Wednesday, August 26, 2009
A 'schism' in the Vikings locker room
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota's locker room is divided over the arrival of quarterback Brett Favre, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. And the nature of that division might surprise you. From Schefter's latest news story.
Sources with knowledge of the Vikings locker-room dynamics say some players believe Tarvaris Jackson gives the Vikings the best chance to win, while other players believe Sage Rosenfels gives the team the best chance to win ... In the words of one NFL source, Favre has "little support" in the locker room. ...
That's right: Schefter reports that the "schism" is between Jackson supporters and Rosenfels supporters. To this point, Schefter suggests, there are no Favre supporters.
Favre's impact on locker room chemistry has been an issue since this spring, when defensive end Ray Edwards joked that Favre is a "prima donna" and questioned whether he would use the same dressing room as the rest of the team. Favre's arrival last week, days after the Vikings broke training camp, did little to dispel the issue.
A few of us asked coach Brad Childress about the situation Wednesday afternoon. Childress said he hasn't seen "anything that points to that" but made clear it wouldn't matter if it were true.
"I think all of them will cite that business is business," Childress said. "Whether they like it or not, that's the way it is. As I told Tarvaris, I don't expect you to like it. He's a highly competitive guy, and he came back and played very well [last Friday against Kansas City]. That benefits him, that benefits us. There's no downside to that. I don't expect those guys to like it. But I expect them to deal with it and go forward. And by and large, that's exactly what's happened."
The normally private Childress even recalled an anecdote from his own life to demonstrate he understood the possible range of emotions in his locker room. As a teenager, Childress said he worked as a lifeguard at an apartment complex partially owed by his father.
"I decided to go over and have a little party at the club house and got fired," Childress said. "The man that was the majority owner of the place fired me. I was in tears. He said, 'It's nothing personal. ... Business is business and friends are friends.' So, business is business.”
(In that scenario, is Jackson the lifeguard? I'm not sure. But Childress' point is that you can't play favorites based on personal alignments.)
Tailback Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, looked genuinely surprised when asked about the dynamic Wednesday. "That's something new to me,” he said. "I'm not sensing nothing like that at all. I don't know where that came from. That's news to me."
Ultimately, this issue will melt away if Favre has a productive season. And to whatever extent there are players who favor Jackson, I just don't find that sentiment credible. No one with 20-20 vision this summer could have seen enough from Jackson -- or Rosenfels, for that matter -- to believe the Vikings would have been better off without Favre.
"I think it's tremendous that guys feel that way about their teammates,” Childress said. "We don't live in a vacuum. Those guys don't sit at their stalls and not get to know each other. That's part of the dynamic and people come and go and that's part of the dynamic, too. It's part of this deal. Does anybody like it? No. ... That's the hardest job, when you have to tell people that their dream is done. It is a dynamic and that's real."