MARSHALL, Minn. – The Minnesota Vikings have spoken: Yes, they’re interested in Brett Favre.
The Vikings broke their silence Monday, with president Mark Wilf saying the team is considering the supposedly retired star.
“He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s a great competitor,” Wilf said. “Ultimately, you’ll have to ask Brett what his plans are, but sure there’s interest in Brett Favre. But again, it’s part of a process we have in general with any of our players. We’re always looking to make our team better.”
Several conflicting and contradictory media reports swirled last week around the possibility of Favre, who retired for the second time at the end of last season, returning to play for the Vikings.
Neither Favre nor the Vikings commented last week, which only added more confusion to the situation.
Favre was released by the New York Jets on April 28 and issued a statement that said, “At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football.”
He hasn’t been heard from since.
“That type of decision is up to Brett Favre, and I’ll leave it to Brett Favre to give you that answer,” Wilf said.
His agent, Bus Cook, has said that Favre remains retired to his knowledge. Cook did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press on Monday.
Wilf, who along with brother Zygi purchased the team in 2005, spoke about Favre during a previously scheduled community visit. It was the first question asked by a fan during a panel discussion between Wilf and linebackers Chad Greenway and Ben Leber as part of a “You Made the Team” luncheon with the Marshall Chamber of Commerce.
After Greenway gave a politically correct answer, Wilf jumped in to defend the current stable of quarterbacks — incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, newcomer Sage Rosenfels and third-stringer John David Booty.
“With Sage and Tarvaris and John David, we’re pleased with the quarterbacks we have,” Wilf said. “Let’s not let that get forgotten here. And we just feel as a whole as a roster, we’re trying to improve every day. We feel we’ve made a lot of steps to improve off an NFC North division win and we’re ready to take the next step and to go all the way.”
It’s a little bit of deja vu for the Vikings. Last year, Favre renounced his retirement from the Packers and, after being told Green Bay was going with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, it was believed that Favre wanted to play for the NFC North rival Vikings.
After a messy divorce with Green Bay, Favre was shipped to the Jets, where he threw 22 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions for a team that finished 1-4 to miss the playoffs.
The Vikings won the division without him, but have been unsettled at the sport’s most important position for the past three-plus years. Quarterback continues to be viewed as one of the team’s few weak spots on an otherwise talent-laden roster.
“Last year it didn’t become a distraction and we kind of went through the same thing during training camp, which is right at the peak time,” Greenway said. “For us, it’s like we battled through that, were NFC North champs from last year and it obviously didn’t affect us. We got off to a relatively good start so I don’t think that had any type of effect.”
But with Favre, retirement has become an annual ordeal. He was released by the Jets on April 28 and now is free to sign with the Vikings if he is healthy enough and still has the desire to play.
“He’s retired a couple of times so you wonder where his loyalties lie,” Greenway said. “For us, we’re moving forward with what we’ve got here. We have a team that can obviously win at a high level and we have a team that, moving forward, we think can really compete for an NFC North title again and get to the championship game and hopefully further.
“As good as something may sound, we have a great team to play with right now and there is no sense in looking outside of what we have within our 53 (man roster).”