Vikings put ball in court of Favre
Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2009 4:28 pm
By: By JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — It’s all up to Brett Favre now. Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf made that much clear on Wednesday night.
Wilf told a group of very interested season ticket holders that the possibility of Favre playing for the Vikings next season hinges on Favre’s surgically repaired right arm.
“Right now, it’s all up to Brett Favre in terms of where his future is at,” Wilf told about 1,200 fans gathered at the State Theatre for a “State of the Vikings” event. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
The comments echoed Favre’s statement in an interview with the HBO television network two days earlier.
Favre said then that he is considering a return if his throwing arm will allow it and that the Vikings are the only team has has spoken to about a comeback.
Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on Favre on May 22 to address an injured biceps tendon.
After throwing to high school students on Wednesday at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss., Favre told WDAM-TV that he wasn’t ready yet.
“Dr. Andrews said more or less four weeks you should know if (surgery) was completely successful,” Favre said on Wednesday, about 31/2 weeks after the surgery. “I threw a couple of balls today where I really felt it … different places in my shoulder where it’s sore.
“I threw the ball OK, but OK isn’t good enough in the National Football League. At least not for me. So it’s got to get better.”
Coach Brad Childress, who has spoken to Favre on occasion this offseason about his interest in playing, told the fans during a panel discussion that Favre is doing everything he can to see if he has enough juice left in that famed cannon that will turn 40 this year.
“He’s trying to make a push to get back,” Childress said. “I just know this, he won’t play unless he feels like he’s able to play at the level that he’s playeed over the course of the years. I know he’s working hard.”
About 1,200 fans hollered boisterously at the mention of Favre’s name on Wednesday .
There is no set deadline for Favre to make a decision, but training camp looms at the end of July, and Favre said he knows that the sooner a conclusion can be made, the better.
“I don’t need to wait for camp to say it’s 100 percent,” Favre told the television station. “I need to know before then, and so do the Vikings.”
In his first interview since being released by the New York Jets, Favre told HBO on Monday that if his arm “ever gets to the point where it feels like it did before it started hurting, then the biggest question mark is out of the way.”
Vikings fans turned out to the first ever “State of the Vikings” event eager to hear how the team would respond to the interview.
“We will do the most we can to get the players we need to be a better team,” Wilf said. “If that means Brett Favre or that means sombody else, we’ll go after them. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The will-he-or-won’t-he drama has dominated the Vikings’ offseason so far, but Childress insisted he wasn’t concerned about it being a distraction that would hurt the team’s preparation to defend its NFC North title.
“If distractions are good football players, we’ll take all the distractions we can get,” Childress said.
In the other big news of the night, Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman was adamant about the team’s desire to retain cornerback Antoine Winfield, who skipped Minnesota’s mandatory minicamp in hopes of putting pressure on the team to sign him to an extension.
“It’s an ongoing negotiation. It’s all part of the business,” Spielman said. “We’re going to do everything that we can because Antoine is such an important part of our defense, an important part of our team.
“I know coach Childress identifies the guys who are core guys and we’ll try to keep them all together as long as we can. We’ve been able to do that and hopefully we’ll have the same success with Antoine.”