Childress Gives Favre an Ultimatum

LVCorrespondent IJune 9, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 28: Brett Favre #4 of The New York Jets looks to pass against The Miami Dolphins during their game on December 28, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

It has been a nice couple of weeks lately as “Favre-watch” seemed to be fading fast for the 2009 NFL Season.  But, sure as NFL teams reporting to training camp in late July, Brett Favre has turned up again and this time a concrete decision on whether the veteran will play or not is also in the works. 

It was recently learned that the 39-year-old quarterback had indeed had surgery to repair the torn biceps in his throwing arm in late May. 

So, no matter what Favre or his agent Bus Cook say, all indications are that the NFL’s all-time leader in several passing categories is seriously thinking about a comeback to the NFL. 

An interesting new wrinkle was placed in this story today as Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress has reportedly set a deadline of this week (June 8) for Favre to decide whether he wants to return to play in Minnesota or not. 

The Vikings have been running through OTAs for the past several weeks with quarterbacks Sage Rosenfels, Tarvaris Jackson, and John David Booty taking reps.  Childress is pushing for Favre to stop flip-flopping and make a decision out of respect for the incumbent Vikings signal callers. 

It will be real interesting to see if the old graybeard quarterback acquiesces to Childress’ demands as Favre and Cook are notorious for dictating terms, (just as Packers GM Ted Thompson) and the future hall of fame passer did not want to make a commitment until knowing his arm was ready for the rigors of training camp. 

It is obvious that even though Favre—numbers of 343-522, 65.7 percent, 3472 yards, 22 TDs, and 22 INTs NFL High with the Jets—has a strong ally in former coach/friend and Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel, that Childress, who is firmly on a hotseat in Minnesota, wants an answer and wants it now. 

Maybe Favre will be given a little more time—probably needs a few more weeks of rehab to test his arm—but the longer the wait, the more Favre may not be on the same page with his potential Vikings teammates, including the three aforementioned quarterbacks leading into training camp on July 31 at Minnesota State University. 

My belief is that Favre will finally decide that “Yes,” he will be coming back with the Vikings in 2009.  At that point, cue the music as the circus will come to town in Minneapolis along with the NFL’s version of John Wayne. 

The fanfare around Favre’s decision is compelling, but chemistry on an NFL team is everything and the distractions that he may bring with him may be too much for a young team coming off of their first NFC North Championship since 2004.

One outspoken Vikings player, defensive end Ray Edwards, has gone on record of his trepidation of bringing in Favre. 

Edwards recently said in support of Jackson, “Forget Favre, Forget Rosenfels, too.” Jackson’s former draft classmate added, “I believe (Jackson) is the better quarterback…He’s proven himself in the league. Sage has proven himself also, but to me, Tarvaris is the more mobile quarterback that can make plays happen.” 

Edwards ended his recent talking session by passing along the words of encouragement that he gave to Jackson, “Just go out there and just be yourself and make plays happen, and everybody will forget about Favre.” 

Even though Edwards says things that are sometimes perceived as off the wall, I do have to agree with him regarding the Vikings non-need to bring in Favre.

Let's face it, the Vikings are a running team first led by Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson and veteran Chester Taylor, so does this young team need an inconsistent aging passer?

Last year Favre started out on fire, winning 8 of 11 games.  But, down the stretch, it was a totally different story. 

The former three-time MVP and the Jets limped home with a 1-4 record, including a terrible season-ending home loss to the Dolphins that knocked them out of the playoffs. 

In the Week 17 loss, Favre was not very good (20-40, 233, 1 TD, 3 INTs) and most apologists will blame his effort on his arm injury, but maybe Father Time was finally catching up to old No. 4. 

The Vikings are better off letting their younger quarterbacks fight it out for the starter job than bringing in an aging Favre. 

Of course, the Vikings will point to Jackson’s inconsistency (benched in 2008 for Gus Frerotte) and Rosenfels' inexperience (only 12 starts in 8 NFL seasons) as reasons to bring in Favre. 

However, time is of the essence with training camp quickly approaching, and does anyone really know which “Favre” will be showing up and how his throwing arm is at this point?

Bringing in Favre would be a huge gamble for the Vikings and Childress, but some people around the  team believe, in order to catch current NFC leaders the Giants, Cardinals, and Eagles, that better quarterback play is needed. 

Who knows, maybe the 2008 season was an aberration before a great year for Favre, like when ‘he stormed back from a terrible 2006 season to almost being named NFL MVP in 2007. 

So, let’s hold the dial until the end of the next couple weeks when we will know, officially, whether the topic of Favre playing for the Vikings in 2009 is worth all of this speculation.

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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