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Unsatisfied with recent endings, Favre wants to go out on top

If Brett Favre were deciding upon a 19th NFL season that involved a venue closer to his Hattiesburg, Miss., home -- say New Orleans -- the answer would already be yes. If there was a regular-season game to be played in two weeks, his answer would already be yes.

Minus those deal-makers, Favre is mulling the potential deal-breakers. He thinks his body -- specifically his arm -- can withstand season-long exertion. He questions whether he wants to endure the toil of a training camp, a preseason, all of the mandatory NFL minutiae.

Ultimately, the Vikings expect the answer to be yes.

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And those closest to Favre do, too. They expect that he will provide his answer well before the July 30 deadline he recently offered. They expect that he will reveal his decision by Friday.

Here are some of the factors that make yes a more likely answer than no:

Favre wants a place to hang his hat, helmet

Favre knows that, if he returns, this is the twilight of his career, basically a six-month deal. Maybe he could stretch it to 18 months and play a total of two seasons with the Vikings, but the bottom-line thinking is this is the final chapter of his football playing life.

He needs a new home. A final football home.

Atlanta, where he was drafted in 1991 and threw four passes in two games played, was just a dusting. Green Bay was a marriage that had it all before ending with Favre feeling run down the road, full of pain and hurt feelings. The Jets were a flame.

Favre lost his last game at Lambeau Field, that NFC title affair where he threw a duck of a pass in overtime that was intercepted and set up the winning Giants kick. The Packers were supposed to win that game, maybe win Super Bowl XLII, and Favre would have considered calling it a career on that note. But that loss and then the late swoon with the Jets last season has Favre finding it hard to be content with that type of end.

How about a Super Bowl sprint with the Vikings?

He sees rare running back Adrian Peterson and a defense that can win, along with coaching and an offensive system he finds fitting. He sees a chance to end it like the champion in him insists it should end. With a title, a new home found, helmet hung in glory.

The Vikings are fixated on making a Super Bowl run -- now

Just like the Packers initially welcomed him and the Jets, too, the Vikings ownership, management and coaches have come to view Favre in adoring ways.

This is Zygi Wilf's fifth season as owner of the Vikings. He has come full circle on Favre, from not interested to all in. Wilf believes that if an NFL owner does not win a championship within his first five seasons, his chances decrease rapidly. Several of his peers can attest to that.

Wilf knows that the Vikings as a franchise are 0-4 in Super Bowls. He knows that he wants a new stadium and that a possible lockout looms in 2011. He has earnestly built this franchise for four years. This owner believes in now. Right now.

So does his coach. Brad Childress has won 6, 8 and 10 games in his three seasons at the helm and took the NFC North title last season before bowing out in the playoffs at home to Philadelphia. Just build it? No. The window is now, the Vikings believe, and Favre is the missing block.

It is not just what Favre brings with his arm at quarterback. Vikings brass believes he brings "the mental" as much as the physical. They believe that making that leap from a good team to a championship team and season requires someone intimately involved who knows the route.

They describe it this way: You drive to a destination. You do not know the way but follow the directions. Seems long. But the drive back seems shorter. And a return trip seems even shorter. They think Favre can make winning plays. They believe his mental acumen and presence alone would help this team mentally dominate. Get them over that hump.

Wilf and Childress want to cement their place, first in Vikings history but also in NFL history, as much as Favre.

For Favre, all of this is music.

The game is still important to him

This is the advice in Favre's ear when he worries about hurting Packers fans: "Hey, be sorry for something you do, not for something you didn't do …"

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In other words, do not retire, miss this Vikings chance, look back 10 years later and ask, what if?

The team expects to pay Favre a salary this season "north of $10 million," Vikings sources said. They respect and yearn for his confidence, his aura.

And Favre knows that though there are many doubters of this new potential marriage, its stamina, its threat to the rest of the NFC North. He also realizes that those that would have to beat him within the division twice a year know the deal.

Including the Packers.

Chicago Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli was asked Monday morning if he thought Favre could still play the game and make a difference as a member of the Vikings.

"Oh, yeah," Marinelli said.

Marinelli was asked if he buys the thinking that Favre's best is behind him.

"No," he replied. "Now, I haven't personally seen him lately. But I know what he is. Who he is. You could never take this player lightly."

Another defensive coach from another team within the NFC North said: "We don't want to see that. I hope he stays away. He would be the missing piece for the Vikings, because they have everything else. You just can't find that kind of experience and talent at quarterback every day. That would not be a good thing at all for us."

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