Sunday Notebook: Moving past Favre?

The Vikings say they have closed the door on the pursuit of Brett Favre, but his name keeps being sounded by reporters, players, owners, even U.S. senators. Plus, we look at several issues on the closing horizon, from player availability to contract extensions.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is just one of numerous people in the organization trying to move on from the Brett Favre Chronicles, but it's not hard to wonder if Favre's name will resurface at some point in the coming months if a current quarterback is hurt more seriously than Tarvaris Jackson was Saturday morning when he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

When Favre tried to put the Vikings' pursuit of him to bed on Tuesday by calling head coach Brad Childress and informing him that he would remain retired, one report said Favre had informed the team of his decision a week earlier and the coaches "pleaded" with him to reconsider.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell respectfully disagreed with that characterization.

"I think that was a word that was misrepresented. Brett Favre was a free agent. We were actively recruiting him. To me, when I look at it, I see it as the same as when we went after Steve Hutchinson, Bernard (Berrian), Chester (Taylor). You put on your best face and you tell them all the positive things about your program, about the state, about every position on your team," Bevell said.

"Is groveling involved on hands and knees? Obviously not. It's just something that you're trying to sell your program at that time."

After dealing with sore ankles and knees, Favre wasn't sold that he could make it through a full season. Once that was made public, the Vikings were left to try their best to move on.

"We realized, like he did, that when training camp came around, it was in or out. We're very happy with what we have here. I'm very excited about being out here," Wilf said.

Wilf said the potential for big jersey and ticket sales never factored into the team's pursuit of Favre, but even without him signing, at least one Vikings number 4 jersey with "Favre" on the nameplate was being paraded around Mankato this weekend. There is no question the reported $10 million he could have made from the Vikings this year would have been eclipsed by sales induced by his signing.

"We never factored that in at all," Wilf said. "We just wanted to make sure that, as we always we do, that we get players on our team that would make us better. It didn't work out. We move on, and I'm looking forward to what is going to unfold here. We have a very talented team and there is going to be a lot of competition. I'm excited to be back here in Mankato as division champs and we're going to fight hard to keep that."

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the daughter of former Star Tribune Vikings beat writer Jim Klobuchar, made an appearance at training camp on opening day and said she "never once" thought of cancelling her visit after she learned Favre wasn't coming.

"The point of it is, that was an interesting chapter, but what we have here is our real team and they're looking very good," she said.

But she also used the three-month-long saga as a punch line during at least one appearance. Klobuchar said she went to an event in which some military operations were switching from Fort Snelling in Minnesota to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

"I actually said, ‘We're going to miss having the operations here and you guys have done so much for our state and it's not a fair trade for Brett Favre.'" Klobuchar said. "I heard that tickets were selling for quite a bit on E-Bay for the Vikings-Packers game. I still predict that it will be a great game and we'll have a packed stadium for it."

Tickets sales this year are reportedly lagging behind even last year, when the Vikings needed extensions of a league-imposed deadline before a couple of home games to avoid a local television blackout because of the lack of a sellout.

Maybe it's too early to rule out a change of heart from the king of waffling, but Wilf said Friday that the Vikings wouldn't revisit a Favre signing down the road.


E.J. Henderson has become more of a vocal leader as the defense has become more engrained in him and as he's matured, but it still doesn't seem like Henderson should be considered one of the older veterans on the team. After talking him Saturday, he reminded that he's a seventh-year veteran.

"Most of the guys when I look in the huddle now are younger than me, so they kind of look up to me as a seventh-year player. So it's kind of natural," Henderson said. "I don't really have to say so much, but I am more comfortable now saying something to the younger guys, compared to being a second- or third-year player. … I do feel more comfortable being vocal."


Wilf wouldn't qualify what kind success the Vikings would need to consider giving Childress a contract extension.

"We never make any preconditions on how the season should turn out or what conditions would be necessary," he said. "We're very happy with our coaching staff and players and very excited for this year. That has not come into my mind."

Childress still has two years remaining on the original five-year contract he signed with the team.

"What's on my mind is Mankato and this season," Wilf said.


What will end up taking longer – determining that Al Franken won the race to be Minnesota's second senator next to Klobuchar or determining if the suspensions to Pat Williams and Kevin Williams will be upheld?

The Williams Wall tested positive for the banned substance bumetanide during last year's training camp and were suspended for four games. However, they challenged that ruling in court during the 2008 season because bumetanide was not among the ingredients listed on the label of StarCaps, a dietary supplement they took. Between the Williamses and an NFL Players Association case, there are separate appeals in Minnesota state court and U.S district court, each taking steps forward in the next three weeks.

But when it end?

"We would like for it to come to an end and put it behind us," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "I know for their sake they would like to put it behind them and not miss any time. Hopefully it will come to a resolution pretty soon here. Hopefully we aren't going into September not knowing if these guys will be suspended. I hope that is not the case and we get it resolved very soon."

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