Brett Favre appears set to retire (again); Paging Tarvaris Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson can seemingly remove his ballcap.  Brett Favre's long anticipated return for a second season in Purple went (deep) south today as multiple NFL reports have the three-time MVP set to announce his third retirement and opt not to play out the latter season of the two-year, $25 million contract he penned with the Vikings last August.  To date: there's been no announcement of Favre filing his retirement papers with the league.

At this morning's Vikings presser, Coach Brad Childress addressed the rumblings in brief and said that he had spoken with Favre in the past day, but was not aware of the quarterback's decision to hang up the cleats as he struggles to recover from ankle surgery.

"He's a 40 year old man and has to come to grips [with his decision]," Childress said.

"I'm not a big hearsay person," the head coach added. "I've got to hear it from the horse's mouth."

In a recent interview with USA Today, the soon-to-be 41-year-old Favre quipped about a third surgery on his bum left ankle, performed in May by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews:

"If you do enough patchwork, eventually you've got to get a new one . . . You gotta quit sometime. Then again, maybe I will be doing this when I'm 50 years old, who knows?"

The procedure -- which removed bone spurs and scar tissue from the ankle -- was deemed a success.  As per the concurrent (and nasty) thigh bruise he suffered in the Vikings 31-28 overtime loss to the Saints in the NFC Championship, Favre noted in the same interview that the ailment which matched the color of his jersey now feels "great."

In what may prove the graybeard's 19th (and seemingly final) NFL season in '09, Favre

enjoyed one of the finest campaigns of his eventual Hall of Fame career.  In leading the Purple to just their second 12 win season since 1975, the QB posted career-bests in passer rating (107.2) and completion percentage (68.4) while tossing the fewest picks (7) of his storied career.

Should Favre indeed step away, the 27-year-old T-Jack is now back at the helm for the first time since starting five games in 2008.  There's been little indication from Viking camp to date indicating that quarterback Sage Rosenfels has anything on Jackson for the starting spot under center.  Jackson owns a 10-9 career record as a starter; the well-traveled Rosenfels -- who didn't take a snap in 2009 -- claims a 6-6 lifetime mark in games started. 

Jackson, the fifth year vet, will have his work cut out for him in 2010.  Aside from the loss of valuable back Chester Taylor, the Vikings face the league's 14th toughest schedule this season and will be contending in a revamped NFC North that looks to find the Purple in a dogfight with Green Bay.  In addition: both Chicago (Taylor's new outfit) and Detroit improved readily in the off-season and appear certain to improve upon the seven and two win '09 seasons, respectively.

Jackson and the Vikings will have opportunity to instantly test their altered look (and face some fresh demons) in their season-opening showdown with the Super Bowl Champion Saints on Thursday, September the 9th.

Of course, let us not forget whom we're talking about here.  This is, after all, Mr. Brett Favre: the most talented, albeit disorganized and waffling of superstar narcissists.  Stay tuned.  The smart money says this ain't over just yet.  With the NFL opener still more than a month away, this guy could change his mind thrice between dinner tonight and tomorrow's morning's Wheaties.

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