If Brett Favre was installing fence posts on his ranch near Hattiesburg, Miss., you wonder which side of that fence he would be on.
We won't know for a couple of weeks if Favre will stay true to form and change his mind once again, but we do know that for now his status is still very much up in the air.
The Vikings might have to move on without Favre, creating an interesting scenario for his teammates sweating up their Vikings uniforms in Mankato.
"We've got a great group out here the way it is, working hard every day," center John Sullivan said. "We need to be prepared for either scenario."
On a day that Favre didn't issue a public statement but apparently sent out feelers to teammates, plenty of people were weighing in on the topic, even an agent that doesn't represent Favre.
"don't be to quick to think brett is retiring. packers and vikes players i talk to arent buying it," tweeted agent Jack Bechta, who represents Tyrell Johnson on the Vikings and Al Harris on the Packers.
As Tuesday wore on, that was becoming the sentiment more and more among team sources and players. But then there is this question: How fair is the continued waffling for teammates.
"Is it fair? The situation, it is what it is. When you've got a strong group, and a group that knows what our expectation is and what it is we're trying to accomplish and you don't let anything interrupt that," running back Adrian Peterson said.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said the quarterbacks left to deal with the uncertainty, primarily Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, know it comes with the territory.
"It's the beast of the business. They're professionals," Shiancoe said. "They know how to handle this type of adversity. They're preparing as if they're going to be starters. They've made tremendous progress in the offseason and all through camp, so we're definitely all on the same page right now. We're going through the grind together and we're all getting on the same page."
But there's little debate that the Vikings are a better team with Favre than without him. In 2008, Jackson helped get the Vikings to their first playoff appearance in the Brad Childress coaching era. They lost their playoff opener to the Philadelphia Eagles at the Metrodome.
Last year, with Favre, the Vikings won their first playoff game and made it to overtime of the NFC Championship Game, but they never got possession of the ball in overtime before the Saints ended the game with a field goal.
So would it be a letdown if Favre decides not to return to the team for the 2010 season?
"To be real with you, there'd be a big setback. We are feeling it today, to be real," Shiancoe said on Tuesday as the rumors and reports swirled. "At the same time, me, I understand if he has to do what he has to do. If he wants to retire or he has to retire, should I say … I'm pretty sure his heart wants to play. If the body won't allow it, then what to do about it? We'll have to go with the people we have here."
The most likely option is Jackson, who won the backup role behind Favre last year. Originally, Jackson and Rosenfels entered the 2009 training camp fighting for what they hoped would be the starting job. That's a possibility again this year.
"People say, ‘What is plan B?' Those guys that are taking reps are the guys," Childress said. "They have done a nice job here in the five days we have been in camp."
Jackson said he believes his teammates have confidence in him.
"Hopefully it's high. I believe in my teammates, so hopefully they believe in me. I want them to know that I'm going to come out here and work hard every day, try to get better," he said. "When the season starts, if I'm the guy I'm going to be here working hard each week, every day, trying to be that guy to help keep this team going."
Receiver Bernard Berrian, who entered last season with a tender hamstring that limited his ability to get in an early groove with Favre, said the Vikings will be the same team with Favre or with Jackson.
"Same team. It's just minus one person. That's the only difference," Berrian said. "(Jackson is) still confident running the offense and we're still confident in him."
Sullivan, who went through the 2009 offseason and training camp snapping the ball to Jackson and Rosenfels, said the goal doesn't change no matter who is behind center.
"We have the highest expectations no matter what. As of now, nothing has changed," Sullivan said. "We fully expect to be the team that we always expected to be. I'm going to go out there and try to win every game."
"I think everybody was preparing for both situations," linebacker Ben Leber said. "We're ready for whatever happens."
The person who stands to benefit the most if Favre doesn't return to the Vikings is Jackson. He said in July that the Favre speculation can wear on him, but he was taking a team-first attitude on Tuesday.
"Brett's a great guy. I don't want to take anything away from him," Jackson said. "He's a Hall of Fame quarterback and I learned a lot from him last year and hopefully when I get my chance this year, if I get my chance this year, I can keep the team going.
"I know one thing: I'm going to get a lot more questions about the situation. I just want to keep my same focus and not change what I'm trying to do and just keep doing what I'm doing and not hesitate and still be aggressive and still be the guy that I've been the last couple of days."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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