MINNEAPOLIS -- When Brett Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings less than a month ago, he openly wondered if he could make all the plays he used to make and last all the way through a 19th season in the NFL.
One thing he didn't doubt was his ability to lead.
That confidence was verified when the Vikings elected the 39-year-old quarterback as one of five team captains for the 2009 season.
Guard Steve Hutchinson, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, linebacker E.J. Henderson and kicker Ryan Longwell are the other permanent captains this season. The Vikings will also pick a sixth captain on a game-by-game basis.
The Vikings open the season on Sunday at Cleveland, and Favre said earlier this week that he is ready to lead them.
"Chemistry is so important. I don't care how good of a player I may be (or) the next guy may be," he said. "In this game of football, it takes 11. Being on the same page, the unit that plays more as one than as opposed to a bunch of individuals is the one that succeeds."
Favre signed with the Vikings on Aug. 18 and has been working ever since to get up to speed with his teammates on the field and earn their trust in the locker room. He addressed the team on Monday, saying he felt the need to let them know personally that he ended his second retirement for the right reasons.
When he joined the Vikings just after they broke training camp, there was some speculation that his teammates would not look favorably upon someone coming in so late to the game. There was also talk that Favre was coming back just to get revenge on the Green Bay Packers for choosing to move forward with Aaron Rodgers, or that he was doing it for the $12 million check.
So Favre asked coach Brad Childress to speak to the team and delivered a 10-minute speech to try to allay those fears.
"You can't coach chemistry. You can't fake it. It has to happen," Favre said. "You have to believe in one another and that is ongoing. This is a good group of guys; it really is. As I told them, I am honored to be a part of this team."
The words apparently hit home with the rest of the team.
"He pretty much answered everybody's questions," Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. "Cleaned up everybody's wonders."
It's not the first time that Favre has made such a favorable initial impression. Last year, the New York Jets made him a captain less than a month after he was acquired in a trade from the Green Bay Packers.
"I think the guys from within the last three weeks have gotten a pretty good judge about what type of guy I am," Favre said, "what type of player (I am)."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press