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Vikings Congratulate Brett Favre, Tony Dungy on Hall of Fame Enshrinements

MANKATO, Minn. — As Tony Dungy was nearing the end of his first season as Vikings defensive coordinator, Brett Favre was putting the finishing touches on his first season as a starter.

Minnesota was able to limit Green Bay's young quarterback to 23-of-35 passing for 187 yards and zero touchdowns while intercepting him thrice in a 27-7 win on Dec. 27, 1992.

Vikings defenses orchestrated by Dungy went 5-2 against teams quarterbacked by Favre from 1992-95, holding him without a touchdown pass in four of those contests and totaling 10 interceptions to seven touchdowns allowed.

Nearly a quarter century later, the men have met again in Canton, Ohio, this weekend where they are being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Instead of another face-off, their faces will be immortalized with bronze busts in "football heaven." They received their gold jackets for the first time on Thursday night during a special dinner and will be presented on Saturday.

Favre's career path eventually arced around to the other side of the rivalry with the Vikings, where he had his most substantial statistical season (107.2 passer rating with 33 touchdowns and an NFL-low seven interceptions) in leading the Vikings to the 2009 NFC Championship game.

Here are memories and thoughts from Vikings players and Head Coach Mike Zimmer on Favre:

One takedown stands above all others

Heading into his 10th NFL season, Brian Robison can still vividly recall his fourth NFL game.

"It's one of those deals that you'll never forget," Robison said Friday. "I remember my first year when we played him, just looking across, and that was probably the only guy I've ever seen in the league that I was just kind of like, 'Holy crap, I'm playing against Brett Favre.' It was just an awesome experience."

Robison wasn't too star-struck, however. He sacked Favre and became the last Viking to takedown the quarterback on Sept. 30, 2007.

It was Robison's third career sack, and 45.5 have followed since but he said, "Absolutely, that ranks at the top."

Favre also had the play in mind when he arrived in Minnesota in 2009.

"When he got here in 2009, he kind of mentioned it," Robison recalled. "It was pretty funny. We had some pretty good jokes about that one. They kicked our tail a lot, so that was about the only thing I had to fire back with."

Robison respected what Favre accomplished throughout his career and relished what they did as teammates.

"I mean he deserves [the Hall of Fame]," Robison said. "The things he did in this league with numerous teams, I mean he did a lot of his damage in Green Bay, but then coming over here and doing what he did that season was just exceptional. It was one of his better seasons in his career."

Great competitor

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway called Favre "a great guy, a great competitor."

"Obviously, I'm super happy for him to be a Hall of Fame player. Clearly it's the type of career that everybody would dream of having. He was symbolic of so many things, the right way to play the game and the right way to be a great teammate.

"I think it was hard to play against him because he was such a good player, but then it was so fun to be a part of his teams, too, and just the way he handled that situation. He was an awesome guy and a fun guy to be around."

'Always a handful'

Vikings Head Coach Zimmer:

"I hated playing against Brett Favre because he was amazing. I had a lot of fun watching him and his enthusiasm for the game and great arm. Great competitor. I had the chance to play him when I was in Dallas. We played him a lot in the playoffs. It seemed like every year they were down there playing us but he was always a handful."

Adrian in awe

Adrian Peterson on teaming with Favre:

"At first, [I felt in] awe, I grew up watching him. The passion that I play with is something that came from Favre, watching him play the game, 'That's how I'll play the running back position,' " Peterson said. "Having the success that he had for such a long time, initially, it was like, 'Wow, this is Brett Favre,' and to have a locker next to him was pretty special.

"I don't ask too many guys for autographs, but I definitely asked him for a couple. It was a great experience, one that I'll always remember and cherish."

The 'gunslinger'

Captain Munnerlyn on his "favorite player":

"He's been around for a long time. It's great to see guys like that, good guys go into the Hall of Fame, those guys that work their tail off and get rewarded.

"I think me being from Alabama, he played at Southern Miss. I had a chance to pick him off my rookie year, but I didn't catch it, so I was kind of upset about that. He's just always been my favorite.

"It seems like he was an outspoken guy, a very competitive guy. He's a gunslinger."

View some of the best images from Brett Favre's days as a Viking on the heels of him being named a 2016 Pro Football HOF finalist.

'Admired both'

Vikings safety Harrison Smith:

"I don't know [Favre or Dungy], but I've admired both of them for a long time. I think as players coming up we should learn a little bit about players who came before us and what they did. Not only players but coaches, GMs and owners. The more we can learn about those guys, I think, is just better to show respect for them.

Dungy was an NFL assistant for 15 seasons before receiving his first opportunity to be a head coach when he was hired by Tampa Bay in 1996. After helping the Bucs become a winner and contender, Dungy made league history in Indianapolis when he became the first African-American Head Coach to win a Super Bowl (XLI). He's talked about how his time in Minnesota working for the late Dennis Green, the third African-American head coach in NFL history, helped foster his success.

Zimmer, who worked for 20 seasons as an NFL assistant, including 14 as a defensive coordinator, and Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards spoke about Dungy's impact on and off the field.

'First-class man'


"Coach Dungy, I've gotten to know him a bit the last couple of years. It took him a long time to become a head coach, and then he took advantage of it and had an unbelievable career, and he's really a first-class man."


History 'speaks volumes'


"Tony sort of set a precedent in this league, not only as a football coach, but in who he is as a person. I think any time you've got a person of his magnitude that has done things the right way, who has helped open eyes to certain criteria in this league, he sort of sets his own precedent.

"His history here, his history as a coordinator, his history as a head coach, speaks volumes. That's the first thing you recognize about him. It's not just his ability as a football coach, it's about his ability as a person and the effect that he has on the men that he's around every day as coaches or players.

"I think it's a great accomplishment. He's well-deserving for him to be able to go in. I've known him throughout the course of my career but never worked for him. You feel like you know him when you meet him, and you can see the body of work that he's left in this league as a player and coach and all of those different things, and just an example for a younger man like myself to kind of emulate as I go through."

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