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Vikings wonder about future without Favre

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — One after another, the Minnesota Vikings mentioned how much they enjoyed playing with Brett Favre.

Will the fun will be one season and done?

The devastated Vikings gathered Monday at their practice facility for exit physicals and meetings with coaches, two weeks sooner than they hoped thanks to that epic overtime loss in New Orleans for the NFC championship.

Despite all the other intriguing in-game developments and offseason story lines, the day-after focus fell on the 40-year-old Favre’s future. He didn’t appear in the locker room at Winter Park while it was open to reporters, but his demeanor after the game and responses from teammates suggested he’s leaning toward quitting.

For now.

“In a situation like this I really don’t want to make a decision right now based on what’s happened, because I do know the year could not have gone any better aside from us not going to Miami,” Favre said Sunday night at the Superdome. “I really enjoyed it, to be honest. Just wondering if I can hold up, especially after a day like today.”

He took a beating by the Saints, and the ankle injury he suffered in the third quarter was another reminder of how draining the game has been for him mentally and physically down the stretch of his 19-year career.

“From a physical standpoint I feel for him, but definitely mentally and emotionally as he always does he lays it on the line and gave it everything he had,” linebacker Ben Leber said. “I truly wish we could have him back next year, but that will be his decision.”

Leber sounded resigned to losing Favre to retirement, though the NFL’s all-time leading passer is so famously prone to waffling over his decision he could always find a renewed desire to return for more after a break from the grind.

“It’s still early. Way too early. Brett is liable to change his mind five, 10 times down the road,” wide receiver Bernard Berrian said. “He already knows that we want him back. It’s more or less letting him go off and do his thing.”