Walker excited about reuniting with Favre

Javon Walker and Brett Favre have had their issues in Green Bay, but Walker said those problems are long gone and Favre was part of the reason he wanted to sign with Minnesota. Walker also addressed his unconventional surgery and where his health is at now.

The Vikings were expected to enter the season with Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin as the centerpieces of a deep receiving corps.

That meant having one of the top free agents from 2008 (Berrian), a breakout Pro Bowl player in 2009 (Rice) and the NFL offensive rookie of the year (Harvin). That has changed dramatically in the last month.

Berrian, who struggled with hamstring issues for much of last season, is healthy as ever, but Rice had hip surgery on Monday and Harvin's issues with migraine headaches have haven't gotten any better. Harvin collapsed on the practice field last Thursday and was taken to the hospital for an overnight stay. He returned to the sidelines to watch the start of practice on Friday and head coach Brad Childress indicated that Harvin might return to action on Tuesday after seeing another specialist.

That didn't happen. Rice and Harvin were both missing from practice on Tuesday, but the newest member of the receiving corps, Javon Walker, was already getting immersed into the offense.

Walker and receiver Brandon Jones worked out for the Vikings on Friday, but Jones signed with the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend. The interest in experienced receivers makes sense for the Vikings, given their injury concerns with Rice and Harvin and Jaymar Johnson already being placed on injured reserve with a broken thumb.

Walker accumulated four years in the Packers' version of the West Coast offense after he entered the league in 2002. After eight years in the NFL, he has 267 catches for 4,011 yards and 31 touchdowns. His best season came when paired with Brett Favre in Green Bay.

In 2004, he had 89 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, resulting in a trip to the Pro Bowl, but while searching for a new contract following that season Walker skipped minicamp and drew criticism from Favre. One year later, the Packers traded Walker to the Denver Broncos for a second-round pick.

Walker said "it's huge" to be to playing with Favre again and said that incident was put to rest long ago. He even joked that he might be going to dinner at Favre's house Tuesday evening.

"That (controversy) was over back in Green Bay. That was just something that was going over and everybody knows in the NFL it's always a business decision, at that time being years ago. Excited to be here and reconnect where we left off in Green Bay," Walker said.

"Obviously when you become an older receiver in the league, it's really, really critical for a receiver like myself to get with a veteran quarterback like Favre, somebody who knows the game and somebody who's willing to put in the time and the effort to go out and be successful from a receiver's point of view."

Of course, Vikings coach Brad Childress knows all about publicized disagreements with Favre.

"It happens. It happens between coaches and players, it happens between players and players," Childress said. "Do you get along with your wife all the time? People can bristle, people have different opinions. It's what makes the world go around."

Despite playing his last four seasons with the Broncos and Oakland Raiders, 20 of Walker's 31 receiving touchdowns were thrown by Favre. He's looking to rekindle that type of productivity, which is why he wasn't interested in going to a team with and inexperienced quarterback.

"I wanted to go somewhere where everybody can see the old Javon Walker with a quarterback that's ready to win and ready to produce. I didn't want to throw myself in a position where I was working with someone who is a younger quarterback and taking it slow with him," Walker said. "I was trying to get with a quarterback who's going right now 100 miles per hour. Obviously that's what I did here. There was no question. When I got the phone call from here, I was on a plane."

One of the biggest questions with Walker of late has surrounded the health of a surgically repaired knee. He was associated with Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who was being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for smuggling, advertising and selling unapproved drugs (Actovegin), and criminal conspiracy, according to a story in the New York Times from last December. The Times story says the drug is "essentially strained and purified calf's blood" and used to help decrease the recovery time following surgery.

In March 2009, Galea arranged for Walker to have surgery in Jerusalem to replace cartilage in his knee, a procedure that was not approved in the United States. Walker claimed that surgery helped him recover in half the time it otherwise would have and credited Galea, according to the Times story.

"It was a procedure where it was very, very unique. Went out there and spent some time and had some things done that got me to 100 percent to today," Walker said Tuesday, saying he didn't want to get into specifics on it right now, but adding that "it's something that's going to help a lot of athletes in the near future."

The Vikings would just like to have him help out their increasingly tenuous issues at receiver.


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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