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Vikings wait, hope on Favre decision

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The prevailing theory since the Vikings' season ended with a loss at New Orleans in the NFC title game has been that Brett Favre would be back in 2010. Some have suggested the Vikings already know the quarterback will return but ...

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The prevailing theory since the Vikings' season ended with a loss at New Orleans in the NFC title game has been that Brett Favre would be back in 2010. Some have suggested the Vikings already know the quarterback will return but will not say anything so the 40-year-old can again miss part of training camp before making a triumphant return after all activity in Mankato has ended.

While Vikings coach Brad Childress and team executives seem to have a quiet confidence that Favre will play a 20th season, four days at the NFL owners meetings left observers with the impression that nothing has been decided. No secret handshakes have taken place either at Winter Park or during Childress' visit to see Favre in Mississippi this month.

"I don't know," Childress said when asked for an update on the Favre situation Wednesday during the NFC coaches' breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton. "(It's) just the same as it has been really. I just don't know. In this business you have to be able to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity because that's what this is about."

And so the Vikings wait and hope. Will the team's no-pressure approach give Favre the breathing room he needs to make a decision the Vikings desire?

Childress, like all NFL coaches, likes to control as many things as possible. But he understands that when it comes to getting what he wants out of Favre, ceding control is of vital importance. Not to mention this is a rare case in which the rules are being made up as the sides go.

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"You shape what you can shape and then your response to whatever happens is the most important thing," Childress said.

Childress and his players know Favre most likely will not take part in offseason workouts or even the first part of training camp. Given the quarterback's success last year after arriving in late August, everyone seems to be all right with that. When asked if Favre is angling to avoid a long training camp, Childress said: "I don't know if it's that simple because I don't know what it is."

What Childress does know is that finding a quality starting quarterback isn't easy and finding one who can throw 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions at the age of 40 is nearly impossible.

The Vikings coach said he would like to have his entire team together at the beginning of camp.

"Your first preference certainly is to have everybody stepping the same step, but you have to be able to deal with the uncertain aspects of it," Childress said. "Probably the benefit of him missing last year's OTAs and last year's training camp was that certainly Sage (Rosenfels) and Tarvaris (Jackson) got a ton of snaps, got a ton of turns (in camp)."

Jackson, who had a third-round tender placed on him as a restricted free agent, has yet to re-sign with the Vikings. That is expected to happen -- it's extremely unlikely any team will surrender a third-round pick for Jackson. Childress seemed to suggest the Vikings would pick Jackson to start in 2010 if Favre surprises everyone and hangs it up.

Jackson, not Sage Rosenfels, was Favre's backup throughout last year.

"If you took it off of last year, yeah," Jackson would be in the lead to be the starter, Childress said. "But we're going to get to the field here before we start next year, so we'll just see how those guys have evolved."

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Childress left the door open that the Vikings could add another quarterback or two depending on what happens but expressed optimism that Jackson and Rosenfels benefitted from a year of watching Favre on and off the field. Childress especially singled out Jackson, who is 10-10 as a starter in his four seasons.

"I'm satisfied from the standpoint of currently where they are at," Childress said. "I think they both evolved and grew even though it might have been in a vicarious way last year with Brett. But I know there was great dialogue, and I watched Tarvaris in his games and in his snaps do a great job. I thought he grew mentally, which was as important as anything, in how he approached the game and how he approached practice.

"Really, some of the intangible things because there's not statistics for that, but you know what you saw when you saw it. I think on face talking to him he'd really admit that it was a great year and you can't put a premium on that. Being around a guy like Favre and growing in our system and seeing how a Hall of Fame quarterback operates our system."

The Vikings' desire, of course, is to have that Hall of Fame quarterback operating their system again come September.

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