Brett Favre granted Joe Buck a nearly 15-minute interview Monday night on HBO that finally offered some answers about the retired quarterback. But as you listened to Favre for the first time since it became apparent that he and the Vikings remained extremely interested in each other, one thing stood out. There were almost no surprises in what he had to say.
There have been countless reports since the Jets released Favre in late April about exactly what is going on with him. Some have proven to be right, some have eventually proven to be right and others have been wrong. But that doesn’t change the fact that nearly everything Favre said on Monday has been reported in some form.
The only questions that remain now are 1) When do Favre and the Vikings need to make a decision on the condition of his repaired right arm; and 2) Where are the sides at in contract negotiations? The latter could be more advanced than many of us think.
One has to believe that Favre wouldn’t be calling the Vikings “we” if he was having real trouble working out a contract with the team. He was due to make $13 million with the Jets in 2009 and the guess here is that he will have a contract worth at least that much with the Vikings, although it certainly could include incentives to get it that high.
The biggest question now is if the Vikings plan to take ownership of this situation at all? Favre has put all his cards on the table and the Vikings have still done nothing but admit they are interested in Favre. Obviously, Favre is controlling this situation and the Vikings want him. Badly. You can argue that adding a quarterback who turns 40 in October is setting yourself up for problems, but Favre is going to sell tickets and the Vikings need to sell tickets.
Last month, I wrote on this blog that it was time for Favre and the Vikings to both be upfront about this situation. Favre’s rights aren’t owned by another team and in my mind the Vikings had a golden opportunity to share at least a bit of this process with their fans. Remember, Favre admitted tonight he isn’t talking to any other teams, so arguing that this situation needs to be handled quietly for competitive reasons also doesn’t fly.
The obvious question, and one there is really no reason for the Vikings not to answer now, is when they want a decision from Favre. They must know. If Favre says his arm is OK, he’s coming to Minnesota. If he says his arm isn’t OK, he’s going to stay retired. So does that answer need to come in July? Favre said he was told he should know if the arthroscopic procedure was a success in four to five weeks. The procedure was done two-and-a-half weeks ago so we’re not that far off. What if Favre still has some pain in five weeks but tells the Vikings he’s going to keep working at it? Could he extend this into training camp?
It’s a legitimate question and one the Vikings should be willing to answer now that Favre has gone on the record. I’m willing to bet Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels would love to hear the response.