No deadline for Favre, but Vikes can plan for life with or without him

Brett Favre hinted that he'll decide about next season sooner rather than later, though with him, that famously has been subject to change.

Even if the Minnesota Vikings must switch quarterbacks again, though, they're willing to wait for Favre's word.

Vikings coach Brad Childress said Tuesday that he doesn't have a deadline for Favre's decision, insisting the team can plan for both possibilities despite an obvious preference for early resolution.

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"State of flux is generally not good," Childress said. "It's usually uncomfortable, but sometimes it pushes you to create as well."

Childress spoke with the 40-year-old quarterback Tuesday morning in the training room, where Favre was receiving treatment on the left ankle that he sprained during a hard hit in Minnesota's NFC Championship Game loss at New Orleans.

"Pretty beat up after that game," Childress said. "We didn't really have any meaningful conversation about what's next."

Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels were supposed to compete for the Vikings' starting quarterback job until Favre joined the team after training camp in mid-August and set the scene for the storybook season that ended painfully short of the Super Bowl.

The Vikings won't pick until 30th in the first round of the draft, so it again will be difficult to find viable alternatives outside the organization.

"We'll just see what's there, and I'm sure we'll ably man that position one way or the other," Childress said.

Rosenfels is still under contract, and Jackson will be a restricted free agent if there's no new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union as expected. Assuming that happens, there won't be a salary cap, either.

"Really, I think our numbers will be just fine if he comes back or he doesn't come back," Childress said of Favre. "I don't know. It's up to him, but it's not a deal where I need to put a gun at his head and say, 'I need to know in a week, two weeks, two months.'"

As Vikings players cleaned out their cubicles in the locker room Monday, the consensus was that Favre can take his time, too.

"He's had his share of training camps," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said when asked whether he'd care if Favre again skipped the two-a-day grind. "He still came out and had a great year, and it wasn't even a factor. So it really won't matter at all to me."

Childress said he wouldn't be surprised by Favre's decision either way, whether it's retirement or a return for a 20th NFL season.

"He's earned his time to be able to step away from it and talk to his family and figure out what he wants to do," the coach said. "You have to heal mentally and you have to heal physically. That's a process for all of us, stepping away from it."

Childress also took responsibility for the costly too-many-men-in-the-huddle penalty following a timeout that preceded Favre's interception in the fourth quarter against the Saints, with the Vikings driving for the potential go-ahead field goal. Fullback Naufahu Tahi was the extra player, originally told he'd be in the game. The coaches were considering two different formations, but the final decision to go with a three-wide set didn't reach Tahi.

"It's an error in communication, and it all comes back to me not having it overcommunicated," Childress said.

"Like I said though, that's my mistake," he added. "Not that I've accepted it myself. I'm harder (on myself) than any of you guys are. It hurts a great deal, and it hurts everyone a great deal. I'm disappointed that it happened. I know why it happened. It happened. It didn't happen in a vacuum."

Once a psychology major, Childress has been using that degree this week to try to lift sagging spirits, following a loss that ranks near or at the top of the list of this franchise's storied history of devastating defeats.

"It's a bitter pill to swallow," Childress said. "I don't know that it completely goes away right away. As the leader of this football team, it's important from my standpoint to point out to our guys all the positive things that we accomplished this year."

On other subjects:

» Childress said cornerback Cedric Griffin will have surgery to repair an injured left knee and might not be ready for the start of next season. Griffin will not have the surgery until some of the strength and range of motion returns in his knee.

» Childress said the Vikings likely will conduct an in-depth study of running back Adrian Peterson's fumbling problem to see if changes can be made with his arm position.

» Childress said the Saints switched from man-to-man to a two-safety-deep zone coverage at the last second before Favre's fateful interception. The coach said Favre's intended receiver, Sidney Rice, was the third or fourth option on that play.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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