EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- On his second day with the Minnesota Vikings this month, Brett Favre watched one of his top receivers taken off the field in an ambulance. On his sixth day, his No. 1 receiver succumbed to surgery that will cost him half of the season.
If he had known about Sidney Rice's impending hip surgery, and the apparent ongoing nature of Percy Harvin's migraine issues, would he still have agreed to play this season? That's the question Favre faced Wednesday after the Vikings' mid-day practice.
"I don't know that for certain because that obviously wasn't the case," Favre said. "But it's hard enough at 40 to play. Then you take a guy out that had  catches and obviously was productive ... But I had stayed in contact with Sidney throughout the offseason and knew that he wasn't practicing. I really felt that at some point in training camp he would be able to go. Obviously that's not the case. Probably like most people, I thought he was going to be OK."
Without Rice, Favre said, "there's no doubt it makes things a lot tougher." He added the Vikings have "got our work cut out for us" and said "we have to get on board together rather quickly."
With the Vikings dangling between $16 million and $20 million in front of him, I doubt Favre would have retired if he knew he wouldn't have Rice for the first half of the season. But Favre did take overt measures Wednesday to temper expectations for the Vikings' passing offense.
"This is a really good football teams in a lot of areas," Favre said. "And probably the big improvement last year was the passing game. This team had been very good prior to that without that part of it. ... Sidney or no Sidney, I would say our running game has to be better and more controlling throughout the season."
Harvin was on the practice field Wednesday but didn't participate in drills. There is some hope that he will participate in Thursday's practice, but given the events of this summer, there is no reason to consider him anything but day-to-day. For now, Favre's top wide receivers are Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis, Greg Camarillo and Javon Walker.
Oh, and for the record, Favre joined Walker in saying their five-year-old feud is officially in mothballs. "There was never any hatchet to bury," Favre said. "Javon and I are good friends and we stayed in contact long after he left. That makes for good TV stuff, but he and I are fine. I think he can help us. I want him to have a great year. He deserves it. He's a great guy. What happened in the past is long over with. We need him, like we need a lot of these guys, to have a productive year in order for us to be good."