Brett Favre (Andy King/AP)
Adrian Peterson wasn’t the only starter missing minicamp. Everyone expected Brett Favre to be absent, but that didn’t stop the Favre questions from continuing.
He hasn’t been at Vikings practice since before the team’s loss in the playoffs and hasn’t been talking publicly beyond an occasional update on his web site and a satellite appearance at a motivational seminar, but Brett Favre is still a talker when the national media arrives.
With ESPN sending a crew to cover the opening practice of minicamp, Adrian Peterson’s absence wasn’t the only one that drew some attention. The future Hall of Fame quarterback and his pending decision on whether he will return for 2010 was still the subject of some questions.
Favre’s teammates were largely unconcerned by his absence.
“Honestly, I’m not too worried about it. Just looking at his competitive spirit it seems like he’s the type of guy that I think would want to come back and help this football team and I think sees what we have to offer,” linebacker Ben Leber said. “Obviously, it’s a tough decision, but certainly I’m not going to dwell on it. When it comes to it, we’ll deal with it then.”
Vikings coach Brad Childress said he texted Favre on Friday, but Childress had not seen a reply before he talked to the media following the afternoon practice.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said its “taboo” to outright predict if Favre will return, but he also ventured his guess based on the fact that Favre had ankle surgery last month to clean out some bone spurs.
“Being that he had the surgery, I think he will (return). But that’s just my personal opinion. That has nothing to do with what’s good for him and his family,” Shiancoe said.
“Being as though what happened last year, and this year he has a year under his belt with us to feel a little camaraderie with us. He’s been in this system for so long and he played with this team already, I feel like we could just go forward from here. It’s no turning back. With these elite guys here, Percy (Harvin) and Sidney (Rice) and guys like that, to have another year under their belt and the experience will just make them better.”
The reality is that most people – players, coaches and media – fully expect Favre will return, probably right after the Mankato portion of training camp. The players and coaches seem to accept that and realize that Favre is in a different category.
Judging by his sarcasm, Jared Allen wasn’t too concerned with Favre’s absence.
“As you can see, we’re all pretty distraught out here. It was hard to get through practice today and I really don’t know how we’re going to do this whole weekend without him being here. I’m sure we’ll survive,” he said.
“… Everybody in this league is on a different program. The best line I ever heard was from a coach who said I won’t treat everybody the same, but I will treat everybody fairly. So not everyone is on the same page. So take that for what it is.”
Said Shiancoe: “Brett is a player of his own. Of course there are going to be exceptions for him. Everybody knows that. It’s Brett Favre. He’s earned the right and everybody else feels the same way, especially after the season he had last year with the interception ratio compared to the completion ratio. I wish I could play like that when I’m 40 years old, 41 years old. He’s still running around like he’s 28, 27. It’s all love for him. We accept him back when he comes back.”
Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson continues to progress after a fractured femur quickly ended his 2009 season in December.
On Friday, Henderson took some limited reps with the defense and looked to be moving around pretty well.
“He did a nice job out here today. I know he was excited to get out here, move around with the guys, get through some individual drills,” Childress said. “I wish I could tell you that it surprised me with how he’s attacked this thing.”
“… The body is amazing, but he hasn’t had a whole heck of a lot of setbacks. Maybe we will see some down the line here, but I haven’t seen any of them.”
Cornerback Cedric Griffin (anterior cruciate ligament) was among the players that stretched with the team but didn’t practice. That was true for Steve Hutchinson (shoulder) as well, and linebacker Chad Greenway (unknown) also didn’t participate in team drills.
Rookie cornerback Chris Cook was limited during practice as well, but Childress didn’t get into specifics with his ailment.
“Everybody has their little nicks and knacks. I don’t have to give you an injury report, so I won’t,” Childress said. “A guy can get his foot stepped on with a spike. We do have spikes on. It’s not a no-spike ordinance or anything like that.”
WR Ray Small, CB Lito Sheppard and CB Marcus Sherels were among the players returning punts.
Quarterback Sage Rosenfels connected on a few deep passes, both during one-on-one drills and team work. WR Jaymar Johnson was the target on about a 55-yard connection and later another that spanned about 50 yards. WR Taye Biddle was the recipient of about a 60-yard Rosenfels pass that beat Benny Sapp and Husain Abdullah.
CB Marcus Sherels did intercept one Rosenfels pass when Percy Harvin was the target.
LB Erin Henderson was getting some first-team reps in Greenway’s absence.
With Ray Edwards not signing his tender until after minicamp, Brian Robison was getting first-team reps at defensive end.
Pat Williams (shoulder) sat out much of team drills and was replaced by Jimmy Kennedy.
Ryan Longwell connected on the majority of his field goals from varying distances. Kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd didn’t kick any field goals.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Jared Allen was asked about Adrian Peterson’s absence. Peterson is in Palestine, Texas, for the fourth annual Adrian Peterson Day. Allen was asked what he’d be doing if he were in his hometown instead of practicing at minicamp.
“I’d be doing jumping jacks with jorts on right now. I wouldn’t even be here,” Allen quipped.