Notebook: Why Favre, not Cutler?

If the "unretirement dance" between the Vikings and Brett Favre is truly over, it's time to examine why the team was interested in Favre over Jay Cutler. Plus, there is a new twist in the never-ending story. And we take a look at former Vikings looking for starting roles and the intrigue a new Viking is bringing.

Life will have to go on without Vikings fans dreaming of Brett Favre in a purple jersey if a Yahoo! Sports report holds true. The web site reported on Thursday that a source with knowledge of the situation said Favre called Vikings head coach Brad Childress and told him he is staying retired.

While conducting a phone interview with NFL Network this week, an interesting question was raised: Why would the Vikings have an interest in Brett Favre when their interest in trading for Jay Cutler faded quickly? Both were considered strong-armed quarterbacks when they were in the prime of their careers, but Cutler is just entering his prime while Favre is well past it.

The key, in this writer's opinion, is in the semantics. A "trade" for Cutler would have required numerous high-round draft picks while "signing" Favre would have required only a decent contract, not the surrender of draft picks or valued players.

The Bears ended up relinquishing starting quarterback Kyle Orton and two first-round draft picks in order to call Jay Cutler their own. If the Vikings would have swung a similar deal, they would have not only given up on 2006 second-round draft pick Tarvaris Jackson, but they would have traded away first-round draft picks in three consecutive years, as well as two third-round draft picks last year, to add Cutler and defensive end Jared Allen.

That's not something vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman was excited about. While he'd do the Jared Allen trade all over again, he'd prefer to build his team through the draft rather than shipping away future picks.

"My job is to help get the players in here that gives us the best chance to win each year. But also you've got to have an eye for the future. You've got to look out for the future of the organization," Spielman said last month. "Let's say you go ahead and say, ‘We're going to win now and regardless of what's going to happen,' and then you're starting back over from scratch two or three years from now. Then you're all the way down at the bottom and it takes you three or four more years to build it back up. The job is to keep consistent, keep good football players coming in and a lot of that has to do with the lifeline of your draft.

"If you don't have young players coming in that are first-, second-, third-round type talents, even fourth-round type talents, or you're hitting on guys, then you don't have a chance."

Even the mid- and low-round picks are valuable. Spielman said after the draft that the team didn't have the ammunition to move up often and make moves for prospects this year. The Vikings were already without a fourth-round pick (Sage Rosenfels) and a sixth-round pick (Kelly Holcomb) for previous trades they made for quarterbacks.


While the Yahoo! report on Favre would explain why Childress apparently didn't travel to Mississippi to visit with the quarterback as he was reportedly scheduled to do, Favre's agent, Bus Cook, told NFL Network that he talked with Favre on Thursday morning and the quarterback didn't mention a phone call to Childress.

Cooks has maintained that Favre is retired and reiterated that stance on Thursday.

"He's retired," Cook said. "That's what I've been telling people all along. ... He says he still hasn't thrown a ball (since the end of the 2008 season)."


Former Vikings kicker Steve Hauschka was the Ravens' kickoff specialist last season as a rookie. This season, he's expected to compete with Graham Gano, an undrafted rookie out of Florida State, to replace Matt Stover at placekicker.

"We know we're out on the limb. We know it's a risk," coach John Harbaugh said. "But it's a no-choice situation for us. Everybody is a little anxious about it, but we have to find out at some point if we can have one kicker on our 53-man roster who can do both (kickoff and field goals) and who is a younger guy.

"The fact that Matt's contract is up, this year made it the time. It's kind of out of our control. The good thing is Matt has held the option open (to come back). He understands totally, and he knows there is a chance that he can be the kicker next year."

Hauschka was 1-for-2 on field goals last season when the Ravens used him as their long-range option. He converted a 54-yard field goal and missed a 53-yarder.

Hauschka went to training camp with the Vikings last year and was inconsistent during practices but looked better in preseason games kicking field goals, earning a chance with the Ravens after the Vikings released him prior to the start of the season.


Another former Viking could lose his starting job before the season even begins.

QB Daunte Culpepper is on a short-term deal and knows his future with the Lions is just that – short-term. General manager Martin Mayhew wouldn't tip his hand as to which way the team is leaning in setting a depth chart at the QB position, where No. 1 overall pick Matt Stafford could be on the fast track.

"It's May," Mayhew said. "We've got plenty of time to figure all that out. Daunte is a guy who's a vet. He's been around. He's a pro, and I trust Daunte. He's got a lot of ability, and I anticipate that if we had something to do today, Daunte would be the guy today. But we've got a lot of time to work, and we'll see how it goes."


Vikings WR Bernard Berrian likes the addition of the versatile Percy Harvin to the offense.

"I think he creates mismatches," Berrian said. "He can line up pretty much anywhere on the field, and I think that will enable our offense to be a lot better. He's not really a true receiver, but you can hand the ball off to him, you can throw swing routes or reverses, or you can line him up in the slot position or outside and throw the ball to him. He's got speed and he's probably the most explosive player in that (draft) class. He's definitely got some talent and he can do some things with the ball."

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