Brett Favre (Scott Boehm/Getty)
Brett Favre's presence on the Vikings continues to draw national attention to the team, some of it serious and some of it laughable. Some reports have the players laughing, but those in the marketing department are smiling for a different reason.
If there is a positive to the reports of Brett Favre causing a “schism” in the Vikings locker room – something that every Vikings player has denied – it is that Favre’s presence has increased the national exposure for the Vikings and the report gives the players something else to laugh about.
On Thursday, linebacker Ben Leber told a San Diego sports radio station that the “schism” report from ESPN has become a joke in the locker room.
“It’s been a huge joke in the locker room, a huge joke. Everybody’s having fun with it only because we think it’s just crazy that there is this huge divide,” he said. “Before I read the reports (Wednesday) night, there was never a sense, like guys whispering in the corner, ‘I can’t believe Favre’s here and Tarvaris (Jackson) doesn’t have a job, or Sage doesn’t have a job.’ As far as I know, everybody is excited about Brett being there, excited about what this team has to offer.
“Obviously, there’s gonna be some players that have their feelings hurt outside Tarvaris and Sage (Rosenfels). Those guys have made some good friends, and so, yeah, I’m sure emotionally they’re like, ‘Ah, it sucks my buddy’s not going to be the starting quarterback.’ But, come on, we all know what the NFL is all about and it’s nothing personal. That’s just how business is done. We brought in a Hall of Fame quarterback and we’re gonna roll with it.”
In Houston, where the Vikings will play in front of a national television audience, defensive tackle Amobie Okoye said family and friends have been asking him about going up against an NFL icon like Favre.
"A lot of people have been telling me, 'Why don't you get a hit on Favre for me, send him back through time,' that kind of thing," Okoye told the Associated Press. "It's from friends, fans, people who have gotten fed up with everything on the news about him."
Obviously, Vikings fans haven’t gotten enough of it. In the 72 hours after Favre signed, the team had sold more than 4,000 season tickets and 15,000 single-game tickets.
“Obviously the signing was a unique circumstance that created significant activity in several areas, and we appreciate the amount of interest it generated,” said Steve LaCroix, Vikings vice president of sales and marketing. “We feel comfortable with where we are in regards to our first two home games, but we still have some work to do on the remaining games. We want to stress that while we certainly experienced tremendous activity last week, we still have tickets available for all home games, including a limited number for the Green Bay game as part of a season ticket package. We’ll continue to create unique, affordable packages so our fans can enjoy attending games and being a part of the exciting 2009 season.”
The Vikings still have more than 1,000 season tickets remaining, which includes the Green Bay game, which is now being sold exclusively in the season-ticket package.
The Vikings’ game against the Packers in the Lambeau Field on Nov. 1 is now the hottest ticket in the NFL, according to a report in the Business Journal of Milwaukee, citing the TicketCity.
“We sold more Vikings tickets in the 72 hours after the Favre announcement than the entire previous month,” Zach Anderson, chief operating officer of Austin, Texas-based TicketCity, said in a press release, according to the report.
The Vikings have four of the top-15 NFL regular-season games in demand, according to the ticket broker.
‘WHITE TRASH CLASSY’
Defensive end Jared Allen has been bringing smiles to teammates since the Vikings acquired him with his fashion choices. He likes tight jeans and cowboy boots, has worn animal pelts on his head during national television interviews and last year even elected to wear the Vikings’ purple practice shorts over a pair of Zubaz just to lighten the mood.
“He takes a lot of flack for some of the ‘coon skin hats and stuff he wears, but like I said, it’s him. It’s like ‘white trash classy’ I guess,” Leber said. “He’s rocking the jorts, and the wranglers. He’s had some pretty hilarious t-shirts that he’s developed, so he wears those around training camp and stuff. So, it’s pretty fun.”
WR Bernard Berrian continued to make progress coming back from a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason opener. He was back on the field taking part in individual drills for the third straight day, but he didn’t appear to be running at full speed. It’s uncertain if he’ll play in Monday night’s game against the Houston Texans.
TE Jim Kleinsasser is still sidelined during practices with a hand injury, although the wrap on his hand is getting smaller with the passing days.
The Vikings’ roster is still at 79 players, meaning they likely won’t sign another player before Tuesday’s deadline to trim the roster down to 75 players. On Sept. 5, they have to be down to 53 players.
Now we know why it took so long for the actual date of the Vikings’ final preseason to be announced. With their third preseason game coming on Monday, Childress revealed that the Dallas preseason finale was originally scheduled for Thursday night but eventually got changed to Friday to allow for a little bit longer turn-around.
The Vikings spent time working on situational football on Friday, will put the finishing touches on the Texans preparation on Saturday and leave for Houston on Sunday. They will have only one media-access day next week with the short week of preparation.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.