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|Get ready for the new greatest rivalry in football if Brett Favre returns to the NFL and joins the Minnesota Vikings.|
It's hard to imagine a bigger NFL rivalry than anyone vs. anyone in the NFC East.
Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore certainly ranks right up there for intensity and the participants having genuine disdain for each other.
But if Brett Favre ends up signing with the Minnesota Vikings, we're going to have to seriously rethink the topic of which rivalry is the biggest in the league.
At least for the 2009 season.
The Vikings already had a fairly heated rivalry going with the Green Bay Packers. Packers vs. Vikings had managed to move ahead of Packers vs. Chicago Bears in terms of biggest showdowns in the NFC North. Sure, Packers vs. Bears has the longest history in the league, but it lost a good deal of its passion in recent years -- the kind of passion that has been steadily growing in the Packers-Vikings series. The acquisition of Jay Cutler should add spice to every Bears game, particularly those in the division, yet it still doesn't do enough to trump what has been building between Green Bay and Minnesota.
Now, put Favre in a Vikings uniform. Think the consummate Packer wearing purple might heat things up a little in two of the NFL's colder outposts?
If Favre does end up signing with Minnesota, two dates suddenly are going to take on a whole new meaning on the respective schedules of both teams: Oct. 5, when the Packers travel to the Metrodome for Monday Night Football, and Nov. 1, when the Vikings travel to Lambeau Field.
This assumes, of course, that Favre is able to play at the level he showed with the Packers in 2007 or in his earlier MVP days. His struggles with the Jets last year don't exactly inspire confidence that will be the case.
Nevertheless, Favre clearly has more than one reason for joining the Vikings. The chance to add many more millions to his bank account is one. The chance to build upon his record passing numbers is another.
But it seems fairly certain that none is more important than the chance to face, and beat, the Packers at least twice.
For Favre, this has transcended being able to defy Mother Nature and show that, despite his struggles with the Jets, he really can be a viable starter even though he'll turn 40 before midseason.
It's personal. The ardent Packers and Favre followers who would no doubt hate this transaction with a passion aren't part of the equation. This is a chance to prove a point that Packers general manager Ted Thompson was wrong when he decided that Favre's time in Green Bay had come to an end.
Sound and mature thinking? Not at all.
Potential fuel for an already red-hot rivalry? Absolutely.