EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Eventually, the Minnesota Vikings will need to know: is Brett Favre going to play or not?
The Vikings aren’t showing any public impatience with the NFL’s all-time leading passer, even though Favre’s annual waffling over his retirement continues to cloud preparations for the season. Training camp starts in seven weeks.
“You have it lingering over your head, all day every day,” tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. “Every time you turn on the TV, you see Favre, or you see something about Favre, or you see something about his shoulder, or you see him working out at the high school. You want to know what’s going on, but at the same time that’s something that we can’t control so we leave it alone,” Shiancoe said.
Even the uncertainty at quarterback — will it be Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels or Favre? — isn’t enough to get coach Brad Childress to declare an end to the will-he-or-won’t-he dance that’s gone on for weeks.
“Do I need clarity on it? Again, it’s hard to speculate,” Childress said, reiterating Thursday he had set no deadline for Favre to decide.
In his fourth year in charge of the Vikings, Childress has a well-established reputation as a no-nonsense, detail-driven coach. As Philadelphia’s offensive co-ordinator, his do-it-our-way message to a pouting Terrell Owens played a part in the star receiver’s departure from the Eagles in 2005. With Minnesota, he has expressed disappointment when certain veterans skipped all or parts of the team’s off-season workout program.
But Childress hasn’t come close to suggesting Favre make up his mind soon. Asked if Favre can still be a great quarterback, the coach said this: “Don’t know. Don’t know. Stay tuned.”
The Vikings have another organized practice Friday, their last scheduled activity until players are asked to report to training camp on July 29. The first full workout on the field is two days after that.
Childress said he called Favre last week, declining to elaborate on the conversation. With Favre’s right arm reportedly recovering from surgery, Childress will surely want to see the 39-year-old throw before the team gives him a contract.
“That’s down-the-road stuff,” Childress said. “The guy’s retired right now. You’d have to talk to him about that.”
Favre hasn’t spoken publicly since he retired from the New York Jets in February.
Jackson and Rosenfels can’t be happy with the situation, but they’ve got the company line down pat.
“Uncertainty is never a good thing, but again I can’t control what the head coach does or the GM does,” Rosenfels said. “They’re going to make decisions. One day when I’m a head coach or I’m a GM, I’ll be making decisions. But right now I’m just a quarterback.”
Jackson acknowledged seeking stress relief in the weight room, but he’s endured so much scrutiny and skepticism during his three up-and-down seasons that he’s developed plenty of perspective.
“Like any situation you’re in, you want to know,” Jackson said. “But I guess it’s not their job to tell me. So I’ll just go out here and try to get better.”