Vikings still seething from Saints' 'dirty' hits on Favre

by | Senior Writer

MANKATO, Minn. -- That ankle that's bothering Brett Favre and that might keep him from returning ... any idea how it got hurt in the first place? Don't ask the Minnesota Vikings.

Coaches are still seething over Favre's treatment by New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game, one the Vikings lost and one where Favre injured his ankle. The Vikings could handle that if ... well, if they didn't believe New Orleans went out of its way to sideline Favre.

But they do. And they're hot.

"Did you think they targeted him," I asked coach Brad Childress.

"Yeah," he said, "as I look through it, yes. As I look at 13 different clips ... as I looked at it, yes. I talk about hitting the quarterback every week, [saying things like] this guy is a different guy if you hit him, if you make him move his feet. But I just felt if you go back and look at that thing, it was whatever ... whatever, whoever, I just know they orchestrated some things that aren't within our rules.

"I don't know if Brett ever looked at it, but we looked at it. I had one of my defensive linemen tell me that, 'Coach, that's what they had; they were going after him. Just like you saw the week before with [Kurt] Warner."

Childress said he hadn't spoken to anyone with the Saints since the loss but might seek out coach Sean Payton before the two teams play in the Sept. 9 opener. If he does, look for him to have company on the Saints' sidelines. One Minnesota assistant said he was so furious that he intends to confront defensive coordinator Gregg Williams prior to the game to express his outrage.

Like Childress, he said he thought New Orleans' intention was to hurt Favre, and welcome to the club. There are players on the Vikings who haven't forgotten what happened to their quarterback and are certain it wasn't an accident.

"You agree with [Childress] that the Saints went after him?" I asked running back Adrian Peterson.

"I think they did," he said. "In a sense, I look at it and say, 'Hey, it's football.' But I look at two or three plays where I was like, 'OK, now, those were some dirty shots.' My boy [Darren] Sharper, I got so much respect for him and love for him, but there was one [hit] that was so obvious where he came in and hit Brett real late, it got me hot. But, yeah, they definitely tried to hurt him. They definitely went out of their way."

Defensive end Jared Allen wasn't so sure, cutting the Saints slack because injuries happen in a game as violent as pro football. He didn't exactly excuse them, but he didn't accuse them, either.

"You know what?" he said. "It is what it is. It is a rough game. Yeah, you look back, and they had some shots. They had a game plan, and it was to take Brett out of the game. But, like I said, it is what it is."

I'll tell you what it is -- just another reason to tune in to the season opener, especially if Favre is there.


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