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November 3, 2009

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Favre defies jeers to pack off Green Bay

BRETT Favre savored a triumphant but frosty homecoming, tossing four touchdowns as the Minnesota Vikings (7-1) survived a Green Bay Packers (4-3) comeback to claim a 38-26 win on Sunday.

For Green Bay fans, Favre's performance was a bitter reminder of the glory days when the quarterback was firing TD passes for the Packers and leading them to the Super Bowl title in 1997.

Back at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin to face his former team for the first time since a messy split in 2007, Favre was lustily jeered by a Green Bay regular-season record crowd of 71,213 from the moment he stepped off the Minnesota team bus until he exited the field.

"I had mixed emotions coming in because I know how special these (Packers) fans are," Favre admitted. "It was loud and that is what makes Green Bay such a special place.

"I want to lead this Vikings team to the Super Bowl but I also know that Packers fans, who make this organization so special and unique, will never change."

There were some things, however, Favre will not miss about his first visit to Green Bay as a Viking.

Prior to the kickoff, some Packers' fans burnt replicas of his old Green Bay jersey while entrepreneurs cashed in on the Favre-bashing selling T-shirts which included "Traitor 4-Ever and "Once a Hero, Now a Zero."

The hostile reception, however, failed to rattle the 40-year-old Favre, who completed 17 of 28 pass attempts for 244 yards, including TDs to Visanthe Shiancoe, Percy Harvin, Jeff Dugan and Bernard Berrian.

Elsewhere in the National Football League, it was: Rams 17, Lions 10; Colts 18, 49ers 14; Ravens 30, Broncos 7; Titans 30, Jaguars 13; Chargers 24, Raiders 16; Panthers 34, Cardinals 21; Eagles 40, Giants 17; Cowboys 38, Seahawks 17; Dolphins 30, Jets 25; Texans 31, Bills 10; and Bears 30, Browns 6.

After the Packers opened the scoring on a Mason Crosby 37-yard field goal, Minnesota dominated the first half, Adrian Peterson diving over for a one-yard TD to give the Vikings a lead they would not surrender.

Almost forgotten in the pre-game hype surrounding Favre was a pivotal NFC North matchup that saw the Vikings take control of the division, improving their record to 7-1 while the Packers slip to 4-3.

The Vikings were up 24-3 before the Packers launched a third-quarter fightback. The Packers, held to just 47 total yards in the first half, exploded for 17 straight points, as Aaron Rodgers, Favre's understudy in Green Bay, tossed five- and 16-yard TD strikes to Spencer Havner.

Crosby then added a field goal to slice the Minnesota lead to 24-20 setting the stage for a wild final quarter.


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