Players expand on Favre v. Childress

The Vikings spent much of Wednesday's media session answering questions about the relationship between Brett Favre and Brad Childress. The general sentiment was to downplay the incident, but some of the players expanded on the topic from their perspective.

It was the elephant in the room as the Vikings made their way through the locker room Wednesday before their afternoon practice. On one side of the Winter Park complex, Brad Childress and Brett Favre were conducting interviews. On the other end, the rest of the team was getting ready for the first day of practice in preparation for the Chicago Bears on Monday night.

Perhaps the best response to the media frenzy about a potential rift (or would that be "schism?") between the head coach and his quarterback was provided by defensive end Jared Allen. As the media throng surrounded his locker, he made some clear questioning parameters known in no uncertain terms.

"To be honest, I don't want to answer any questions right now, because I know where you think the questions are going to go," Allen said. "If you want to talk about the Chicago Bears, I'm all open to that. But the rest of it? Forget about it."

While Allen refused to discuss the much-publicized banter between Favre and Childress, some of his teammates did. Ryan Longwell, who was a teammate of Favre's for nine years in Green Bay, said that tensions can run high on the sidelines during games. It happens all the time. It just isn't always public knowledge or headline news.

"You've got a Hall of Fame quarterback and the reason he's a Hall of Fame quarterback is that he wants to play and he's played for so long," Longwell said. "What happens on game day is that there are a lot of emotions involved. Sometimes it comes out and that's where we're at now."

Offensive lineman Artis Hicks said that the Vikings have set lofty goals for themselves and when things go as wrong from start to finish as they did Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers, there will be arguments that will come to the surface. But he was quick to point out that things like that happen more often than most fans realize and that it isn't anything to get worked up about.

"I don't think it's been an issue at all," Hicks said. "Do people have disagreements? Yeah. That's part of life. You're going to disagree with someone sooner or later. In this locker room, in this organization, you have to be able to put things behind you and move on. We're all here for the right purpose and the same reason – which is to win. We've got a great quarterback and he's all about that and we've got a great head coach and he's all about that. When you have those common goals, it will take care of itself. I don't think it's an issue to them."

When Childress spoke Monday about potentially sitting Favre down in the second half in Carolina, he said was speaking out loud in a "stream of consciousness" mode about potentially pulling Favre with the team still ahead at that point by a score of 7-6. When asked what he meant by that, running back Chester Taylor joked that he didn't have a clue.

"Brad says a lot of words I don't really understand," Taylor said with a chuckle. "I'm pretty sure he meant good by it. I'm going to have to have him explain it to me. I'll ask him about it."

The underlying sentiment taken from Childress' comments seemed to be a sudden lack of confidence in his Hall of Fame quarterback. But Hicks was quick to point out that both sides needed to be heard and understood because, while they were coming from different perspectives, they both had a similar purpose – trying to do what was best for the team.

"Any time you get pulled from a game, it's tough," Hicks said. "You're out there bleeding for the guy next to you. You start the game and you want to finish the game. That's understandable. But also have to understand where Childress is coming from too. Unfortunately, we were getting (Favre) hit a lot and you want to keep him upright. Let's agree to disagree sometimes and move on. That's how it goes."

While players were downplaying the incident – Visanthe Shiancoe and Cedric Griffin both pointed to the fact that most of the players weren't even aware of the situation until they started getting asked questions about it and claimed it was more a media creation than a legitimate concern – at least one Viking sided with Favre.

"I'm slanted toward Brett in that regard because I've seen him when you're down by three scores pull the game out in the fourth quarter," Longwell said. "I think because of all the games that he has done that, his inkling is to always want to play and give the team a chance. It's what I've loved about him for the decade we've played together."

In the end, Wednesday was marked on one end of Winter Park of Childress and Favre giving an NFL version of kissing and making up. On the other side of the complex, the sentiment was much the same. The media frenzy has been much ado about nothing and, as far as the players and coaches are concerned, it's over and done with and no longer an issue – regardless of whether the media continues to beat the drum of discontent.

When asked if everyone is on the same page in the offense, wide receiver Sidney Rice didn't leave much gray area for those looking for dirt to find.

"Definitely," Rice said. "I feel like this is an attempt to divide the team. I'm here to tell you that it's not going to happen. We know what our goal is. We know what we're here for and we all have the same goal. Nothing has changed. This is just an attempt to divide the Minnesota Vikings and it won't happen."


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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