Vikings decline comment on tampering charges

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -The Minnesota Vikings declined Thursday to talk about allegations by the Green Bay Packers that they made inappropriate contact with quarterback Brett Favre.

Vikings spokesman Bob Hagan issued a two-sentence statement on Thursday. It said the Vikings "are not commenting on the issue. These types of matters are handled by the league."

A person familiar with the Packers' complaint told The Associated Press Wednesday night that Green Bay has filed tampering charges against the Vikings.

The person, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said Packers officials believe Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had discussions with Favre that would violate league rules. Presumably, such discussions would include the possibility of Favre leaving the Packers for their NFC North rivals in Minnesota.

"They feel like Favre had something (in place), and that's why he was so anxious to get his release all of a sudden," the person said.

Favre and Bevell are friends going back to Bevell's days as an assistant in Green Bay. The three-time MVP retired in March, but has since said that he wants to return, which has led to a messy back-and-forth with Packers GM Ted Thompson.

The Packers told The AP that they were ready to welcome Favre back to the team later in March when Favre expressed reservations about his decision to retire, only to be assured by the quarterback that he was finished.

Favre has said that he felt pressured by the Packers to retire and now has been told that if he returns to Green Bay, he wouldn't necessarily get the starting job back.

Vikings coach Brad Childress called the situation a "soap opera," and said Tuesday that it has been interesting to watch but he remained committed to going forward with Tarvaris Jackson as his starting quarterback.

But the Packers think the Vikings have had other ideas since Favre held a tearful retirement press conference on March 6.

The team told the league that it believes an investigation of phone records will show more than "normal contact" between Favre and Bevell, even before he formally asked for his release to play for another team.

Bevell and Favre grew to be close friends during Bevell's three years as quarterbacks coach with the Packers from 2003-05. The two remained in contact after Bevell left to become the offensive coordinator of the Vikings.

Bevell was not available to comment on Thursday and neither were any other Vikings officials, Hagan said.


AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

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