Favre, however, is apparently reluctant to commit to playing a 19th NFL season without first being more confident the arthroscopic surgery performed recently on his throwing shoulder has succeeded in eliminating all of the problems related to a torn biceps tendon. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery.
It would seem reasonable that both Favre and the Vikings want to know his shoulder is healthy before reaching an agreement, and the team is virtually certain to insist on seeing the 39-year-old quarterback throw before any contract is signed. Minnesota has four organized team activity sessions this week, beginning Tuesday.
While sources say Favre has done some throwing since the surgery, they describe him as being unconvinced that his passing arm is game-ready. Favre has always been unpredictable when making major career decisions, so only he would know what he will do if he believes the Vikings are forcing him to make a decision before he is fully prepared. Favre has claimed he did that two years ago in retiring from the Green Bay Packers even though he had doubts at the time, and he made a decision to leave the game that he began to regret even as he was announcing it.
According to sources, Favre is conflicted between his desire to provide the Vikings with the quarterback he believes is the only thing they lack to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender and his resolve to feel confident enough in his shoulder that it will not undermine his performance, which eroded under a league-high nine interceptions the final month of last season when the Jets faded from playoff contention. Favre took personal responsibility for the Jets' failure, blaming his painful shoulder for creating a random lack of arm strength and throwing accuracy.
The Vikings are the Packers' rivals in the NFC North, and the team that Favre wanted to play for last season after deciding to come out of retirement. But the Packers controlled Favre's rights, and general manager Ted Thompson refused to consider trading Favre to Minnesota. Not only that, but Thompson was so determined to ensure the Green Bay icon could not play for the Packers' hated rival twice a year that he included a clause in the trade agreement with the Jets that the Packers would be compensated with three first-round draft choices if Favre were dealt to the Vikings.
But Favre effectively circumvented that when he retired in February for a second time and later received his unconditional release from the Jets after they traded up to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first round of the draft in April. That created the opportunity for Favre and the Vikings to discuss a partnership that could damage the quarterback's legacy in Green Bay.
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN. Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN.