EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Hi there. I just returned from a bizarre post-practice scene at the Minnesota Vikings' training facility. Even as quarterback Brett Favre was in the air after apparently agreeing to rescue their team once again, Vikings players and coaches were feigning ignorance on his fate and even perpetuating a myth that the trio sent to corral him -- guard Steve Hutchinson, defensive Jared Allen and place-kicker Ryan Longwell -- had actually spent the morning working out inside the team's practice facility.
First, in case you hadn't heard, it appears Favre has agreed -- as we all expected he would eventually -- to play for the Vikings this season. His plane is scheduled to land in Minnesota at mid-afternoon, and I imagine he could practice as early as Wednesday. His arrival comes nearly a year to the day after he originally signed with the team last summer.
But before he restores order, the Vikings made sure to project one final image of insanity. Coach Brad Childress was not scheduled to speak with reporters Tuesday and refused to change the schedule. Instead, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and special teams coordinator Brian Murphy both responded the same way when asked about Longwell, Hutchinson and Allen. Murphy said that kickers spent the morning working on "gimmick kicks" indoors and said Longwell had been "around."
Bevell, meanwhile, said Childress told him the players were "inside" when practice began. Linebacker Ben Leber, choosing his words carefully, said: "I honestly don't know anything about it to tell you the truth."
I felt terrible for Bevell and Murphy, who were put in situations they didn't deserve. Nevertheless, the Vikings' effort to orchestrate Favre's arrival failed and their attempts to hide their desperation were only magnified by the scene.
Let's face it. The Vikings were down to their last straw. Excusing three prominent players from practice for a recruiting mission was a bold and ultimately successful move, but it left no other options. If Favre turned down three of his best friends on the team to their face, who else could the Vikings turn to? (I checked, and I'm pretty sure God is busy.)
The Vikings apparently got their man, but not before one more day of nervous sweat and embarrassment. More to come.