Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Favre gives edge to Saints

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFC, Super Bowl, Brad Childress, Vikings fans, Brad Childress, Brett Favre, Vikings quarterbacks Updated: September 8, 2010 - 7:45 PM

NEW ORLEANS -- Vikings fans aren't going to like this but you have to give Brett Favre credit for being honest. On the eve of the Vikings' regular-season opener against the Saints, the quarterback admitted that the home team in Thursday night's game has an advantage.

"I would have to give the edge to the Saints, first of all, as far as first game, where are you from a team standpoint overall as far as chemistry and things of that nature?" Favre said during an interview Wednesday on the season premiere of John Madden's show on Sirius NFL Radio. "Where are you at this point, which obviously is the first game of the season? I would give the nod to the Saints just in that regard. They’re obviously a good football team either way. Those guys, it doesn’t seem like they’ve had a lot of injuries. There really hasn’t been any change, at least from an offensive standpoint, to those guys.

"Where you look at us in preseason, not much to go off of and really not a whole lot different than last year. That just adds to it. Last year we opened up at Cleveland. I had no clue what to expect from our team, from myself, but it sure was made a lot easier by handing the ball to Adrian [Peterson] that game. I think he rushed for roughly 180 yards. I had the best seat in the house, didn’t have to do too much, was never really asked to make a big play. And that was a good way to ease into it." 

Favre went on to say that he realizes Thursday night's game will be a different situation and that while he would love to be able to stand back and let Peterson be the star of the show he doesn't know if that will be the case.

"I hope so," Favre said. "So really, to answer your question, it’s kind of, for us, a question mark. I don’t really know what to expect. What are we going to lean on? Who is our go-to guy, things like that, where I think the Saints would probably have a better feel for where they are right now.”

During the interview, Favre also discussed the public perception of him and pointed a finger at the media for making a big deal of his wavering ways. 
 
“You know, first and foremost, today’s game, today’s society, it’s a media frenzy world and nothing goes untouched or un-talked about," Favre said in response to a question from host Adam Schein. "I quietly, I thought quietly, this offseason tried to make my decision. I had [ankle] surgery. Of course, once we got months before camp the media started camping out at the gate [at his home in Hattiesburg, Miss]. 
 
"I never asked them to come. I never asked them to talk about it. Quarterbacks just in general, if you think about it, over the years get way too much glory, get way too much blame, get way too much attention. That’s the way it is. I’m content with where I am. I want to make the right decision. I know making the decision period is the most important thing."

Favre went on to say that he doesn't pay attention to what is said about him and he understands that fans are going to say what they want. "I think the guys on this team would speak for me and friends and family that know the situation would say the same thing," Favre said. "I can’t expect anyone to understand it, wouldn’t do me any good to even try to explain it to people. So I just try to make the right decision and do the best with that decision.”

One person who had a strong opinion about Favre's absence from training camp wasn't a member of the media but rather Cincinnati wide receiver Terrell Owens. Apearing on "The Daily Line" on Versus, Owens had some strong comments about Favre that were picked up by the website ProFootballTalk (www.profootballtalk.com).

“Had it been one of us doing some of the same things, pulling these stunts that Brett Favre has done the last two or three years, then we would be labeled ‘not a team player,’ ‘selfish,’ and these are times where you want your guys to be in camp, bonding with your teammates, learning the plays, going through the whole team concept just like everybody else,” Owens said.  “And now it's like, yeah, he's set himself above team standards.”

Favre also was asked during his Sirius appearance about his relationship with Vikings coach Brad Childress. The two certainly didn't always agree last season but Favre doesn't see that as a negative. 

“I think its fine," Favre said of where things stand with Childress. "I would think he would say the same thing. For competitive players and coaches ... I can remember Phil Simms and Bill Parcells going at it, and Jim McMahon and Jim Harbaugh and [Mike] Ditka going at it. Even [Mike] Holmgren and myself, now, he obviously was right. I was at a point where I was really hardheaded and didn’t understand the whole offense in general. I mean, I’ve been around a long time. We all think we know it all. At this stage of my career I would think experience almost speaks more than anything else. So I try to get that across.

"I understand this is Brad Childress’ team. And have we butted heads? Sure. But the following day, that’s the thing, we came in and we were fine and I think that’s what you have to do. I think conflict is good, confrontation is good. To be good, it’s never easy, and you’re never going to agree [all the time], not only with your coaches but your teammates.
 
"But the common goal is to get to the Super Bowl and how we do that and how well we work together is the most important thing. I know that more than anyone. And so, once again, the media has enjoyed playing that up a little bit.  I’m not going to sit here and say we haven’t had our differences but we’ve resolved them and gone on.”
 
Saints coordinator doesn't back off
 
Childress has been outspoken (at least for him) about how the Saints defense treated Favre in last season's NFC title game. The man in the crosshairs has been New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who met with the media on Wednesday.

Williams' comments when asked about Childress complaints weren't exactly apologetic. "The number one criteria here when I was hired here was changing the attitude of the defense," Williams said, per ProFootballTalk. "Our players are going to play hard. They are always going to play hard. And if they don't play hard they are going to stand by me."

In other words, they will be playing hard on Thursday night and hitting Favre as much as possible. And that's exactly what Williams' employer expects from his defense.

"I'm one of those coaches that has enough stroke in the league that the reason the owners hire me is they can't coach the team," Williams said.  "When he wants to coach the team, he can coach the team.  But if [my players] don't play a certain way, they can stand by me."

Here is the item from the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Williams.

Williams also talked about his flirtation with the Vikings in 2006 before Childress took the job. Williams was one of the NFL's hot head coaching candidates that January but Redskins owner Daniel Snyder signed him to a lucrative deal to stay as Joe Gibbs' defensive coordinator. The assumption at that time was Williams would eventually replace Gibbs but that didn't happen.

At the time, rumors swirled that Williams was actually the Vikings No. 1 choice to take over as head coach.

According to PFT, Williams noded when asked if he was close to ever having the Vikings coaching job and said, "Thought about it. Thought about it."

Jackson in the mix?

We know the Vikings made a call at one point to check on the availability of San Diego holdout wide receiver Vincent Jackson before deciding the price was too high. But did the Vikings call back last weekend and nearly get a deal done?

There has been a report out for several days that Jackson's agents had a deal completed with a team that they would not identify. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that agreement was believed to be for one year and $7 million plus incentives. It fell through because the unknown team could not come to an agreement with the Chargers.

There was some speculation the unknown team was St. Louis but the Union-Tribune reported today that it is known that team was not the Rams or Seattle, which had permission to try to work a deal with Jackson at one point.

So could it have been the Vikings? A one-year deal with Jackson would make sense for the Vikings, who could use his talents with Sidney Rice (hip) out for at least half the season. A big issue here is exactly how long Jackson is going to miss. He already is suspended for the first three games of the season for two drunken driving arrests.

Then there is the matter to be decided by a special master on whether the Chargers decision to put Jackson on the roster exempt list will follow him to a new team and keep him out of the first six games.
 

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