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Vikings suffer from a Favre-over and lose to the 49ers

* August 23rd, 2010 12:00 am

The Minnesota Vikings traveled to San Francisco on Sunday night and showed once again that Sunday night is not their prime time. Just like the Arizona Cardinals game and the Carolina Panthers games -- both played on Sunday Night Football last season -- the Vikings laid an egg on national television. Brett Favre came to town this week and made the trip to San Francisco to play four plays, but it may have been his arrival at Winter Park earlier this week that had the biggest effect on the outcome.

The Vikings did not look sharp for much of the evening. The reserves looked better than the starters, which isn’t saying much as the team lost 15-10. But given the Favre circus coupled with the Percy Harvin health scare, the Vikings had a very disjointed week of preparation for this game. That isn’t to make an excuse, but rather a reason, because the entire team looked like they had just gotten into camp.

The offense was sluggish, and it started with the offensive line, which didn’t protect Favre any better than it protected rookie Joe Webb, who came in for mop-up duty in the fourth quarter and scored the Vikings' only touchdown with an exciting 48-yard run. (Webb then gave the Niners two points back as he was tackled in the endzone for a safety as time ran out.)

"It's just a whole learning experience for me, I'll go back look and watch the tape and see the things I could have done differently," Webb told KFAN radio after the game.

The special teams were anything but special, giving up too many yards on kick returns and letting a punt that could have easily been downed inside the five bounce aimlessly into the endzone.

The starting defense forgot how to defend the pass and let Alex Smith and the Niners march down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown that gave the Niners a lead they never relinquished.

The defensive run stoppers were their usual stalwart selves, but the pass defense, when it mattered, was porous, and the San Francisco quarterbacks took advantage (together throwing 16 for 29 for 191 yards).

A bright side on defense was the return of E.J Henderson to the field at starting middle linebacker. Henderson, who suffered a broken femur late in the 2009 season, has made a remarkable recovery to get back on the field and showed it by making seven tackles and three of them solo.

The best thing the Vikings quarterbacks could do was run for their lives as Webb (3 carries for 53 yards) and Tarvaris Jackson (2 carries for 18) were the two leading rushers for the Purple. The offensive line needs to tighten things up quickly or Favre will have the shortest Goodbye Tour in sports history.

If Favre (who played one series, threw and completed one pass for 13 yards and took one big hit) didn’t think he was a distraction to his team this week, he might want to rethink that after this performance. The Vikings never got in synch offensively and the starters looked a little slow on defense. The team has a lot of work to do.

So does Favre -- and it sounds like he will get it. After the game, head coach Brad Childress said that next week Favre would play the first half against the Seattle Seahawks and possibly into the third quarter.

The Vikings were beaten soundly tonight, but perhaps they can put it behind them quickly and move forward instead of going backwards, which they did a bit this week. They now have their quarterback in camp (while they still don’t have all their starting receivers on the field), but they need to iron some things out very quickly, as their regular season tune-up for the starters is next weekend. Because if this game is what Favre came back for, he might want to rethink that, as well.