bowl aspirations on Favre, the pressure is on for him to get it done this year.
Visanthe Shiancoe
No one benefitted more from the presence of Favre than TE Visanthe Shiancoe. The ultra-athletic pass catcher amassed career highs in receptions (56) and touchdowns (11), and showed that he has the skills to be an impact player. Although Favre didn't tap into his strength as a vertical route runner, Shiancoe's size, athleticism and receiving skills make him a dangerous weapon in the red zone.
Shiancoe is a steal
The return of Favre is great news for the value of Visanthe Shiancoe, who thrived with the old gunslinger under center in 2009. A big red-zone target who scored 11 touchdowns last season, Shiancoe could be a steal in the late rounds for owners who wait to draft a tight end.
Tickets
Three pivotal games
Sept. 9 at New Orleans
The Vikings get a chance to exact a small measure of revenge against the defending champs to open the season. Minnesota turned the ball over five times in the NFC title game as its chances of going to the Super Bowl imploded. Favre and Co. will say their goal is simple -- come away with a win to start the season -- but the ramifications could be much larger.
Oct. 11 at New York Jets
The Favre reunion tour continues with a stop at the New Meadowlands. Favre's only season with the Jets didn't end well, so don't expect a friendly greeting from the fans. The Jets' expectations are as high as the Vikings', so it could get intense, even for an inter-conference matchup. Will Darrelle Revis still be holding out? If so, Rex Ryan will have to come up with a way to slow down Favre.
Nov. 21 vs. Packers
The second matchup of the season against the Packers will likely go a long way toward determining the winner in the NFC North. A sweep over Green Bay helped Minnesota claim the division crown a year ago. Can Favre continue to frustrate his old team, or is it Aaron Rodgers' turn to beat his mentor? Either way, it will be one of the most-anticipated games of the year.

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