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Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, foreground, gets up after making an illegal crackback block below the knees against Houston Texans' Eugene Wilson during the third quarter Monday in Houston. Associated Press

Favre's moments not all good

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Brett Favre's senior moment came early, when some temporary indecision led to Mario Williams dropping him to the turf in Houston. His stupid moment came late, when he lined up wide left and threw an ill-advised -- and illegal -- crackback block that injured the right knee of Houston Texans safety Eugene Wilson. But Wilson said he would be OK.

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Chalk the first up to rust and age. Blame the second more on youthful exuberance.

No wonder Favre has such a hard time trying to decide whether to retire. His body may sometimes scream yes, but his mind keeps thinking that, hey, this is way too much fun.

Just 18 months ago he was crying as he announced his first retirement. On Monday night he was out on the field smiling even when things didn't go exactly as planned.

He may not lead the Minnesota Vikings to the promised land. At his age, there's always the chance he may not even finish the season.

But judging from his first real work of the preseason, the old guy with the aching ribs might have been well worth the wait for both the Vikings and their long suffering fans.

As long as he doesn't try to block anyone, that is. Turns out there are some things you can't teach old quarterbacks.

"I will be 40 years old in October and (was) weed-eating 13 days ago," Favre said. "I wasn't thinking about throwing blocks."

Not thinking happens sometimes when you get old, though Vikings coach Brad Childress deserves some responsibility because he was the one who had Favre line up as a wide receiver in the wildcat set. The formation is the rage around the NFL, but there are some things even future Hall of Famers like Favre shouldn't be doing -- and throwing blocks tops weed eating on the list.

Behind center, though, Favre looked right at home.

He wasn't always on the same page with his teammates, but that will come. He didn't always see his reads, but he's had only a dozen days to work on them.

But he brings the intangibles. He brings an undercurrent of energy a guy his age isn't supposed to have.

It won't be long before we begin to see just how far he can bring a Vikings team that was loaded to begin with toward a Super Bowl.

"We've got to do it quickly," Favre said after helping lead the Vikings to a 17-10 win over the Texans. "We've got to get it together quickly."

Indeed, the clock is ticking for Favre, and not just because he turns 40 next month. His waffling over whether to play again got him in camp late, and his play in Houston will almost certainly be the last time he takes a live snap until the Vikings open their season on the road in Cleveland.

Any other quarterback wouldn't be making that start with so little work with a new team. But there aren't any other quarterbacks who hold NFL career records in almost every passing category, either.

It helps that Favre spent 16 years practicing his art in basically the same offense the Vikings run, and he will benefit from taking as few hits as possible in preseason. But it's probably going to take a few regular season games before everything begins clicking, so the Vikings are fortunate that they open against two weaker teams in the Browns and Detroit Lions.

Still, make no mistake about it. This team is loaded, and Favre may be the final piece of the puzzle.

Behind him will be the league's best running back in Adrian Peterson. Ahead of him will be rookie receiver Percy Harvin, who showed flashes of brilliance against the Texans.

Backing it all up are Kevin and Pat Williams, leaders of one of the NFL's toughest defenses.

Don't forget the Vikings will enjoy the advantage of playing 11 of their 16 games in domed stadiums, and that Favre's return to Green Bay comes early in October before the town is in a deep freeze. Minnesota will likely not play in cold weather until their Dec. 28 game in Chicago, by which time it may not matter.

Favre, of course, knew all of that before he finally put his name on a two-year $25 million contract to play for the team he made a career out of beating. The Vikings wanted him so badly they sent a private jet for him and Childress drove him to practice from the airport.

They waited for him to make up his mind. Now they'll wait until he gets into top shape.

The Vikings are convinced they did the right thing. Their quarterback seems pretty sure of himself, too.

"I would not have come back if I didn't think I could play at a high enough level or if I didn't think I could help this team win," Favre said.

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