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Childress denies Vikings targeting T.J., defends Rosenfels deal

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Cross the Minnesota Vikings off the list of potential destinations for free-agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- for now.

Vikings coach Brad Childress said during a news conference Sunday that the team isn't interested in the nine-year NFL veteran, who was released by the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.

"Right now, I'd be more prone to see if we could find a younger guy or somebody that's been around in a West Coast offense," Childress said.

The Vikings were the second team to deny interest in Houshmandzadeh on Sunday. Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Houshmandzadeh would be a fit with his former team if it was "constituted differently."

The Vikings had been linked as a possible landing spot for Houshmandzadeh because of question marks in the team's receiving corps. Sidney Rice -- Minnesota's leading receiver in 2009 -- is out at least the first six weeks of the season following hip surgery, and No. 2 option Percy Harvin has been plagued by migraine headaches that have forced him in and out of the lineup.

Childress also staunchly defended his decision to keep Tarvaris Jackson as Brett Favre's backup over Sage Rosenfels, two days after the Vikings traded Rosenfels to the New York Giants.

Rosenfels had the better statistics in the preseason, but Childress said those numbers can be misleading because of how greatly the levels of competition differ for two quarterbacks within the same game.

"It's a completely different set of circumstances," Childress said. "I would hope that if Tarvaris was in there going with the twos, that he would have been able to light it up that same way."

Favre has played in an NFL-record 285 consecutive games -- 309 including the playoffs -- and the coach bristled at the line of questioning, likening it to discussing Joe Mauer's backup at catcher for the Minnesota Twins.

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"We're talking about the two highest-scoring offenses in the league last year playing each other (in Thursday night's season opener against the New Orleans Saints)," Childress said. "Let's talk about the game, instead of Joe Mauer's backup."

Translation: Childress expects Favre to take all the snaps this season, as he has since he took over as a starter in Green Bay in 1992, so the issue is rather insignificant.

Primary return man Darius Reynaud also went to the Giants in that Rosenfels trade, and Childress said Harvin will be the team's kick returner when the Vikings open the season. Bernard Berrian and Greg Camarillo will split punt-return duties, with Harvin possibly getting some looks there later in the season.

The Vikings also will go into the game against one of the best passing offenses in the league with just three healthy cornerbacks on their roster. Childress side-stepped a question about adding depth at that position, saying the team's top priority was strengthening the offensive line.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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