You just knew this story was Favre from over - Brett signs with the Minnesota Vikings
If I were a betting man, I'd swear Brett Favre would be joining the Vikings in the next few weeks, or at least attempt to join the team in that time frame.
Wait a minute, I am a betting man.
Now, first off, this is not one of those "FOXSports.com has learned ..." news scoops. Instead, it's a picture that has been painted for me and a prediction I'm making after spending my time with Zygi Wilf's squad. My prediction couldn't be more emphatic.
After visiting the Vikings for two days, I am convinced — positively convinced — that Brett Favre will soon have talks with the Vikings to return to the team and could be joining them for this season after all. If my instincts are correct, all those purple Favre jerseys will have a home on Minnesota store shelves.
Granted, my camp stop occurred before Sage Rosenfels lit up the Colts in the preseason opener to the tune of 10-of-13 passing for 91 yards. And if Rosenfels can continue like this, he could squash this prediction as the preseason continues.
But until I see it more consistently, I'm absolutely convinced. Why? For starters, because everyone else on the Vikings seems to be convinced of the same thing. I mean damn near everybody!
During my two days in Mankato, nearly everyone I talked to within the team talked about Favre joining not as an "if" but rather a "when."
Players, coaches, team employees ... you name it, they seem to believe it. The case for a Favre-Vikings marriage seems more likely than not when we look at the overall picture of clues.
Exhibit A) Acceptance within the team that it's pretty much already done.
When I say nearly everyone I talked to on the team is convinced he's coming, that is not an exaggeration. People from all walks of life within the organization talk about it as if it's no secret, almost an afterthought. "I'm telling you it's already done," said one Viking. "Right after the Indy game (first preseason game). I don't think anyone here doesn't think that."
Another Viking said, "I don't know if it's done, but I think he'll be in by the third preseason game."
If it happens, when is a good question. While the one source says he thinks it will happen this week, I don't. If it happens, getting him in by the third preseason game would have been ideal, but waiting until the season starts to see if the Vikings starting quarterback falters could be another route. That way Favre can come riding in on his white horse.
Our humble host of FOX NFL Sunday, Curt Menefee, also made the trip to camp when I did, and upon our exodus from Mankato, Menefee brought up how matter-of-fact the issue seemed to be around the club. Everyone acted as if they already knew something (even if they didn't) and even Menefee said he was floored by how open it seemed and how accepted it was as more than an opinion.
"It was crazy, it was like it was accepted as fact ... by everybody," said Menefee during a conversation while we were en route to the airport. "It wasn't even like it was a secret. I've never seen anything like it."
Exhibit B) Favre has not closed the door on his decision.
Those close to Favre told FOXSports.com he is still contemplating what he wants to do and is still eliciting advice from people he trusts regarding his decision. Those sources say his decision either way is far from set in stone.
Favre is still working out (at least according to what he's told others) and is still keeping in touch with members of the Vikings via text. If Favre wasn't planning to keep the door open or planning a full-on return, why would he have indicated that he would continue to throw and work out? Was that simply to make sure we all keep wondering and talking about a potential return?
Exhibit C) Best available option.
Neither Sage Rosenfels nor Tarvaris Jackson has done anything to make the Vikings feel either is the answer at quarterback. Jackson had been hurt this summer, but even when healthy he and Rosenfels have actually been outplayed during training camp by third-stringer John David Booty. To listen to Brad Childress, one would think an open door to Favre would be in order. While I was at camp, Childress was quoted as being unhappy with the passing game. While he wanted more out of that phase of the offense, he was quick to point out that the receivers were doing well. So if the receivers are doing well but the passing game is struggling ... hmmm, who does that leave?
Exhibit D) Favre hates camp.
It's far from a secret that the NFL's version of Lou Gehrig dreads the rigors of living at a college campus, working out in the stifling sun with a bunch of kids who won't be in the league in three weeks. If he could miss camp, he would. In this case if the Vikings would take him back after camp, Favre gets his wish.
I think any NFL jury would award the verdict to a Favre return. However, while I may be completely convinced he will at least attempt to join the team now that camp has broken, the question that now arises: Will owner Zygi Wilf give Favre the go-ahead despite previously being spurned?
Some Vikings people vehemently attempted to convince me that the Vikings' ship has sailed to other waters. Childress has said they are fine with what the Vikings have. But until the final game of this season is played with no sign of No. 4 in sight, I'm not going to buy it.
The Vikings know they would be a better team with Favre at the helm. But some inside the organization believe the Wilfs could have been put off by how Favre Fiasco '09 unfolded. It dragged on past soap opera drama levels and in the end, they were left jilted at a very public altar.
However, I've got to believe that if Rosenfels and Jackson do nothing to conjure images of Fran Tarkenton, having Favre ride his mower up to the Twin Cities will begin to look awfully tempting to the Wilfs. Again, I'm a betting man and if I had to lay a bet down right now ... I'd be willing to bet my farm.