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Younger Packers players not swept up in hype about Favre

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For Green Bay Packers fans, the prospect of their team facing Brett Favre in Minnesota Vikings purple Monday night is filled with emotional angst. To the media, it's Favremageddon.

The matchup is causing far less consternation for Packers players.

Of the 53 players on Green Bay's roster, 21 joined the team after the 2007 season and never played with Favre, who spent 16 seasons with the Packers. And while Favre remains close with former teammates such as wide receiver Donald Driver, others who played with the quarterback for a year or two say they didn't really know him.

 Packers WR Greg Jennings 

"There's a number of our players that have never even met Brett Favre," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

Sure, players understand that Favre's presence Monday night in Minnesota adds even more juice and significant national interest to what already was a bitter NFC North rivalry. But facing Favre just isn't anything personal to them.

"I only played with him for a couple of years," Packers offensive lineman Daryn Colledge said. "Me and Brett's relationship wasn't exactly the tightest. He was an older guy, I was a younger guy and we hung in our own circles. For me, I've got a (Vikings) defense that I need to worry about, I've got a ton of Pro Bowlers I've got to face this weekend and might be playing a new position. So for me, I've got a lot more things to worry about than Brett."

If there's any extra incentive for the Packers, it's the chance to rally around Favre's replacement, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers bore the brunt of fan angst when the Packers decided not to take Favre back during training camp last year, to the point where he was booed during a scrimmage.

"Aaron, in my eyes, he wasn't treated the best," Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings said. "And it wasn't his fault. It wasn't like he kicked Brett out of here. He was just the guy who was taking his spot. Unfortunately he didn't (get) welcomed by some. For some, he did. But there's definitely that drive to want to win it for him."

The Packers have been the NFL's youngest team for four consecutive years, and Favre turned 38 during his final season in Green Bay. Given the age disparity, Favre didn't spend much time hanging out with teammates off the field in his final years with the Packers. Favre even lived a somewhat isolated existence at Lambeau Field, dressing in a small private room next to the main locker room.

Favre said this week that he still talks to Driver and a few other Green Bay veterans "once in a while." Asked if he'd spoken with Rodgers recently, Favre asked, "For what?"

But after being criticized by some New York Jets teammates for his aloof demeanor at the end of last season, Favre is making an effort to earn the Vikings' respect.

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"He doesn't live in a vacuum," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "And I'm quite sure he probably knows what was said, what was written."

Childress said he wasn't aware of Favre's separate locker room in Green Bay but said he isn't receiving special treatment in Minnesota.

"His locker's right back by Adrian (Peterson)," Childress said. "He takes part in everything that goes on in that locker room."

And it seems to be working. Peterson said he wants to win Monday night's game for Favre, even though he has only known the guy for about a month.

"Favre is the type of guy you just feed off -- his energy and the passion he plays with and the way he plays the game," Peterson said. "You've seen him running down the field last week, going to block guys, blocking (San Francisco's) Patrick Willis. You see Patrick get up after the play and help him up. So that's the type of respect he's got, and just the way he plays the game, you've got to go out there and lay it on the line."

That's the sort of thing Driver might have said about Favre a few years ago. Now he has to try to beat his buddy, but he said it won't be as strange as everybody imagines.

"It won't be that weird," Driver said. "I watched him on TV when he was wearing a Jets jersey, so it wasn't that weird. I don't think it will be a big issue. I think the biggest with us is that we know we have to play the Vikings. It's not just one guy."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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