So Brett Favre has given his answer. He doesn't think his body can hold up for an entire 16-game season. His ankles and his knee (not his surgically repaired bicep) bothered him too much as he worked to get in shape to possibly come back. He notified coach Brad Childress of the decision on Tuesday.
Less than 24 hours later, both Favre left the door very much wide open still.
"I passed up the greatest chance I could have had right now, and it hurts," Favre told SI.com's Peter King. "By saying no, I know I'm leaving an incredible opportunity on the table, and that opportunity is not coming back."
"Very unlikely," Favre said about changing him mind yet again. "I really believe this is it. I truly, truly believe it's over. But if someone calls Nov. 1, who knows?"
"I'll toss the ball around, but I ain't tossing it to keep in shape to play," he said.
Favre remains the clear-cut winner of the "Definite Maybe" contest.
The suggestion, of course, is that if the Vikings NEED him later, he might be willing to return.
"I don't think that he's categorically said ... that if the world falls and they need a quarterback that I wouldn't go, but he's not looking for that to happen either," Favre's agent, Bus Cook, said in a recent Associated Press interview.
The reality is that the only thing that keeps Favre out of the speculation spotlight is if Tarvaris Jackson and/or Sage Rosenfels play well and the Vikings win football games. Anything less than that and Favre will continue to represent one of the most intriguing fallback options ever.
But if either Jackson or Rosenfels takes the bull by the horns and elevates the offense to the "kick-ass" level it appears capable of being with the right triggerman, the Favre speculation will at least stay on the back burner.
Cook reiterated that the health of Favre's ankles and knees, not the strength of his arm, was the reason for his reluctance to come back again.
"He's really tried and worked hard, but every day his body was telling him, ‘Look, you've still got the arm. It's the rest of me that's telling you to rethink your situation,'" Cook said. "He said, ‘Look, I don't want to go through it no more. Right now I'm just not of a mindset to go up there and go through this and that. I don't want to get to the middle of the season and look around and wonder what I've gotten myself into here.'"
For his part, Childress remains confident. "We're going to be a good football team, either way," he said.
Despite the disappointment (for many) that Favre will not unretire (for now), the Vikings are right where they anticipated being heading into the season following the draft. So why all the gloom and doom?
Here's the recent theme of headlines: Childress must fix this mess or
Dalliance with self-centered QB leaves Vikings with mess or Vikings left to clean up Favre mess.
If the psyche of Jackson or Rosenfels is too damaged to still emerge as the legitimate leader of this team because of the Favre pursuit, then they don't have what it takes anyway.
Acquiring Jared Allen a year ago didn't destroy the psyche of Ray Edwards or Brian Robison. Drafting Adrian Peterson didn't spell the end of Chester Taylor as a key contributor. Drafting Percy Harvin didn't result in Bernard Berrian or Bobby Wade or Sidney Rice demanding a trade.
The situation is simply what Childress has said it is: a rare opportunity to improve your team. If you can make it happen, you do it. If it doesn't work out you keep working at it. The Vikings didn't give up when they failed to land T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and they won't give up because they didn't get Favre.
With players reporting to training camp, defensive end Kenechi Udeze has put off his comeback attempt for leukemia and decided to retire, according to the Star Tribune's Sid Hartman.
Apparently minicamp workouts proved to be too rigorous for Udeze, who will devote himself to fighting his illness. All of us at VU wish him and his family nothing but the very best.
Running back Adrian Peterson had this to say about the Favre situation, according to a post on the team's website: "It doesn't make sense to worry about things that are out of my control. My entire focus this offseason has been to recharge my body and prepare myself for the 2009 season. I am confident in every player we have on our roster and I believe our front office has done everything in its power to keep improving our team. Now, as players, it's our job to go out there and defend our division championship, get back to the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl."
Soon-to-be Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel said current Vikings left guard Steve Hutchinson is his favorite player. "I love the way he plays; very old school. He's a joy to watch," McDaniel said in a recent online chat with fans.
Ex-Viking Arkee Whitlock rushed for 63 yards on 13 carries (4.8 avg.) with one touchdown for the Edmonton Eskimos in their game last Saturday.