MINNEAPOLIS -- In a meaningless exhibition as he began his 19th NFL season, Brett Favre felt the butterflies.
Camera flashes illuminated the Metrodome on each of his eight plays for Minnesota, and only one completed pass was captured on film. After an injury-free night without any major blunders, though, Favre declared his Vikings debut a success.
His predictably brief preseason performance was the obvious highlight of a 17-13 victory by the Vikings on Friday over the Kansas City Chiefs, preserved by a goal line stand by the third-stringers.
"I just didn't want to fumble the snap," Favre said. "Wanted to make sure I got the handoffs. If you complete passes, great. But I was nervous about that."
Cheered loudly by the same fans who used to loathe him when he played for Green Bay, Favre played two series and went 1 for 4 for a whopping 4 yards. He moved around all right and his passes had zip, just no direction.
Tarvaris Jackson, whose job was taken when Favre ended another retirement this week, was the more polished quarterback for Minnesota: 12 for 15 for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
Favre's night ended with a jarring hit by Chiefs linebacker Corey Mays, who buried his head in the 39-year-old's chest as he drove him into the turf to force an errant throw. Favre got up and walked off fine, his purple No. 4 jersey -- such a strange sight, for sure -- pulled down and exposing his left shoulder pad.
"He did tell me that no one's tackled him off his tractor," coach Brad Childress said. "Good for him to get hit."
Favre worked out at his local high school all summer as he built his strength back following arthroscopic surgery on his throwing arm, but after initially telling the Vikings no he didn't join the team until Tuesday. Yet there he was, three days later, taking snaps with the first team and trying to find a rhythm with his new receivers.
"That'll be an adjustment all year. It really will be," Favre said.
His first pass was off target, intended for fullback Naufahu Tahi. Rookie Percy Harvin snagged a low throw into tight coverage on the next play, setting up fourth-and-1 near midfield. But Adrian Peterson, who carried 10 times for 44 yards, was smothered in the backfield for a big loss.
Favre was off the mark twice more on the next possession, misfiring toward Jaymar Johnson after an apparent route miscommunication and then chucking one out of everyone's reach on the pressure by Mays. The holder of every major NFL career passing record knows this version of the West Coast offense well, but it will take the Vikings time to get in a groove with the new guy.
"It don't think it should take too long," Peterson said, adding: "These next two weeks, we'll be able to smooth things out and get ready for the regular season."
Kansas City's Matt Cassel is in the same mode, his adjustment still in progress after coming in a trade with New England. He led the Chiefs on two scoring drives, including a 4-yard touchdown toss to Dwayne Bowe early in the second quarter once Minnesota's second-string defense was in. Cassel faced plenty of pressure, taking three sacks, and finished 9 for 14 for 99 yards.
"Sometimes you just get out there and run around," Cassel said.
New coach Todd Haley has been frustrated by Cassel's performance so far, while Brodie Croyle has looked sharp, but this was more like what the Chiefs believed they'd be getting from Tom Brady's former backup.
"I'm getting more and more comfortable," Cassel said. "We had a few weeks of training camp, but I'm still getting familiar with the offense. It's a new offense and there are new players around us, so it's a process."
Said Haley: "The quarterback play across the board was better. All three quarterbacks looked like they had a handle on what was going on."
With Sage Rosenfels sitting out because of a sprained ankle suffered in a solid game last week at Indianapolis, Jackson played the equivalent of two full quarters.
He had quite the touch, just what the Vikings haven't seen enough from him over his first three seasons -- prompting the persistent pursuit of Favre throughout the summer.
Jackson, who prompted mild booing when he jogged to the huddle because that meant Favre was done, evaded a blitz on third-and-8 in the second quarter and found Visanthe Shiancoe for a 13-yard score. In the third, Jackson hit Darius Reynaud on a post pattern for a 64-yard touchdown to put Minnesota in front 14-13.
"Whenever you play well, you always feel good," Jackson said. "Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, it felt good. It was a long week for me. It just shows that if you just stay focused, you'll be fine."
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