Favre feels he’s starting over
Suddenly, in some ways, Favre feels like he’s starting all over again.
His two favorite targets—Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin—have struggled with ailments throughout the preseason. Rice had hip surgery on Monday and likely will miss the first half of the regular season while Harvin has hardly practiced because of recurring migraines.
“Not a lot different than last year as far as chemistry is concerned,” Favre said Wednesday. “It would have been nice to come in and go to bat with the guys that we finished with last year, but that is part of football. Every coach will say the same thing. Regardless of who is put in there, we have to play the same way.”
With Favre leading the way, the Vikings changed from a run-oriented offense in the first three years under coach Brad Childress into a pass-first unit that finished second in the league in scoring.
Vikings receivers caught 207 of the 377 passes completed last year, nearly all of which were thrown by Favre. When Favre stepped into the huddle in San Francisco on Sunday night, Rice and Harvin were not even in the stadium, meaning 143 of last seaon’s receptions weren’t around.
Bernard Berrian (55 catches) and Greg Lewis (eight) are the only healthy receivers on this year’s roster who caught a pass from Favre in 2009.
Harvin did practice on Wednesday for the first time since a scary collapse last week brought on by migraines. He was taken from the field in an ambulance, spent the night in the hospital and did not make the trip to San Francisco. His availability for Saturday night’s game against Seattle is in question.
The reigning rookie of the year forged a bond quickly with Favre last year, emerging as his security blanket on third down. Harvin missed one game in the regular season because of migraines and several practices in the playoffs as the Vikings marched to the NFC title game.
“Percy’s situation is kind of iffy,” Favre said. “We expect big things from him, bigger than last year. He has to take care of himself first.”
While Harvin dealt with the headaches last year, Rice’s need for surgery came as a surprise to nearly everyone. He was injured in the NFC title game loss to New Orleans, but said that doctors told him his hip would heal without surgery.
Favre said he kept in contact with Rice, who led the team with 83 catches and 1,312 yards, while he spent the summer deciding whether he should come back for a 20th NFL season.
“I really felt like at some point here in training camp he would be able to go,” Favre said. “Obviously that’s not the case. Probably like most people, I was pretty optimistic that he would be OK.”
Rice said he hopes to be back before the first half of the season ends.
The Vikings scrambled this week to add depth to a receiving corps short on experience, signing veteran free agent Javon Walker on Tuesday and trading with the Dolphins for slot receiver Greg Camarillo on Wednesday.
Walker caught passes from Favre for four years in Green Bay, but he has just 41 receptions in the last three years combined in Denver and Oakland.
Camarillo had 105 receptions for 1,165 yards and two touchdowns over the last two years in Miami.