A busy week in sports

FELDY: Geez, I go away for a week -- at a time when nothing is supposed to be happening in the sports world, and I come back to ...

* BRETT FAVRE IS BACK ... SORT OF: First he retired. Then he wasn't sure. Then he wanted to come back to the Packers. Now he wants to be released so he can sign with another team (contain your enthusiasm for now, Helga Heads). The Packers' GM Ted Thompsonand coach Mike McCarthyare being real cheeseheads about this. They won't release him, won't really welcome him back. I understand, to a point, where they're coming from. They've invested an entire offseason in prepping Aaron Rodgersto be the starter. They've altered the playbook for him. But, the bottom line should be: Who gives the team the best chance to win? No one in their right mind should answer Rodgers to that question. Favre had one of his best seasons last season and his team had home-field advantage in the NFC title game. The Packers are still one of the best teams in the NFC, but would be one of the two favorites to go to the Super Bowl if they had Favre under center. Instead, it looks like Thompson and McCarthy are willing to play a game of stare-down with Favre and his agent, Bus Cook. The Packers can't let Favre linger on their roster through training camp and the season if they're going full-playbook-ahead with Rodgers. The last thing the guy-taking-over-for-Favre needs is Favre staring over his shoulder. At the same time, Green Bay doesn't want to see Favre in Vikings purple or Bears blue, so the team's best bet has to be trading him. My guess: Favre either starts for the Packers or he gets traded and starts in Tampa.

* TWINS, TWINS, TWINS: Twins GM BIll Smithdeserves a pat on the back. If fomer Twins GM Terry Ryanhad let Johan Santanaand Torii Huntergo, only to find the Twins 2 1/2 games out of first on July 11, people would say, "well, that's what Terry Ryan does." So, Smith and manager Ron Gardenhiredeserve a big thumbs-up for keeping this team competitive when it looked on Opening Day like they'd be lucky to win 75 games. At the beginning of May, I said I'd need to see where the Twins were on June 1 before I got on the bandwagon. On June 1, I said I'd need to wait 'til July 1. Then I needed to wait for Interleague play to end. Now, even after getting swept by the Red Sox, I'm fully aboard the bandwagon. Now, I've always been and always will be a Twins fan, but I'm now aboard the "This team can get to the playoffs" bandwagon. If their bullpen holds up (how odd is it to say that about a Twins team?) they could even surprise some teams in the postseason. Entering tonight's games, only five teams in MLB had better records than the Twins. When you can say that 92 games into the season, that means this team has to be taken seriously.

* MORE BASEBALL: I'm glad the Twins got their Interleague games out of the way over the past few weeks. They played 'em before the Brewers picked up C.C. Sabathiaand the Cubs traded for Rich Harden. If Harden stays healthy, the N.L. Central race is going to be a great battle between those two teams. ... Richie Sexsongot released by Seattle a couple days ago. My gut reaction as a Twins fan: Get him because we need a power hitter. But, are there many teams out there really in need of a used-to-be power hitter who was hitting about .215? I'd rather stick with Craig Monroe.

* MORE NFL: Can you believe the Vikings open training camp two weeks from today?


* WILD LAND IN FREE AGENCY WITH A THUD: I really don't expect Wild GM Doug Risebroughto go out and break the bank every year in free agency, but, c'mon, when every team in your division does something to get better, you have to make at least one splash bigger than Andrew Brunette. Maybe the Wild can be Twins-like and win with a core group of home-grown talent supplemented by some scrap-heap free agents, but they play in a conference where teams 3-10 aren't separated by much. There's just as good of a chance that the Wild miss the playoffs as their is that they win the division again.

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