Saturday August 1st, 2009

MANKATO, Minn. -- You can count Vikings all-world running back Adrian Peterson among those who right up until Tuesday afternoon were dreaming fondly of a Brett Favre era in Minnesota. Peterson, one of the Vikings stars who in recent weeks were openly lobbying Favre to come out of retirement once more, said the club's pursuit of the soon-to-be 40-year-old Packers legend was in essence a no-brainer.

"Would it have been nice?'' said Peterson, meeting the media Friday afternoon in his first comments of Vikings training camp at Minnesota State University Mankato. "Yeah, I can sit here and say it would have been nice for our guys to learn from Brett Favre. He's been in the league for 18 years. It's not like we're talking about a really cool guy. We're talking about Brett Favre. I don't care how old he is, he's a Hall of Fame quarterback. So that changes the whole scenario.''

The Vikings, of course, didn't coax Favre to town, and that leaves them settling for a quarterback competition between incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and veteran Sage Rosenfels, who they acquired in a trade with Houston in February. But Peterson, the reigning NFL rushing champ, didn't sound the least bit concerned about any possible adverse message that the months-long flirtation with Favre might have sent either Jackson or Rosenfels, even referencing Vikings head coach Brad Childress' job security as one reason behind the efforts.

"I'm always in those guys' corner,'' Peterson said. "You can sit there and say, 'You're their corner, but then you were sending texts to Brett?' It's like this: Going into my third year (in the NFL), I understand this is a business. Coach Childress, he's got a job to do or he'll be moving his family and his kids somewhere else, and that (job is) to get the best 53 players on the field.

"So if you've got an opportunity to get Brett Favre to come, go after him. I feel like Tarvaris and Sage, they understand that and there was no hard feelings. When you've got a guy the caliber of Brett Favre, you've got to give it a chance.''

Peterson admitted he never recruited Favre by talking on the phone, but did text him on more than one occasion, and followed the saga daily in the media.

"I didn't really have a choice but to watch it,'' said Peterson of the saturation coverage the Favre story received. "You can't help but see the talk, and he was coming to the Vikings organization that I'm a part of.''

After waiting so long and coming so close to landing Favre, I asked Peterson where that left a Vikings team that won its first division last season since 2000? Are they still Super Bowl material, or do they remain in need of an upgrade at quarterback?

"Where does it leave us?'' he said. "It doesn't leave us nowhere. We move on. He's a great player. I love the way he plays the game. There's a passion he plays with and he's so dedicated to the game when he's out there. He's like a kid, and that's really how I play the game. So I've got nothing negative to say about him.

"But this is the Minnesota Vikings and at the end of the year last year, we had set our goals, and those are the goals we're definitely going to put our best foot forward to accomplish.''

Missing out on Favre clearly hurt, but Peterson barely contained his anticipation for lining up in the same offense as the Vikings' first-round pick Percy Harvin, the Florida receiver who remains unsigned at the close of day two of training camp. Especially when Harvin will be used in the Vikings' version of the Wildcat formation, where he is expected to run an option package that revolves around an opponent having the no-win assignment of defending both him and Peterson at the same time.

"Oh man, with me and him back there, and those guys (the Vikings receivers) spreading out wide, it could really be something, something scary,'' Peterson said. " I haven't seen him out here in these pads yet, but I don't have to see him in the pads. He's a guy that I feel -- and I'm not trying to put any pressure on the guy, it's just my opinion, we're all entitled -- I feel like he's a playmaker as soon as he steps on the field.''

Or as one reporter asked, does Harvin have that "Wow'' factor that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones likes to talk about?

"Yes, he's got it,'' Peterson said. "He's small, but when you see the guy, he's stocky, he's put together. His speed is tremendous. His quickness is unbelievable. He's got good hands, hand-eye coordination. All the things that you need to be a receiver.''

Another newsy nugget that Peterson shared with us was that after talking this offseason about gaining as much as 12 to 13 pounds and playing at 230 this year, he reported to camp at 220, just three more than his previous playing weight. Vikings officials had been less than thrilled at the thought of a 230-pound version of Peterson, believing it was too much weight for the two-time Pro Bowl back to carry.

"It (the weight issue) was overblown a little bit, and that's something I learned: Never talk about my weight,'' Peterson said. "Because it'll be something you hear about the whole summer. I feel like (220) is a pretty good weight, if I can stay at 220, in that range. I'm feeling good. I'm not feeling too heavy. I put on some good weight this offseason, putting on a few pounds and putting them in the right spot, my legs.''

Those numbers might have changed, but one of Peterson's personal statistical goals remains the same: He wants to log a 2,000-yard rushing season, a milestone he fell only 240 yards shy of last year.

"Is it something I think about?'' he said. "It's something I think about and dream about, but I don't focus on it, because you'll never accomplish it that way. But that's my bar. It'll always be 2,000 or more. Hopefully with the guys surrounding me, I'll be able to accomplish that one day.''

He just might. But this much we know: Favre won't be one of those guys surrounding him this year.

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