EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Even when Brett Favre told the Minnesota Vikings he was staying retired at the end of July, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had his suspicions.
After competing for the starting job for the first two weeks of training camp, Jackson and Sage Rosenfels had the rug abruptly pulled out from under them when Favre arrived at practice on Tuesday and took over.
“We knew all along that this was a possibility,” Jackson said. “You can’t always believe what you hear, especially on TV.”
Nearly all of the Vikings welcomed the three-time MVP and future Hall of Famer during his surprise arrival on Tuesday. But for Jackson and Rosenfels, it was a difficult pill to swallow after both believed they had a shot to lead a team that expected to contend for another NFC North crown.
“It’s not a good feeling but you have to take it for what it’s worth and try and get better from it,” Jackson said.
It was even more difficult for Rosenfels, who was traded from Houston to Minnesota this off-season with the express purpose of competing for the starting position, the first time he’s had that opportunity in nine seasons. He performed very well in Friday’s pre-season opener against Indianapolis, completing 10 of 13 passes and leading two scoring drives.
Now, it’s almost surely a trip back to the bench.
“It’s something that wasn’t a total shock,” Rosenfels said. “Obviously this has been three months in the ongoing sort of thing. So for me personally, this wasn’t what I was hoping for. I tried to get traded here and got traded here.
“But in my nine years this is the best football team I’ve ever been on. We have so much talent. If the team needs me this year, when the team needs me this year, I’m going to be ready.”
Linebacker Ben Leber said Favre’s arrival gives the team consistency at a position where it has been lacking for years. But he said he had no idea what to say to Jackson and Rosenfels.
“I wish I had that answer. I don’t know what you say to them,” Leber said. “It’s hard to sit there and say, ’Hey, keep competing.’ I think it’s pretty clear who is going to be the No. 1 guy. I guess you have to compete for No. 2 and it will figure itself out.”
When the possibility of Favre joining the Vikings first arose earlier this off-season, there were reports that Jackson would request a trade.
“I never said that,” Jackson said Tuesday. “I never said anything like that at all.”
Rosenfels, who has missed two straight practices with a sprained right ankle, was a little more coy when asked if he would seek a trade.
“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that,” Rosenfels said. “I’m just trying to get my ankle fixed right now. It’s feeling pretty good for the most part but just trying to get that right. I haven’t even really thought about that stuff.”