It was an odd day at Winter Park, where a security guard patrolled a rooftop and the cops did their best to keep the traffic in front of the Vikings facility moving.
There went Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels onto the practice field, taking turns running the Vikings offense while a plane carrying Brett Favre and three teammates was heading north.
The two quarterbacks looked unbothered as they worked -- Jackson lofting a rainbow to Percy Harvin down the right sideline, Rosenfels finding Toby Gerhart between a pair of linebackers -- but it was hard not to wonder what they were thinking beneath their helmets.
"Honestly, I really don't care," Jackson said of his teammates, Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson and Ryan Longwell, flying down to Hattiesberg, Miss., to bring Favre back to Minnesota. "I feel like if my number is called I'll be ready, and I'm going to continue to try and work hard and get better. That's all I can do. My teammates, that's their prerogative. I can't really control that. I'm just going to do my part."
Last summer, Jackson and Rosenfels battled for the Vikings starting quarterback job, only to see Favre join the team two days after the Vikings' first preseason game. This summer, after weeks of speculation and shell games, Favre rejoined the Vikings -- two days after the team's first preseason game. Favre's return makes the Vikings a better team and gives the National Football League another juicy storyline, but you had to feel for Jackson and Rosenfels on Tuesday, living through the cruelest of Groundhog Days.
"I think the guys have acted like pros," Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said of Rosenfels and Jackson. "I know it's not an easy situation for them, but they've come to work every day, competed like it could be their job, and they haven't really worried about that. When [Favre] came in [last year] they were very supportive of him. They helped him during the games and tried to gain as much as they could that could help their game improve. There was a lot of give and take there."
Added Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who is close to Jackson: "I don't know how he's feeling about it. It's not like [Favre] is just some quarterback that they're bringing in. It's Favre. He's been in the league 20 years. From a competitive standpoint, there's not much you can really say about it. He's a proven guy, a Super Bowl quarterback, and he's Brett Favre."
Peterson said he expected Favre to be welcomed back by a team he led to a 12-4 season last year, and few doubt that he will be. Favre threw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns in what was one of the best seasons of his career and helped guide Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game. The Vikings want to a win a Super Bowl. Favre, even on the doorstep of 41 years old, gives them the best chance to do so.
Still, it was a strange day in another strange summer for the Vikings, who sweated through training camp in Mankato, Minn., as another Favre drama played out. Two weeks ago, he was done, felled by a bad ankle. Then, of course, he was back.
As Jackson and Rosenfels called plays, Favre was on a jet with Allen, Hutchinson and Longwell, each a friend of Favre and each a leader of his respective unit. When Favre arrived to the practice facility in the passenger seat of Longwell's black BMW SUV, more than 100 fans were standing across the street cheering. They flashed smiles and took pictures and said that Favre was forever young. A press conference was scheduled for Wednesday, but tight end Visanthe Shiancoe took to his Twitter page.
"Circus in Winter Park," he wrote.
Surely, not every Vikings quarterback enjoyed the show.