Childress on QBs: ‘They're both excited'

Vikings coach Brad Childress closed the door on Brett Favre and said his current cast of quarterbacks is excited to get into training camp and compete.

It came as something of a surprise Wednesday when Vikings head coach Brad Childress held an impromptu press conference at Minnesota State-Mankato, as he arrived for the start of the two-week training camp period. What was no surprise is that many of the questions dealt with the three-month Brett Favre saga.

Childress didn't duck any of the questions, reiterating that when a player of Favre's caliber expresses an interest in playing for your team, as a head coach you are obligated to listen for the chance to add a Hall of Famer to the 53-man roster.

"(It was) a rare opportunity to be able to look at a guy that is a Hall of Fame (caliber) quarterback, that has knowledge of our system, knowledge of the NFC North," Childress said. "We evaluated that, and he evaluated that all the way up here until the end. Obviously he has gone his way and we are going our way. I am more than content with these two guys (Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson) competing with each other and throwing (John David) Booty in the mix. They are going to go back and take the same turns that, really, they took all spring long. Nobody stole any turns from those guys. They were parceled out. It will be a fun training camp from that standpoint. I had a good opportunity to talk with each one of those guys in my office this morning. I'm told that Tarvaris was the first guy down here."

Although talk of the Favre saga has been must-see TV and a talk radio gold mine, it would appear that the dance with Brett is over as far as Childress is concerned. Favre has left the door ajar, telling Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King that he might reconsider coming out of retirement if a team like the Vikings came calling at midseason. But Childress said Wednesday that, as far as he goes, the chase is over and he has no intention of continuing the recruiting of No. 4.

"There is not a chance from my standpoint," Childress said. "I am going forward with the guys we have. We will have a great competition. We will have a great camp. We will be a good football team one way or the other, which is what I told Brett (and) which is what I told our team."

Childress was asked if the pursuit of Favre, which became a staple of sports television programming for the last three months, came at a risk of potentially alienating the players on the team. He defended the courting of Favre by pointing out other talented additions to the team. But he did say that the Favre Watch was breaking news almost as soon as it happened.

"Everything gets public in a heck of a hurry these days," Childress said. "Whether you are talking about guys on our team or whoever, his record speaks for itself as a Hall of Fame (caliber) quarterback. I work for this organization and I work for this football team to bring the best possible players that I can bring in here. One player isn't going to push you one way or another. Last year I think it was (the same issue with) Jared Allen, ‘They need more sacks.' That doesn't reflect on Brian Robison at all. Good players are good players. I am glad we have Brian Robison (and) I am glad we have Jared Allen. Bringing Bernard Berrian here last year doesn't reflect at all on the receiver group. Good players want to be around good players, and I think that is what you see when guys text or talk. You'll find everybody in the National Football League has almost everybody's number. So they are not hard to get in touch with."

With the Vikings back at Square One that they were at in March with the trade to acquire Rosenfels and the promise of a training camp battle for the starting job, Childress said nothing has changed. Both quarterbacks are vying to be the starter and, despite a long and circuitous detour along the way, both players are in high spirits and looking forward to the challenge training camp will bring starting Friday.

"They are excited for training camp," Childress said. "It was kind of where we left it in the spring time. You can ask them and find out better from them, but I know that they are anxious to get in there and take their swings."

Childress said that the battle for the starting job is back up for grabs and that he spoke to both players Wednesday. Jackson was the first player to show up at camp and Rosenfels wasn't far behind. Favre-a-palooza is officially over and the time has come for the players who are vying for the job to put their own best foot forward. He spoke with both of them Wednesday and both are prepared for what the next month of the preseason will bring – the same message he gave them back in March when Rosenfels came from Houston to Minnesota.

"The message was that they're right where they were in the spring time, so have at it," Childress said. "They're both excited. I think they're both excited to get here and get down to business; as we all are. We are excited for the start of camp, maybe not checking into Gage Hall, but starting the process of seeing what kind of football team we have and defending the NFC North (title)."

THURSDAY NOTES

  • Childress was asked about negotiations with first-round pick Percy Harvin and he said that the talks were ongoing when he spoke with Rob Brzezinski Wednesday afternoon.

  • Childress also addressed the passing of Jim Johnson, who was defensive coordinator of the Eagles when Childress was Philadelphia's offensive coordinator, saying, "My heart goes out to (his widow) Vicky and the kids. He was a great a guy to be around – a sage guy who had seen it all. He had a great way about him. He had a gruff way about him, but was easy to laugh with. He had seen so many high circumstances and low circumstances and I know he battled (his cancer) all the way to the end. I can close my eyes and see him standing across in the (January playoff) game. (He was) just a great human being and football lost a great person."

  • The Vikings have yet to release an official statement, but reports have surfaced that defensive Kenechi Udeze has told the team he is going to retire. Udeze, who was diagnosed with leukemia after the 2007 season, missed all of last year, but worked out with the team during all of its OTAs and minicamps this spring.

  • Jared Allen made an appearance on "Jim Rome Is Burning" on ESPN Wednesday. Donning a hat shaped like a bear's head, Allen said he was passing the time by catching up on the latest happenings with Jon and Kate Gosselin of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" reality show fame. He weighed in on the Favre topic as well, saying that he never got his hopes up too high on signing Favre, but said playing with a Hall of Famer would be something he could tell his grandchildren about. He also added that he hopes the saga is over, because bringing Favre in during the season would be too big a distraction.


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