From Hattiesburg to home base, players dish
"Jared roped him up. Jared roped his ass up and brought him up (to Minnesota)," Shiancoe said, referring to Jared Allen's quarterback-roping ways after a sack.
Kicker Ryan Longwell, guard Steve Hutchinson and Allen visited Favre Tuesday morning in an attempt to either bring Favre back to Minnesota for the 2010 season or congratulate him on a great career and move on. Favre chose Door Number One, as he and his wife Deanna hopped on Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's plane in Hattiesburg, Miss., and returned to the Vikings' facility in Eden Prairie, Minn.
Favre arrived at the team's Winter Park practice facility just minutes before 4 p.m., driven by Longwell. According to NFL Network, Favre then went to Tria Orthopedic Center to have his surgically repaired ankle examined.
Apparently there was no great sales pitch by the three Mississippi visitors.
"We told him how much all the guys loved playing with him and that we would love to do it again," Hutchinson told NFL Network. "We also told him that if he didn't want to do it, then congratulations, you deserve it. You've had an incredible career, but we've got to know one way or another."
After a few hours of conversation, Favre's reply was, ‘OK, let's do it," according to Hutchinson.
Back in Minnesota, Shiancoe said Favre's teammates weren't kept abreast of what was going on during the day, but players being requested for interviews after practice were apprised of the situation before being made available to the media.
"To tell you the truth, all day there was no word of this whole thing happening all day. As a matter of fact, I found out about it when I was leaving the facility around 4 (Favre arrived just after Shiancoe left)," Shiancoe said. "I came out and saw helicopters out there and I was like, ‘OK, we already know what that is. Either they're following O.J.'s Bronco or probably Favre's back.'"
"Of course there was going to be excitement, but we were prepared either way. If he weren't going to come back, we were prepared. I know I was. We practiced and we prepared just like it'd be either-or."
Of course, the Vikings have been through all this before. One year to the day, in fact. Last year, Favre had surgery on his shoulder in late May. This year, he had surgery on his ankle in late May. Last year, Favre told the Vikings before training camp that he wouldn't be returning. This year, he gave them indications he wouldn't be returning four days into camp. Last year, he signed with the Vikings in mid-August. This year, he arrived at Winter Park one year later.
"After a while, you just get numb to that stuff and you're like, ‘I'm just going to prepare and control what I can control in the circle.' Because we've got a really, really good team, period," Shiancoe said. "We have good guys on offense and good guys on defense and the special teams, they're really good. The offseason, all you could really do is just focus (on) what's inside the circle and that's just me being a viable receiver, me working the seam routes, me working the corner routes and me being able to block to prepare myself on offense. Other than that, I'm not his agent, I'm not his representative, so I don't know what's going on with him."
But Shiancoe knows full well how much of a difference Favre makes. He led them to the NFC Championship and elevated the games of nearly every one of his receivers. Shiancoe set a career high with 11 touchdown receptions. Sidney Rice became a Pro Bowl receiver. And Percy Harvin became the NFL offensive rookie of the year.
"When you have a guy that has the experience in an offense like this – he knows the ins and outs, he knows the vulnerabilities of the defense," Shiancoe said. "He knows the strong points of the offense and the defense. There are just so many things that go into that. Always a guy with a lot of experience that has been there, done that and plays at a high level will always be good for your team."
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.
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