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Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The internal issue of Favre's late arrival

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- All-pro defensive end Jared Allen has emerged as one of Minnesota's locker room leaders. And so when he said last month that Brett Favre should commit to the team before training camp if he wanted to play this season, I took it as gospel. If Allen was willing to draw that public line, then I imagine many other players were doing the same in a quieter fashion.

As a result, the first person I wanted to hear from this week was Allen. Was he on board with the decision to sign Favre days after training camp ended? Speaking Wednesday after Favre's second practice with the Vikings, Allen said the change of heart "is what it is" and said he didn't expect any lasting complications.

"Let's be honest," Allen said. "This guy has been doing this a very long time at a very high level. If we're all sitting in Miami waiting to get on the field for the Super Bowl, do you think anybody will care that he wasn't here in July? I don't think so."

Allen admitted there is an "old-school way of thinking" that teams develop chemistry and camaraderie during training camp but said: "As we get older and we're professionals, [you know] they pay us to win games."

To me, Allen's words sounded like those of a realist who understands that neither his nor any other players' opinions mattered in this situation. The only curious reaction has been that of the normally personable tailback Adrian Peterson, who has refused to speak with reporters for the past two days. (Update: I spoke with a Minnesota public relations staffer this evening who said Peterson didn't conduct interviews because he had meetings and other obligations scheduled immediately after both practices.) 

In determining Favre's potential impact on team chemistry, coach Brad Childress leaned on an interesting source. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who also is the Vikings' assistant head coach, traveled to Favre's hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss., and met with him for about half a day in June. Frazier and Favre had never met, but Childress tapped Frazier to help in the recruiting process and also evaluate Favre's mindset.

"We had a chance to sit down and talk about some things," Frazier said, "and probably to explain to him from my perspective what kind of team we had and what I thought he would mean to our football team and what we could do for him as well if he would consider coming out of retirement. ... It was to answer any questions he had, and for him to hear from a different voice, that wasn't offensive-oriented and could come at him from a different slant and try to convey to him a different message."

There had been reports that Childress was planning to meet with Favre in May. As it turned out, Frazier traveled to Mississippi in June.

Allen, by the way, hasn't practiced this week because of a foot injury that apparently is not serious. Below, you can watch the reaction of another injured Vikings player, receiver Bernard Berrian.