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What two knowledgeable NFL people described earlier this week as an "issue" in the Minnesota Vikings' locker room was described Wednesday by a third informed person as a "schism."
The issue is quarterback Brett Favre, and the schism is the preference that certain Vikings players have for specific quarterbacks.
Sources with knowledge of the Vikings' locker-room dynamics say some players believe Tarvaris Jackson gives the Vikings the best chance to win; other players believe Sage Rosenfels gives the team the best chance -- which is one of the new twists to this storyline.
Favre, who signed only last week, struggled in his one preseason appearance but could easily win backers with improved performance and victories.One NFL source said, however, that these locker-room issues were present long before the team signed Favre, and it's possible they will not go away any time soon unless Favre can completely silence them with his play.
Vikings coach Brad Childress was even asked Wednesday about the speculation.
"I've seen the same reports you've seen," Childress said. "Those are opinions. It's hard to shoot holes in an opinion. It's just that -- an opinion. I certainly don't see it."
Asked if he addressed with the players that friendships must become secondary to winning, Childress said: "I think all of them will cite that business is business. 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."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."
If Favre plays well, it's possible the schism could disappear. But it's also possible that if Favre struggles, the drama that accompanied his entrance only will increase, threatening to affect the Vikings' season and Childress' future.Favre added Thursday that his assimilation into the team's locker-room culture will be "always a work in progress." "I'd be a fool to sit here and tell you I've won everyone over in the locker room, and that's not what I'm trying to do. I was brought in here to help this team win, not to make friends, even though I felt like that's an easy thing for me to do," Favre said. " . . . I think my experience can only go so far on the field, but it can pay huge dividends off the field and in the locker room, how to adjust." The presumptive Hall of Famer does have one big ally -- Adrian Peterson, who has confessed to being one of Favre's biggest fans, even while being a close personal friend of Jackson's. "There's just a love I have for him and how he plays the game," Peterson said. "I play the game the same way." They are neighbors in the locker room at team headquarters, and Peterson has wasted little time getting to know the man he has been watching "since I was in elementary school." "To get to sit there and chitchat with Brett Favre, it's fun," Peterson said after practice on Wednesday. "He's a good guy. I was a fan of his for a long time and still am. I'm definitely taking advantage of it."
Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider. Information from ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert and The Associated Press was used in this report.