Favre's status unknown, but Vikings aren't desperate to draft a QB

The Minnesota Vikings have arrived at another NFL draft, without clarity on who their quarterback will be for the foreseeable future.

Brett Favre or not, could this be the year the Vikings draft a big name at football's most important position?

"We've got two experienced quarterbacks on our roster," director of college scouting Scott Studwell said, referring to Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. "We don't know what's going to happen with Brett yet. If there's a guy there that we covet and we think he's going to be a potential starter or a good backup for us, then we'll certainly have to talk about taking them."

Coach Brad Childress insisted the uncertainty about Favre's status won't affect the Vikings' willingness to take a quarterback this week, and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said the team won't treat the position differently than any other in the draft.

"The best approach to it is like you don't have anyone on your roster," Spielman said, adding: "Go ahead, set your draft board, set the players how you see them and pretend like you don't have needs."

The Vikings have the 30th pick in the first round, plus seven other selections in rounds two through seven.

Childress, who has been in regular communication with Favre, said he spoke with the quarterback on Monday, when the 40-year-old grandfather told the coach he was "spraying weeds" at his Mississippi home.

"I didn't ask if was DDT, RID, or whatever they spray weeds with down there," Childress quipped. "He seems to be doing well."

Childress added that he followed up their conversation by sending Favre a cell-phone picture of the practice fields outside Vikings headquarters to show off the recent sunny weather in Minnesota.

"It's so green and warm here that you almost think you're next to the equator," Childress said.

Childress said he also sent a text message to Favre on Tuesday after learning the Vikings are scheduled to open the season Sept. 9 in New Orleans in an NFC Championship Game rematch with the Saints.

Might that be extra motivation for Favre to return and avenge that defeat?

"There's no sense in killing an ant with a sledgehammer," Childress said. "I think he'll be able to connect the dots."

If Favre returns, the Vikings will have three quarterbacks under contract for a price of nearly $17 million, but still no clear star-in-waiting to go with running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Sidney Rice.

"You're always addressing it," Childress said of the quarterback position. "You're always looking to see whether it's somebody on your roster or somebody that you're going to obtain in the future, whether the future is a couple days from now or a couple weeks from now or a couple years from now. You're always wanting to have that person."

Childress added: "Would I like to have a long-term solution? I think we all would. But by the same token, you don't want to force it and grab for something that's not there."

If the Vikings have subscribed to the draft-and-develop process of producing elite quarterbacks, they haven't followed through very much. Beginning their 50th season in the NFL, the Vikings have taken a quarterback in the first round just twice: Tommy Kramer in 1977 and Daunte Culpepper in 1999.

In fact, Minnesota has drafted a quarterback in the second or third round just three times: Fran Tarkenton in 1961, Bill Cappleman in 1970 and Jackson in 2006.

Most of the franchise's passing-game success has been fueled by veterans acquired through free agency or trades (like Favre and Warren Moon) or late-round fliers (like Brad Johnson and Wade Wilson).

It has been a slow offseason for the Vikings, who watched running back Chester Taylor and offensive lineman Artis Hicks leave and retained their three other unrestricted free agents: wide receiver Greg Lewis, cornerback Benny Sapp and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy. The Vikings also signed kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd and defensive end Mike Montgomery.

The draft is clearly Minnesota's focus.

A number of high-profile quarterbacks from major colleges will be available in the first couple rounds, with Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, Texas' Colt McCoy and Florida's Tim Tebow among them. Then there are sleepers such as Cincinnati's Tony Pike, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour and Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton, who the Vikings could consider later.

Tebow might be the most intriguing prospect, given his winning record, toughness and character. "He was a willing soul," Childress said, calling Tebow "aces" in all character-related categories.

Spielman said the Vikings have four players targeted for the No. 30 pick, but he also indicated an openness to trade the selection and move down because of the depth of this draft.

Spielman also didn't rule out a trade up, which is essentially the same way the Vikings and every other NFL team talk about their strategy each year -- publicly declaring a willingness to consider all options and refusing to tip their hand about preferences.

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Teams often talk up particular prospects, too, trying to make others think they're leaning one way while believing the opposite. So that means Tebow could go anywhere.

The knocks against Tebow are his accuracy and velocity.

"You want Tim Tebow on your football team," former NFL coach Jon Gruden recently said. "If you really want someone bad enough, you're going to have to take him, whether it's the first round or the second round. ... I think somebody that's got a down-the-road approach and has a vision for him will take him and take him earlier than some people expect."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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