The Brett Favre controversy won't go away in the next couple of days, but the Vikings, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell specifically, want the focus on their team.
As difficult as it has been for a lot of people caught up in the maelstrom of controversy surrounding Brett Favre
's desire to return to the game, few have had it as bad as Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. With his name (and phone number) surfacing in the Favre tampering controversy, Bevell has been branded as a cheat by many in the national media, Bevell was forced to remain silent on the issue. When he went to the podium to speak Saturday at training camp, his intent was to talk about the Vikings. As expected, it didn't take long for the topic of discussion to turn to Favre.
When asked to discuss the Favre controversy, Bevell tried to deflect the question and maintain the company line that limited comment or no comment as the preferred course of action.
"I would say we're really good friends," Bevell said when asked about his with Favre, adding, "it's a league matter and they are taking care of it."
Bevell has inadvertently been thrust into the eye of the storm and, like it or not, realizes that he is now part of this ever-changing story. He is hopeful that the story will die down one way or another – either Favre remains retired or returns to the Packers, Buccaneers, Jets or some unnamed mystery team. If he had his way, the discussion wouldn't be about Favre, but about the Vikings and their chances for success in 2008.
"It's not the message I want out there," Bevell said of his reported interest in bringing Favre to Minnesota. "I want us focusing on the Minnesota Vikings
– what we're doing here, what we're trying to prepare for, the season that we're having, keep the focus on our team and that's where I'd like it to stay."
While that may not be possible, at least it's been put out publicly that the Vikings are moving on without Favre and would like to leave the controversy behind as well.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King interviewed Favre Saturday, and the quarterback reported that he will not be attending Packers training camp on Sunday, as previously reported. He is waiting to see if there can be a resolution to the issue in the next couple of days.
The Vikings haven't made a final decision as to who will be wearing the defensive headset helmet approved by the league during the owners meeting last spring. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is likely to have LB E.J. Henderson or safety Darren Sharper wear the headset when the season begins. For now, Frazier has been wearing it himself on occasion at training camp to give it a defensive test-run.
The agent for WR Lee Evans of the Buffalo Bills is using the contract signed by Bernard Berrian as the starting point for a new deal for his client. Evans, who is entering the final year of his contract, wants to exceed the numbers Berrian received from the Vikings – $7 million a year with $16 million in guarantees.
Ray Edwards remained out Saturday, sidelined with a back injury that has him on the physically unable to perform list.
VU would like to send condolences to the family and friends of WCCO-TV reporter Bob Rainey, who lost his battle with colon cancer Saturday at the age of 46. Rainey, who spent the last four years covering the Vikings for WCCO, was a lifelong Vikings fan and one of the nicest people sitting on media row during Vikings games. His enthusiasm for the team and gentle spirit will be missed.
The Vikings will have just one practice session today from 3-5 p.m. They will resume two-a-day practices Monday.