Minnesota Vikings fans who want Brett Favre to return next season now have their marching orders: Root for the University of Southern Mississippi baseball team.
Favre, who hasn't announced his intentions for 2010, told the Golden Eagles on Thursday that he will play a 20th NFL season if they reach the College World Series again, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported.
"Let's make a (fun) bet," the quarterback said in response to a question from outfielder Justin Diliberto. "If you guys go back to the College World Series this year -- I will come back and play. How about that? You go back, and I go back."
Southern Miss, Favre's alma mater, reached its first College World Series last season and currently is ranked 29th in the Collegiate Baseball poll with a 30-20 record. This year's College World Series is scheduled to start June 19 in Omaha, Neb., giving Favre plenty of time to commit to the Vikings' July training camp should the Golden Eagles hold up their end of the bargain.
"Guys, remember the bet," Favre said. "Y'all go back, and I go back. I promise, I will be keeping up with you. Good luck."
Favre's words came one day after Vikings coach Brad Childress said he didn't have an update from the quarterback about his playing status or a possible surgery on his injured left ankle. Childress did say the two have exchanged text messages this offseason.
Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said Wednesday that he also has traded text messages with Favre, but he insisted they talked only about "life stuff" and not football. Jackson said he "wouldn't dare ask" the burning question about Favre's playing status, although he has a gut feeling about what the 40-year-old star might do.
"I'm basically worrying about myself and trying to get better," Jackson said. "That's all I can do."
For now, Jackson will continue to go through drills and workouts with fellow quarterbacks Sage Rosenfels, Joe Webb and R.J. Archer and try not to think too much about if, or when, Favre might reappear in Minnesota.
"I've been through so much the last couple of years, it's kind of like, 'Everything happens for a reason,'" Jackson said. "I'm not giving up on anything, but just let it play how it's going to play because you can't control it. If I had control and I had my choice on how things were going to happen, I'd be the starter."
NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported Tuesday, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, that the Vikings aren't pushing Favre in any way to make a decision about surgery. If Favre has made up his mind, it hasn't been communicated to the team.
Favre's agent, Bus Cook, hasn't responded to inquiries about the quarterback's ankle or any decision on surgery.
Favre has retired twice, only to come back both times. He led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game in his first season with the team, posting career highs in passer rating (107.2) and completion percentage (68.4) and a career low in interceptions (seven). He has one year left on his deal in Minnesota.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.