Brett Favre will make his first appearance of the 2011 season on Sunday night, when the indecisive legend leads the Minnesota Vikings into preseason action against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park.
Two weeks after a flurry of national reports revealed that Favre was informing teammates of his retirement, the quarterback reported to the Vikings last Tuesday to commence his 20th NFL season. The 40-year-old will attempt to better the stunning performance he offered up in his first season in a Minnesota uniform last year, when he threw for 33 touchdowns with just seven interceptions for a team that was an overtime session away from reaching the Super Bowl.
Favre, who is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery, is expected to play no more than a series or two on Sunday before yielding to backups Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.
It was Rosenfels who did most of the heavy lifting in the Vikes' 28-7 win over the St. Louis Rams last Saturday, completing 23-of-34 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
On the injury front for Minnesota, wide receiver Percy Harvin is not expected to be in uniform following a scary episode on Thursday that saw him collapse on the practice field. Harvin, who has battled migraines throughout his life, was hospitalized overnight but is not expected to be out of the lineup for an extended period.
Linebacker E.J. Henderson (leg) is a question mark for the Vikings on Sunday.
Though Favre and the Vikings will hog most of the headlines, the 49ers will likewise be taking a step forward in a season that they hope will land them in the playoffs as well.
Mike Singletary's club started the tune-up period off with a 37-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, though quarterback Alex Smith (3-of-9, 37 yards, 1 INT) was not among the players who had much of an impact on the win.
As he looks for improvement, Smith could be sharing the backfield on Sunday with recently-signed running back Brian Westbrook, who is competing with Anthony Dixon for the No. 2 tailback job.
Dixon has a leg up after rushing 21 times for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Colts last week.
The Vikings hold a 3-1 edge in their all-time preseason series with the 49ers, including a 23-10 home victory in the last such meeting, prior to the 2004 season.
The teams last met in meaningful play in Week 3 of last season, a 27-24 Minnesota win at the Metrodome highlighted by a last-second touchdown pass from Favre to wideout Greg Lewis.