Vikings coach Brad Childress hasn't attempted to hide his displeasure about the hits Brett Favre took against the Saints in last year's NFC title game. But four days before the teams meet to open the season in the Superdome, the quarterback didn't seem bothered by what happened.
“I’ve heard that," Favre said Sunday when asked if he took unnecessary punishment. "Going home [to Mississippi after the loss], everyone [was like], ‘I thought that was this and that.’ Had it been us doing that to Drew [Brees] we wouldn’t probably feel that way. They would be getting those questions. It’s football. If you’re able to get the opposing quarterback out ... are there cheap hits that happen occasionally? In every game. Every game. Obviously, the ones on the quarterback are more obvious, people see them. But to answer your question no, I don’t feel that way.”
Favre took numerous hits from the Saints with the most memorable being the high-low hit that was delivered with defensive tackle Remi Ayodele hitting Favre in the chest and defensive end Bobby McCray going for Favre's ankles. That resulted in Favre appearing to suffer an ankle injury -- he said his ankle already was hurt going into the game. Favre also suffered a nasty thigh bruise that he called worse than the ankle problem.
On a conference call with the New Orleans media on Sunday, Childress was asked about the approach used by Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
“His defenses have always been aggressive," Childress said. "We were able to face them for a number of years when we were with the Eagles when he was with Washington. It’s always been a storm the castle type of approach. [He’s] kind of known for that, even when he was back at Tennessee back with Jeff [Fisher]. I understand a quarterback’s going to get hit, people are going to get hit. It’s football. I don’t have any illusions about that. What I hate to see are late hits or attempts to hurt anybody. I don’t think there's a place for that in the game.”
Asked if he wondered if those types of hits were being delivered in the NFC title game, Childress said: “Yes, I would have to say that. Yes.”
Favre admitted he was hurting after that Saints game but said he felt worse after the Vikings' victory over San Francisco in Week 3. He also said he won't have to get over any type of mental hurdle before facing the Saints and Williams' defense again.
"The worst thing that I had was a thigh bruise," he said. "I got elbowed or kicked in a scrum trying to get the ball. All the other hits, believe it or not, didn’t really hurt. Did they take their toll over time? Sure they did. But as far as a mental hurdle. No. It might be the same thing. Who knows? It might be different. I’m not worried about it.”
About that ankle injection
Sunday marked the first time the local media has talked to Favre since he told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that he got an injection in his surgically repaired left ankle following his appearance in the Vikings' preseason game against Seattle on Aug. 28.
Favre has avoided painkillers for years after going through treatment for addiction to Vicodin in the spring of 1996. “It’s more or less a lubricant," Favre said when asked about the injection. "I don’t know the scientific or medical term for it, but it’s more or less like a jell or something that acts as a lubricant. I guess think of it kind of like Vaseline where you’re bone on bone. It remains to be seen if it will work.”
Favre admitted it felt odd going in and that he is scared of needles. "I was already squirming [when I got the shot] but it may be mental, too" he said. "It seems to have helped a little bit but it’s a long season so I might need more than silicon or whatever it is.”
Favre left the door open that he could continue to have the injections. "We’ll see how this helps or doesn’t help," he said. "I didn’t know it was going to make that big of a deal. My mom called me right away [and said]. ‘I didn’t know you get an injection.’”
The fact wide receiver Javon Walker was let go from the Vikings roster came as a bit of a surprise given that Favre had lobbied for the Vikings to sign his former teammate in Green Bay.
Favre and Walker had their rough spots in 2005 when the quarterback criticized Walker for holding out but the two had resolved their differences and Favre thought Walker could help. Walker caught two touchdown passes in two preseason games but it wasn't enough. There is a chance Walker could re-sign next week when the Vikings wouldn't be on the hook for his entire salary and could pay him on a week-to-week basis.
The Vikings pursued wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh as a free agent in March 2009, but Childress said Sunday the team is not going after the veteran right now. Houshmandzadeh was let go by Seattle on Saturday.
"I'd probably be more prone to seeing if we could find a younger guy or somebody that's been around in the West Coast offense," he said.
Childress said he had a good discussion with Walker when he was released and said he could see bringing him back, "at a point and time."
Childress called Walker "system friendly," and a guy who knows "the quarterback."
Done with it
Childress grew tired of questions about the backup quarterback, so by the time a reporter decided to ask about third-string QB Joe Webb ... well, let's just say it wasn't well received.
"I'm not going to deal in hypotheticals," he said. "I'm done with the backup quarterback. I'm done with it. You guys, if that's all you've got to write, good Lord. We're talking about the two highest scoring offenses in the league last year playing each other. Let's talk about the game, instead of Joe Mauer's backup."
Childress was referencing the fact that earlier in the news conference he compared Jackson's role as the backup quarterback to that of the backup catcher.
-- Childress indicated the Vikings got a fifth-round pick from the Giants for Sage Rosenfels and a possible seventh-round pick for return man Darius Reynaud.
-- Percy Harvin will return kicks for the Vikings on Thursday night in New Orleans and it's likely Bernard Berrian and Greg Camarillo will handle punt returns. Harvin could get a chance on punt returns at some point this season.
-- The Vikings would have liked to have brought back Patrick Brown to put him on their practice squad but the New York Jets claimed the offensive tackle off waivers. "Right now, we're casting a gaze toward offensive linemen," Childress said. The Vikings have one practice squad spot left open.
-- As for adding a cornerback before the Saints game, Childress said: "We have a couple different ways that we could go. Marcus [Sherels] will practice there, he's on the practice squad, so he gets some turns. But we'll just have to see how we're covering that corner." The Vikings have three healthy corners in Asher Allen, Lito Sheppard and Antoine Winfield.