Favre, offense still need work

The Vikings are 11 days away from their regular-season opener, but their offense still has a lot of questions to answer. That's why the first-teamers could see action this Thursday.

Vikings coach Brad Childress isn't kidding when he describes his offense as being in flux.

Quarterback Brett Favre arrived on Aug. 17 after deciding he would play a 20th NFL season. Last week, the Vikings signed wide receiver Javon Walker and traded with Miami for receiver Greg Camarillo after learning that hip surgery would keep Sidney Rice sidelined for at least the first half of the season.

Then there was the return of wide receiver Percy Harvin for the Vikings' 24-13 victory over Seattle in a preseason game Saturday. Harvin had taken part in only six practices since training camp started, in large part because of his struggles with migraine headaches.

Finally, there is the matter of an offensive line that has been missing center John Sullivan for almost all of camp because of a calf injury. There are real questions if Sullivan will be ready for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener at New Orleans and on Saturday the Vikings started right guard Anthony Herrera at center and put rookie Chris DeGeare at guard.

Given all of the upheaval, it's not a complete surprise that Childress is considering playing the members of the first-team offense for a few series in the Vikings' exhibition finale on Thursday night against Denver at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.

Ordinarily, the starters get rested for that game - and given that the Vikings open the season a week later at New Orleans that time off might help - but Childress also has to be concerned with building continuity with an offense that finished second in scoring in the NFL last season.

"There's moving parts, there are parts that are still being added," Childress said when asked about his offense. "Whether it's the quarterback just getting here a couple of weeks ago, whether it's Camarillo just getting here or Percy coming back or that offensive line playing all together. It's still in flux. There's still a lot of work to do."

And not much time to do it.

Favre, who will turn 41 on Oct. 10 and swears this will be his last NFL season, is well aware of that fact. He was in for only four plays on Aug. 22 at San Francisco in his preseason debut, but did get seven full series against the Seahawks.

This included a 16-play drive in which he led to the Seattle 2-yard line. Unfortunately, for the Vikings the drive stalled and running back Adrian Peterson was stopped on fourth down.

"I needed it," Favre said of the extended work. "It was good work. I held up fairly well. I was tired and sweating, but really I felt like I was in the middle of the season. Making some of the reads and throws. I felt overall it was good work."

Favre said he would have no trouble with getting some more work against the Broncos.

"I'm never going to turn down playing," he said. "As tired as I was, I felt like I needed some more work and will lobby for that again this week. But I also know I have to be smart because it's a little bit different situation this year. We play Thursday and we play the following Thursday (in New Orleans). There's not a four-day window when we can relax. There's not a lot of time to get ready but there's not a lot of time to recover."

NOTES

  • WR Percy Harvin missed much of training camp because of problems with migraines and even collapsed on the practice field one day after experiencing the debilitating headaches. But Harvin played against the Seahawks after seeing more doctors and seems encouraged he has made progress in coming closer to resolving the issue. "We have a great plan," Harvin said after catching two passes for 30 yards. "We're all feeling confident. I know we've said that a couple of times now. But I think this time we found what the main cause was."

  • QB Brett Favre on Harvin's return: "Percy's a football player. I'm not surprised at anything he does. He's very, very knowledgeable of the game. That's where it starts. Obviously, he has talent, but he understands how to get open, how to use his body, things like that."

  • NT Pat Williams is looking forward to playing the Saints in the regular-season opener after the Vikings lost at New Orleans in the NFC title game last season. "It's real personal," he said. "Basically, I dislike the Saints. I dislike losing and I live there. So I dislike everything about Louisiana."

  • CB Asher Allen, a third-round pick in 2009 from Georgia, likely will win the job as the nickel back now that Benny Sapp has been traded to the Miami Dolphins.

  • CB Chris Cook played well on the right side against Seattle and could have put himself in position to be the starter on Sept. 9 in New Orleans. Lito Sheppard started the first game of the preseason and Allen started the second. But Cook has played well all of camp and continues to look comfortable. Sheppard, meanwhile, has rarely flashed all through the preseason.

  • Toby Gerhart is going to get every chance to be the No. 2 running back behind Adrian Peterson. The second-round pick out of Stanford had seven carries for 30 yards against Seattle. Peterson had a preseason-high 11 rushing attempts for 37 yards in the victory.

  • RG Anthony Herrera started at center versus Seattle and it appears as if he might have to handle that job if John Sullivan remains sidelined by a calf injury that has limited him since early in camp. If that's the case, rookie Chris DeGeare will likely start for Herrera at right guard.

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson remains No. 2 on the depth chart entering the season, ahead of Sage Rosenfels and Joe Webb. It remains uncertain if the Vikings will look to trade Rosenfels or try to get Webb through to the practice squad.

  • SS Tyrell Johnson got the start against the Seahawks and it appears as if he will retain the job despite being pressed by Jamarca Sanford. Sanford, a seventh-round pick in 2009, started against the 49ers on Aug. 22.


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