Sunday notebook: Clearing up the CBs

The Vikings now have two cornerbacks that aren't participating in organized team activities, but head coach Brad Childress put a relatively positive spin on each situation. He also laughed with reporters about an entertaining exchange between him and a grade-school student. Plus, other notes on practices and Brett Favre.

When training camp practices open July 31, the Vikings hope to have the cornerback position covered. For now, however, what was expected to be one of the most crowded positions on the team is a little less than full strength.

The Antoine Winfield absence from offseason practices and a minor Asher Allen knee surgery has left the defensive backfield two jerseys short of a crowded defensive backfield at Winter Park.

There was some consternation about both of them missing from last week's organized team activities, but on Friday Brad Childress seemed to downplay both.

The day before, Childress was asked about Allen's absence and said he didn't have to answer that question and therefore he wouldn't. It wasn't a case of Childress being in a gruff mood because he willingly answered all sorts of other questions with expansive answers.

After multiple reports that Allen underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, Childress said he wasn't concerned about the third-round rookie being ready for training camp after arthroscopic surgery.

"I don't have any concerns about Asher Allen. I really don't," Childress said when asked if the problem could overlap into training camp.

The Winfield situation isn't as cut and dried. The veteran made the Pro Bowl for the first time last year and has been playing at that level for several years now. But he's also turning 32 and in the final year of his contract. Winfield has remained largely silent on the contract issue since talks reportedly stalled last month, but he did issue a statement to the daily newspapers late Thursday night.

"I want all to know that I'm not at OTAs because I don't want to be there. I do want to be there! As I have stated before, I want to finish my career a Viking," he said.

Childress, who has had contact with Winfield several times since talks slowed, including last Tuesday when he met up with Winfield at his physical, said he wasn't sure how to characterize Winfield's statement.

"I'd just let his words stand. He wants to be there (at practices). There's certainly not a bar across the door," Childress said. "Matter of fact, I told you guys, ‘Welcome invite, open arms to all.' Just let the words speak for themselves."

At one point, it seemed contract talks were on life support, but Childress' updated on the situation may have left room to believe that process isn't dead quite yet.

"Negotiation is just what that means. Ups and downs and flats. People walking away, people getting back together," he said.

While Childress is sure to have an influence on which players the Vikings deem worthy to negotiate with in contract talks, he also made it clear he likes to stay out of the wrangling that can go on between the players' side and the team's side. He'd prefer to leave that up to the front office.

"That's not my expertise to negotiate. I go out of my way to tell players that. Far be it from me – I never want to talk about dollars and cents. That's typically a degrading deal when a coach talks about putting a dollar figure on it," he said.

He also made it clear he isn't keeping Winfield away, calling him "a good player" and saying, "I want him here right now. The mother hen part of me, right?"


Leave it to a grade-schooler to provide the most entertainment among a mass of hundred of adults.

After a morning practice, the Vikings' players and coaches arrived at Crest View Elementary School in Brooklyn Park just before 1 p.m. Friday to finish an organizational-wide playground build that was worth tens of thousands of dollars. The mood was upbeat and public compliments had just finished up, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Vikings coach Brad Childress was taking time out to talk to one of the remaining students (probably in about fourth grade, but the student slipped away before we could finish a conversation with Childress and get his name and age). While a small group of writers waited for Childress to finish his talk, he invited the reporters to listen to the boy ask questions.

The student quickly became shy and asked only one more question, wondering if Brett Favre was coming to the Vikings.

"He's still retired, you know?" Childress replied.

"But I read the newspaper and it says he's coming back," the boy said.

"I wouldn't trust anything that gets printed in the newspaper. It's all hearsay. What are your other questions? Go ahead, absurd ones," Childress said.

The awkward but entertaining conversation continued.

Boy: "I don't have a question. I have a comment."

Childress: "I get a lot of free comments, but if you're feeling the need, go ahead."

Boy: "Try not to make Adrian Peterson …"

Childress: "Try not to make him what?"

Boy: "Leave."

Childress: "Leave where?"

Boy: "The Vikings."

Childress: "I'll try not to."

Boy: "You'll make me happy. Can I get your autograph?"

Childress: "You bet. There you go."

Boy: "My dad doesn't like you, but I do."

Childress: "Yeah? He might like me better with a beard. You know what? I don't know your dad and I would never tell you I don't like your dad, so tell him that. You can tell him, ‘I met the coach today.' You can tell him whatever you want to tell him, but tell him he's never met me. Tell him hello."

Boy: "You're the best."

Childress said the boy was "one of the many" kids "speaking for the masses." The coach smiled and said he gets mostly positive comments, but said he doesn't get many of the "you're the best" type of comments. Most of them fall somewhere in between the "I don't like you" and "You're the best."


Favre's agent, Bus Cook, told the Associated Press on Friday that his client remains retired, but he also seemed to be campaigning for the Vikings to sign Favre.

"I would think they would pull out all the stops if they want to get the guy," Cook told the Associated Press. "I think Brett Favre just brings a whole new ballgame to any ballclub. That's no reflection on the guys that are on their team at quarterback right now, but Brett's in a different league than most."

Childress said Friday that he isn't even thinking of Favre right now.

"I'm not even thinking about that right now," he said when asked if he'd consider a deadline for a Favre decision. "I'm thinking about the next four OTAs next week."


The Vikings are scheduled to have four more practices this week and two the following week. Childress hasn't always conducted as many organized team activities as the league allows, but he usually schedules the allotted 14 OTAs. He said he would see how far the team has come when he reviews the tape before he decides if he will bring the players back for that final week with two practices.

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