Brett Favre was in the Twin Cities to see friends and watch fellow Southern Mississippi alum Brian Dozier play for the Twins. He took time to sing the praises of Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and talk some football.
“I think [Bridgewater] had a really good year, for a rookie, I thought he had a really good year,” the future Hall of Fame quarterback said. “I thought he played exceptional in college [at Louisville]. I had a chance to meet him here at Winter Park a couple of days ago. I was very impressed with him. I’m impressed with his skills and the way he handled himself his first year. So I look forward to bigger and better things from him.”
Favre said that after an exceptional rookie season, the big issue for Bridgewater going forward will be to maintain the trust of his teammates.
“I think you have to win the support of your guys, and I’m not saying he hasn’t done that, in the face of adversity, which he’ll have that,” Favre said. “I think he has done a good job of that. He has to show that he is the leader and he can make those plays when needed.”
Favre, who still closely follows the NFL, said he thinks the Vikings have a bright future.
“I do think so,” he said. “Of all the faces that were there when I played, I think like all but four are gone. That may be a good thing, who knows? I do think getting Adrian [Peterson] back will be a huge asset. I do believe that. And I do think that they have a good group of core young players. The question is, do they develop and get that chemistry in the short amount of time that is needed? And do they remain relatively healthy, which is always tough. But I do think they do have a good future.”
Favre, who played with Peterson in 2009 and 2010, was asked if he was surprised by some of the news involving Peterson over the past year.
“I am,” Favre said. “I don’t talk to Adrian, [but] I do consider him a friend even though we’ve gone our separate ways. But I was very impressed with his work ethic and the type of guy he was when I was here. People ask me all the time what type of a guy Adrian was, and you know this, he’s a very likable and nice guy, an extremely hard worker. But I think, much like [after] his knee injury [in 2011], he will come back with something to prove.
“I think he will run lights out this year, just knowing Adrian. I think right now that’s a part of this team that is much needed. I believe that.”
On ‘Deflategate’ flap
Favre, who is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 70,000 yards, complete more than 6,000 passes and attempt more than 10,000 passes, knows everything there is to know about the condition of a football.
In the wake of the New England Patriots’ scandal over deflating footballs in last season’s AFC Championship Game, Favre was asked if overinflation or underinflation of footballs was something he dealt with during his career.
“You know, that was the first I had ever heard of that, that was new to me,” he said. “I never paid much attention to whether it was overinflated or underinflated. I don’t know how much of an advantage it gives you, I really don’t.
‘‘It was never a factor to me, it was more of the grip, whether it would be slick or roughed up or something like that. How much of a factor it would be or is? It remains to be seen. We’ll see how Tom [Brady, the Patriots quarterback given a four-game suspension by the NFL] plays next year. I thought he played very well in the Super Bowl [in which New England beat Seattle 28-24] and all eyes were on him.”
Does Favre think Brady did it?
“What I do think is that no one would do anything to the balls without the quarterback’s approval,” he said. “If I grabbed a ball and said that it was not scuffed up enough or roughed up, then they won’t use it. That’s what I do know.”
Fond of Vikings days
Favre said he has fond memories of playing in Minnesota.
“I was treated first-class, the whole organization as well as the players were just awesome, as well as the fans,” he said. “For being a hated rival for so long and to come back as the home team, and being a part of that, it was really a special time in my career.”
Does he still think of that NFC Championship Game in 2010, a 31-28 overtime loss to New Orleans?
“Thanks for reminding me of that,” Favre said. “You’re right, you’re right, we had a great run, and it was a shame it ended the way it did. But I’m very proud of what I did that year and of our team. I enjoyed that team as much as any.”
• Linebacker Eric Kendricks, the Vikings’ second-round draft choice and UCLA teammate of the team’s No. 1 draft choice last year, linebacker Anthony Barr, was shocked when the Vikings drafted him because they never worked him out or came out for a personal visit. “I barely talked to them during the process,” Kendricks said.
• The financial allocation of the University of Minnesota administration to the Gophers men’s and women’s athletic department budget will only be about 1 percent of $104 million or $1.2 million this coming year, which is way down from what it was in years past. “There’s some swapping of money back and forth that you may see in print or in the end-of-year deal, but in the end we make about $1.2 or $1.3 [million] or we’re given $1.2 or $1.3 from the university,” Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague said. “Keep in mind, we also pay $10 million back to the university for our scholarships. So we make a nice payment back to them for the scholarships that we give our kids.”
• Former Gophers defensive end Bob Stein is listed on the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. … Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys says the team will acquire some depth because of players returning from injury, “We’ll pick up [redshirt junior defensive lineman] Scott Ekpe from his knee injury, [redshirt junior linebacker] Nick Rallis will be back off his knee injury. So we’re going to pick up some more depth that way,” he said.
Athlon Sports ranked the Gophers as having the second-toughest football schedule of all Big Ten teams next season. “Minnesota could face two potential playoff teams with TCU in the nonconference and Ohio State in crossover. The Gophers also must face Michigan from the East. Add to that slate divisional dates with Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa, and Jerry Kill is looking at an uphill battle in the West.” Somehow that slate was ranked easier than Rutgers’ schedule, because the Scarlet Knights face Army, Norfolk State, Washington State and Kansas in nonconference games.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org