Vikings coach: No deadline for veteran Favre
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Brett Favre hinted he'll decide about next season sooner rather than later, though with him that's famously been subject to change.
Even if the Minnesota Vikings must switch quarterbacks again, though, they're willing to wait for Favre's word.
Coach Brad Childress said Tuesday he doesn't have a deadline for Favre's decision, insisting the team can plan for both possibilities despite an obvious preference for early resolution.
"State of flux is generally not good. It's usually uncomfortable, but sometimes it pushes you to create as well," Childress said.
Childress spoke in the morning with the 40-year-old quarterback in the training room, where Favre was getting treatment on the left ankle he sprained during a hard hit in Minnesota's loss in the NFC championship game at New Orleans.
"Pretty beat up after that game," Childress said. "We didn't really have any meaningful conversation about what's next."
Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels were supposed to compete for the spot, until Favre came after training camp in mid-August and set the scene for the storybook season for him and the Vikings that ended painfully short of the Super Bowl.
The Vikings won't pick until 30th in the first round of the draft, so it will again be difficult to find viable alternatives outside the organization.
"We'll just see what's there, and I'm sure we'll ably man that position one way or the other," Childress said.
Rosenfels is still under contract, and Jackson will be a restricted free agent if there's no new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union as expected. Assuming that happens, there won't be a salary cap, either.
"Really, I think our numbers will be just fine if he comes back or he doesn't come back," Childress said. "I don't know. It's up to him, but it's not a deal where I need to put a gun at his head and say, 'I need to know in a week, two weeks, two months."'
As they cleaned out their cubicles in the locker room on Monday, the consensus from players was that Favre can take his time too.
"He's had his share of training camps," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said, asked whether he would care if Favre were to skip the two-a-day grind again. "He still came out and had a great year, and it wasn't even a factor. So it really won't matter at all to me."
Childress said he wouldn't be surprised by Favre's decision either way, whether retirement or a return for a 20th NFL season.
"He's earned his time to be able to step away from it and talk to his family and figure out what he wants to do," the coach said. "You have to heal mentally and you have to heal physically. That's a process for all of us, stepping away from it."
Childress also took responsibility for the costly too-many-men-in-the-huddle penalty following a timeout that preceded Favre's interception in the fourth quarter against the Saints, with the Vikings driving for the go-ahead field goal. Fullback Naufahu Tahi was the extra player, originally told he'd be in. The coaches were considering two different formations, but the final decision to go with a three-wide set didn't reach Tahi.
"It's an error in communication, and it all comes back to me not having it over communicated," Childress said.
Once a psychology major, Childress has been using that degree this week to try to lift sagging spirits, following Sunday's loss to the Saints that ranks near or at the top of the list of this franchise's storied history of devastating defeats.
"It's a bitter pill to swallow," Childress said. "I don't know that it completely goes away right away. As the leader of this football team, it's important from my standpoint to point out to our guys all the positive things that we accomplished this year."
On other subjects:
— Childress said the team will likely conduct an in-depth study of running back Adrian Peterson's fumbling problem to see if there are mechanical changes that can be made with his arm position.
— Childress said the Saints switched from man-to-man to a two-safety-deep zone coverage at the last second before Favre's fateful interception. He said Favre's intended receiver, Sidney Rice, was the third or fourth option on that play.
» The Atlanta Falcons, looking for an improved pass defense, have hired Tim Lewis as the team's secondary coach. Lewis coached the Seattle Seahawks' defensive backs this season and is a former defensive coordinator with the Steelers and the New York Giants. He was Carolina's secondary coach in 2007-08. Lewis replaces Emmitt Thomas, who was not retained after the Falcons ranked 28th in pass defense. The former Pitt star played four seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
» San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith was added to the NFL Pro Bowl roster in place of injured Kevin Williams of Minnesota. Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White is replacing Sidney Rice on the NFC roster for Sunday's Pro Bowl game in Miami.
» Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin will have surgery to repair an injured left knee and may not be ready for the start of next season. Griffin was injured covering the overtime kickoff in Minnesota's loss at New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game.
» The Baltimore Ravens hired former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees as their new linebackers coach.
» The Oakland Raiders hired Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator, hoping the man who helped develop Joe Flacco in Baltimore can do the same for JaMarcus Russell.