Vikings' opinions don't follow norm

If X-rays of Brett Favre's injured shoulder have indeed been sent to the Vikings, they have shown a history of coming up with their own medical conclusions and maybe taking risks where other teams won't. So far, it has served them well.

According to multiple reports, Brett Favre had X-rays of his right shoulder sent to the Vikings. According to ESPN, if the team determines that no "major" surgery is needed, a "source close to the situation" believes Favre will be a Viking.

"If it is determined by Favre's and the Vikings' medical people that he needs anything less than ‘major' surgery on his shoulder, Favre will unretire to play for the Vikings," the ESPN report said.

So, what are the chances that happens? If history and outside speculation are any indication, the chances appear to be pretty good.

A certified athletic trainer told Viking Update last week that the injury Favre suffered last season, a torn biceps, could possibly heal on its own. Other reports say a surgery that would complete the tear in the tendon could put Favre back on the field by training camp without the pain he had last year.

So if ESPN's source is correct, it will come down to the Vikings' medical evaluations. Recent history shows that the Vikings don't always agree with other medical evaluations in the league.

In 2007, there was plenty of predraft speculation that Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson would need a medal plate inserted to fortify a broken collar bone. Some believe Peterson would have been the No. 1 overall draft pick if it weren't for those medical concerns. Instead, he was on the draft board when the Vikings were ready to select with the seventh pick.

Despite having Chester Taylor coming off a 1,000-yard season in his first year with the Vikings, the team didn't hesitate to quickly squeeze the trigger and draft Peterson. They haven't been the least bit disappointed with that decision.

"There was no way we would trade out of No. 7," Spielman said before this year's draft when talking about the Peterson pick two years ago.

The Vikings had their medical evaluations done on Peterson, and Spielman said there was no trepidation about selecting him.

"The biggest thing with Adrian coming out was the collarbone concerns. I don't think there was anything about the ability part. But is he going to have to come in, are you going to have surgery for him right away? Is that collarbone going to break the first time he gets hit in preseason? So those are all the ‘if' factors that you're gambling on a little bit," Spielman said.

Spielman said those decisions are made after much discussion, some gut feeling and evaluating the whole picture.

"Sometimes a gut feeling. It's like I said, we do everything where it's fully discussed," he said. "And then myself and Brad (Childress) will sit down and go through, ‘This is what can happen. Are we willing to take the risk or not?' If we are and it's best for the Minnesota Vikings, that's what we're going to do."

So that's what the Vikings did with Peterson.

This year, there were a number of reasons for the Vikings not to select wide receiver Percy Harvin. He reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine, despite knowing he would be tested there, and there were other character questions from his past. But there were also medical questions about him.

While Harvin had other injuries during his career at Florida, the biggest medical question on him prior to the draft was something that was reported as a hole in his heel.'s Chris Steuber was told by one team doctor that he didn't believe it would heal on its own and that team would be taking him completely off its draft board. Other teams were rumored to be too concerned about him as well.

Harvin fell to No. 22 before the Vikings scooped him up.

"I'm not a medical doctor. We rely on our medical doctors. We rely on their opinions," Spielman said about Harvin's heel. "Just like Adrian, there was some medical stuff when he was coming out. Our trainers, Eric Sugarman, Dr. (Joel) Boyd, all our doctors do outstanding (work) and have been very good at predicting what potentially can happen with injuries and we haven't had – knock on wood – any issues with that, but we felt comfortable after talking with Eric Sugarman and our doctors that he was healthy enough to go."

Could the same hold true with Favre? Peterson's lack of problems with his collarbone and the expectations that Harvin will be taking full part in upcoming organized team activities would indicate it's possible that the Vikings will deem no major surgery needed in Favre's case. Obviously, they need to – and surely will – take Favre's medical issues on an individual basis, but recent history shows the Vikings don't always agreed with the medical opinions of others and might be more willing to take a calculated risk when the athletic upside is high enough.

Tim Yotter is publisher of Viking Update.

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