The popular sentiment around the Vikings is that Brett Favre will play next season, but one of his former coaches said the 40-year-old quarterback still is recovering from an ankle injury and hasn't made up his mind.
NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci appeared on WFAN Radio in New York and said he talked to Favre "a few days ago," and that Favre still is bothered by the left ankle he injured in the Vikings' 31-28 loss to New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game.
Mariucci was Favre's first quarterbacks coach in Green Bay.
"He doesn't know yet," Mariucci said when asked if Favre will return. "He's trying to heal up. His body is recovered except for that ankle. That's not quite ready yet. It's an ankle that he had surgery on twice before and it's still pretty puffy. You remember he came out of that game with the ankle and went back in, but it's still swollen.
"He's trying to determine: Is his body telling him something here? Or is he going to be feeling better in due time. He still hasn't made up his mind, and the Vikings are not rushing him. That's what's a little bit crazy about it. I thought maybe they'd say, 'Listen, could you tell us by draft day please so we could determine where we're going to go?' But I don't think their draft needs are having to do with Brett. I think they are OK at quarterback. If he plays or if he doesn't play it doesn't matter. I think Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will be there to play."
Favre was injured in the third quarter of the Saints game when he was hit high-low by defensive tackle Remi Ayodele and Bobby McCray. Favre had minor surgery on the ankle in February 2007 after being bothered by a buildup of bone spurs for several years. He had surgery on the ankle for a similar problem in 1995.
Vikings coach Brad Childress visited Favre in Mississippi this offseason and communicates with him regularly on the phone and in text messages.
"I think Brad Childress has said, 'Hey, Brett, just take your time, we want you back,'" Mariucci said. "All the players want him back. They just say, 'Get yourself ready and healthy and if you get to that point, get your butt in here.' But his mind isn't at that point yet because his body isn't feeling well enough to move around like that just yet."Haynesworth speculation
There was plenty of time for speculation Thursday in the hours leading up to the first round of the NFL draft. One of the rumors that made the rounds was the Vikings were in "hot pursuit" of Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
However, NFL sources said that Haynesworth would not be headed to Minnesota in a trade. Haynesworth, signed to a monster free-agent contract before last season, definitely wants out of Washington and it sounds as if new coach Mike Shanahan would like to accommodate him. Haynesworth has said he will not participate in offseason workouts because he's unhappy about the prospect of playing the nose in the Redskins' newly installed 3-4 defense.
Teams that have been mentioned in connection with Haynesworth include the Lions, Raiders and Titans. Haynesworth was a Pro Bowl player with Tennessee before landing a seven-year, $100 million contract in Washington. The Lions took defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the second pick Thursday night.