Bevell avoids Favre talk, but says they're friends

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) -Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is soft-spoken and polite, reluctant to speak out of turn.

So it was strange to see him step behind a podium on Saturday, for his regularly scheduled interview session with reporters, as an alleged figure in the NFL's latest firestorm. Bevell has been accused by the Green Bay Packers of talking to Brett Favre about his interest in un-retiring.

"It's not the message I want out there," Bevell said. "I want us focusing on the Minnesota Vikings. What we're doing here, what we're trying to prepare for, the season that we're having. Keep the focus on our team, and that's where I would like it to stay."

This was his first address of the situation since the Packers filed a tampering charge with the league against the rival Vikings regarding alleged against-the-rules contact with Favre. The NFL is investigating. Bevell was Green Bay's quarterbacks coach from 2003-05 and got to know Favre well during that time.

"I would say we're really good friends, and other than that it's a league matter and they are taking care of it," said Bevell, who is in his third year as Minnesota's offensive coordinator under coach Brad Childress.

Bevell didn't bite on a query about whether he was curious to see where Favre winds up playing if he follows through on his desire to file for reinstatement, now that the Packers have committed to Aaron Rodgers as their starter.

"Like I said, I'm just focused on what we're doing here," Bevell said. "That's going to happen, what's going to happen, but focused on what we're doing."

Last year, Bevell was on the list of preseason storylines, but in a better light. In an attempt to improve an offense that was one of the worst in franchise history, Childress turned the majority of the play-calling responsibility over to Bevell after acknowledging at the end of 2006 he didn't handle that duty well as a rookie coach.

Though Tarvaris Jackson had more downs than ups as a first-year starter at quarterback and the Vikings remained a team that relied on defense, strides were made behind running back Adrian Peterson's amazing season. Less criticism of predictable, conservative play-calling came from fans and analysts; Bevell was more willing to open up the playbook.

"I always like to get involved in the process, but you have to also not be meddlesome," Childress said this week. "He always has good rhyme and reason as to what he's looking at. I don't think we're ever going to be running a wishbone or anything like that. Most of the concepts are the same."

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