Vikings' Childress admits calling Favre last week, tells media to 'stay tuned'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Eventually, the Minnesota Vikings will need to know: Is Brett Favre going to play or not?

The Vikings aren't showing any public impatience with the NFL's all-time leading passer, even though Favre's annual waffling over his retirement continues to cloud preparations for the 2009 season. Training camp starts in seven weeks.

A game of 23 questions

Reporters asked Brad Childress 24 questions Thursday -- and 23 were about Brett Favre. Read the transcript of the interview for the Vikings coach's answers. More ...

"You have it lingering over your head, all day, every day," Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. "Every time you turn on the TV, you see Favre, or you see something about Favre, or you see something about his shoulder, or you see him working out at the high school.

"You want to know what's going on, but at the same time, that's something that we can't control, so we leave it alone."

Even the uncertainty at quarterback -- will it be Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels or Favre? -- isn't enough to get Vikings coach Brad Childress to declare an end to the will-he-or-won't-he dance that has gone on for weeks.

"Do I need clarity on it? Again, it's hard to speculate," Childress said, reiterating Thursday that he had set no deadline for Favre to decide.

In his fourth year in charge of the Vikings, Childress has a well-established reputation as a no-nonsense, detail-driven coach. As the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator, his do-it-our-way message to a pouting Terrell Owens played a part in the star wide receiver's departure from the team in 2005. With Minnesota, Childress has expressed disappointment when certain veterans skipped all or parts of the team's offseason workout program.

But Childress hasn't come close to suggesting that Favre should make up his mind soon. Asked if Favre can still be a great quarterback, the coach said this: "Don't know. Don't know. Stay tuned."

The Vikings have another organized practice Friday, their last scheduled activity until players are asked to report to training camp on July 29. The first full workout on the field is two days after that.

Childress said he called Favre last week, declining to elaborate on the conversation. With Favre's right arm reportedly recovering from surgery, Childress surely will want to see the 39-year-old throw before the Vikings give him a contract.

But when?

"That's down-the-road stuff," Childress said. "The guy's retired right now. You'd have to talk to him about that."

Favre hasn't spoken publicly since he retired from the New York Jets in February.

Jackson and Rosenfels can't be happy with the situation, but they have the company line down pat.

"Uncertainty is never a good thing, but again, I can't control what the head coach does or the GM does," said Rosenfels, who came to the Vikings in an offseason trade from the Houston Texans. "They're going to make decisions. One day when I'm a head coach or I'm a GM, I'll be making decisions. But right now I'm just a quarterback."

Jackson acknowledged seeking stress relief in the weight room, but he has endured so much scrutiny and skepticism during his three up-and-down seasons in Minnesota that he has developed plenty of perspective.

"Like any situation you're in, you want to know," Jackson said. "But I guess it's not their job to tell me. So I'll just go out here and try to get better."

Jackson said he receives text messages "all day, every day" asking about the Favre situation.

"I won't lie and say it don't bother me, but I kind of got used to it," he said.

The Vikings have faced constant media coverage of otherwise irrelevant workouts in May and June, so if Favre comes to training camp next month, the Minnesota State campus in Mankato surely will be a zoo.

"The Favre-a-palooza," Shiancoe said. "It's crazy. But every year is a circus. And you've got to expect it, man. But you know, he deserves the right to do that. He's put in a lot of work."

Shiancoe has even started envisioning a jump in production, citing Favre's history of throwing to tight ends. In fact, few players have complained about all the fuss, and defensive end Jared Allen promised there would be no chemistry problems if Favre comes to the Vikings.

"We've got a good locker room," Allen said. "The coaches and staff and organization do a great job of making this a family atmosphere around here, and so that's the way we keep it."

Really, no worries?

"I honest to God do not worry about it," Allen said. "I don't say I don't care, because obviously you care who your quarterback is, but either way, it's going to be a good quarterback."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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