Silly Minny good fit for Favre

TIM DAHLBERG

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

Do his teammates like him? Do they really, really like him?

Brett Favre insists it doesn't matter, and that everything will be alright.

Besides, with his 12th retirement only two years away now, he's a little too old to play the popularity game anyway.

At least the rest of the Minnesota Vikings know where things stand.

They came to camp thinking the silliness was over, until that fateful day when they saw their coach return from the airport with No. 4 in the passenger seat beside him.

It's a marriage of convenience, this strange alliance between a team all cheeseheads grow up to hate, and the old, grizzled gunslinger who will take their snaps under centre. But that hasn't stopped Vikings fans from gobbling up purple Favre jerseys faster than a plate of fried walleye sandwiches.

The jersey situation is a bit more complicated in Philadelphia, where the country's most famous animal abuser now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. One sporting goods chain is waiting to see whether to sell a green No. 7, scared perhaps the fur will begin to fly, but others were more than happy to risk the ire of dog lovers if they could make a buck off it.

Quarterback controversies are nothing new to the pre-season, though most have more to do with playing time than prison time.

There are still several going on even now, including one in Cleveland, where Bill Belichick-wannabe Eric Mangini insists on letting Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson twist in the wind.

It doesn't really matter, because Las Vegas oddsmakers have already established the Browns will be a lousy team whoever is running the offence. But it's Mangini's first year in Cleveland, and he'll spend most of it reminding everyone he is in charge.

Some things even head coaches can't control, though. Especially when it comes to this pre-season, when each day brings a new plot twist to the latest episode of As the NFL Turns.

Here's a few things inquiring minds still want to know:

- Will Favre find happiness in purple? He's already happy, thanks to the huge contract the desperate Vikings threw at him. But what does he have to lose as long as he only has to throw short passes and hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson? Better yet, he gets to do most of it indoors -- and where fans are always Minnesota nice.

- Will Vick be loved in the City of Brotherly Love? Sure, until he dogs it the first time.

- Will anyone show up at the Meadowlands wearing a Plaxico Burress replica jersey? Of course, because New Yorkers don't like kicking a guy when he's down. That is, of course, until the Burress prison replica jerseys come out.

- Will Al Davis discipline coach Tom Cable for allegedly punching out an assistant coach? Hardly. Davis might just double his salary for showing something few other Oakland Raiders have shown in recent years -- spark.

- Is Big Ben in big trouble after being accused of rape in a lawsuit? Doubtful. The good news for Steeler fans is if Roethlisberger is as aggressive on the field as his lawyers are in the courtroom, the Steelers are a lock for a second straight Super Bowl.

- What does Chad Ochocinco mean with his new signature phrase "Kiss da baby?" That it's all over, as in "The Cincinnati Bengals can kiss da baby on this season."

TIM DAHLBERG IS A COLUMNIST FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


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