Defensive end Calais Campbell sacks Vikings quarterback Brett Favre during last season's Cardinal victory over Minnesota at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Joey Porter has nothing but respect for Brett Favre.
"It's the best situation for him, which is when they don't let you retire and they give you more money each year for you to play," the Cardinals linebacker said of the aging but iconic Vikings quarterback. "He's got the best of both worlds. He don't do training camp and he comes back, and he says it's not about the money but they give him more than what he was originally supposed to get. Can't be mad at a guy for beating the system."
But that doesn't mean Porter isn't going after Favre Sunday in Minnesota while Favre is limping around. While running back Adrian Peterson remains the engine of the Vikings' offense, the Cardinals also know they need to keep the gimpy Favre in check.
That's what they did during last season's 30-17 win in Arizona, picking off Favre – who was in the middle of an extraordinary season – twice and sacking him three times.
Things are a lot different this season. The Minnesota receiving corps is without Randy Moss (cut) and could be without Percy Harvin (ankle), while Bernard Berrian has struggled and Sidney Rice (hip) remains out. One of the big Minnesota questions this week is who Favre will throw to against the Cards.
Favre is coming off one of his better games of the season, but he hasn't played well for most of the season.
"My play can be better, and that's where it starts," Favre said. "If my play is better, I think we have more wins."
Favre was relatively healthy then. Now he is dealing with lingering injuries to his chin and elbow and that doesn't even count his bad ankle, which never quite recovered from damage suffered at the end of last season. "I'm as shocked as anyone that I'm able to move around and play," Favre said this week.
That should help the Arizona pass rush.
"We know where he is going to be at," said Porter, who leads the Cards with three sacks. "We know he's going to be six or seven yards deep and if he does move, it'll be stepping up into the pocket. It's not going to be running to the sideline to throw a pass. It's our job to get good pressure."
The Cardinals broke out a version of their jumbo package last game, with Rex Hadnot and fellow lineman Jeremy Bridges lined up in the backfield as dual fullbacks to help clear the way for on a touchdown.
"Those guys, the go in and flop on the ground for one play and score and figure they should get more time," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I'm sure we may expand on that package as we go forward."
It was similar to the package used in the playoffs last year against the Packers, when defensive linemen Darnell Dockett and Gabe Watson were used as blockers.
"Probably one of the most shocking things is (Darnell) didn't say a word about (not being used)," Whisenhunt said. "I think maybe we slipped it past him or he wasn't paying attention because I know if he had seen it, he would have been upset."
Hadnot, a backup guard and center, hadn't appeared in a game all season up until that point. And he had never lined up in the backfield during his football-playing days at any point, "so I'm one for one."
"Beanie just went with his instincts," Hadnot said, adding that "we'll see" if he could get a carry down the road. "That's part of the expansion."
ABDULLAH V. ABDULLAH
The three years that separate Hamza Abdullah and his brother Husain have never kept them apart for long on the field. The two played together as starters in high school when Hamza – now a safety for the Cardinals – was a senior and Husain – now a safety for the Vikings – was a freshman. They repeated the feat for a season at Washington State.
But Sunday marks the first time since both arrived in the NFL that their teams will meet.
"I can't wait to see him," Hamza said. Their parents will be at the game and "either way, they win."
While his brother will be in the lineup, Hamza's inclusion is no guarantee. He has been a healthy inactive three of the past four games. Nevertheless, he holds out hope he will get to play this week.
"Hopefully we'll be out there the same time on a special teams play and get to tussling a little bit, like we used to in the old days," Hamza said.
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