One coach parted with a legend, shipping out the most decorated quarterback in league history in favor of a younger, newer model.

The other coach was "willing to cut off his arms and legs," as one Minnesota Vikings player put it, to convince said legend to come out of retirement a second time and join the Vikings.

Fair or not, both Mike McCarthy and Brad Childress likely will find their coaching legacies tied to how they handled Brett Favre.

McCarthy and Packers GM Ted Thompson decided to move on without Favre last year, ending a 16-year relationship between team and player that was as close to family as there has been in the NFL's free agency era.

Childress pestered Favre all summer to come to Minnesota, desperately hoping the gray-haired, 40-year-old still had a little magic left in that surgically repaired right arm of his.

"I think at the end, Thompson and McCarthy, whether they go on and win multiple Super Bowls or not, ultimately one of the big things on their resumes was that they moved on without Brett, positive or negative," said Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, who spent the first nine years of his career playing with Favre in Green Bay. "I think that coach Childress will be in the same boat.

"Whether we go on and win a bunch with him or don't, it'll be an asterisk that he took the chance and whatever happened, happened. With a guy like (Favre), you're definitely creating a storyline."

McCarthy and Childress were hired six days apart in January, 2006, taking over bitter rivals that were in disarray. The Packers were coming off a 4-12 season under coach Mike Sherman, the only losing season in Favre's 16 years as quarterback.

The Vikings were 9-7 under Mike Tice in 2005, but were plagued by scandals off the field, including the infamous Love Boat incident and Tice's admission to scalping Super Bowl tickets.

McCarthy won the first five games in the head-to-head matchup and has never lost to Childress at Lambeau Field.

So Childress went out and got a guy who knows a thing or two about winning at Lambeau.

On Sunday, Favre will lead the Vikings (6-1) into the house that he rebuilt to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (4-2) in his first game on that hallowed field as a part of the enemy.

Favre became an idol in Green Bay after essentially putting the city back on the map, restoring the Titletown moniker with a Super Bowl championship and setting every career passing record worth having.

In the summer of 2007, the Packers ended a messy divorce by trading Favre to the Jets and handing the job to Aaron Rodgers. The move divided the Packer faithful, with some taking their beloved Favre's side and others supporting Thompson and McCarthy.

"I totally understood the direction they wanted to go in," Favre said. "It was probably best that things worked out the way it did. It's worked out for both sides I think."

Rodgers threw for more than 4,000 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his first full season as a starter and is off to another impressive start this year. He has the second-highest rating in the league, behind only Peyton Manning, and has thrown for 604 yards and five touchdowns in the last two weeks.

There were just as many skeptics when Childress picked Favre up from the airport in the middle of training camp in August to join the Vikings.

Favre was coming off surgery to alleviate the pain caused by a torn biceps tendon, had a torn rotator cuff in his throwing arm and turned 40 in October.

Some viewed it as a desperate move by a coach who had been unable to develop a reliable quarterback of his own in his first three seasons with the Vikings.

But the old man has been nothing short of brilliant this season. He is completing just under 69 percent of his throws with 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

"That's why Coach Childress was willing to cut off his arms and legs to bring him here, right?" Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. "He was the missing piece to the puzzle."

New Orleans safety Darren Sharper, who has played for both Green Bay and Minnesota, said the Packers had the tougher decision, "trying to let him go and decide if they want to move on with a younger guy. But you see, it's worked out well for both sides."


AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this story.