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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
No turning back now for the Vikings


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

I'm partially amused and somewhat alarmed by Minnesota's apparent desire for quarterback Brett Favre to participate in its offseason program and/or minicamp, as reported by ESPN's Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen.

I guess the Vikings owe it to themselves to try, but I'm sure they know Favre doesn't always do offseasons. Favre said last year that offseason workouts were one of the reasons he retired in the first place, and I suspect he feels no different now. That agent Bus Cook is shopping for personal quarterback coaches, as reported by Mortensen, suggests Favre has no plans to hop off his tractor and spend the next two months in Minnesota. (As nice as it is this time of year.)

I can't imagine the issue would be a deal-breaker, especially now that news of the meeting has gone public. If a Vikings offer is contingent on Favre agreeing to attend their offseason program, it's not a realistic approach. Favre might be willing to attend the Vikings' mandatory minicamp May 29-31. Good for Brad Childress if he can talk him into more than that, but it wouldn't seem likely based on past experience.

More than anything, this facet of the story illustrates how far down the plank the Vikings have already walked. We're in the second week of May, and they are shopping for a new starting quarterback. The simple act of setting up a meeting with Favre sends a mixed message, at best, to the two quarterbacks they had planned to pit in a training camp competition. Simply by virtue of Tuesday's story, Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels already know they're on the brink of being pushed aside -- at least for one year.

From this vantage point, it seems the Vikings have boxed themselves into a situation that mandates an agreement with Favre. They're in no position to make demands, including offseason attendance. If Favre walks away, or if the Vikings move on because he won't accede to their requests, Childress would be left with the unenviable task of rebuilding the trust of his remaining quarterbacks.

It would have to go something like this: Yes, we thought we could get somebody better. We couldn't, but we still like you. Really. We do.

Jackson and Rosenfels would have little choice but to accept Childress' extended hand. At this point, neither has earned status as an unquestioned starter. But that's just the point, isn't it? The Vikings are tacitly admitting their quarterback position could use further upgrade. Now that they've turned that corner, they can't afford to stall.