On the surface, this all appears to be kind of silly.
The Green Bay Packers, in the midst of one of the biggest quandaries in their long history, have decided to go on the offensive. The reasoning, method, and timing are all questionable, but their target is clear.
It's the Vikings.
Green Bay filed a tampering charge against the Vikings recently, claiming that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has had "inappropriate contact" (football related, we think) with Brett Favre.
Favre is retired, but he is still the property of the Packers, as he retired with years left on his contract. Therefore, any contact Favre has with officials from another team about the prospects of joining that team are considered against the rules.
Though it's unclear what the Packers have for evidence, they are probably alleging that Bevell and Favre, known to be good friends ever since Bevell was Favre's position coach in Green Bay, discussed the chances of Favre playing in Minnesota. The Packers' allegation, according to one report, goes so far as to claim the Vikings are the reason for Favre's sudden interest in a comeback.
Look: Favre and Bevell are friends. I would hate for NFL rules to restrict their ability to talk to each other, especially as Favre goes through a difficult time in his professional career. That said, I also understand why the league so greatly frowns on this stuff.
A few hot-button questions that I can answer:
1. Why does this rule apply to retired players? Because Favre is under contract. If you allowed teams to contact retired players from other teams, you'd have disgruntled players retiring to facilitate their own free agency. That would be a really bad thing.
2. What can happen to the Vikings? If the NFL finds them guilty, the organization could face fines or a loss of one or more draft picks.
3. Will this change the Packers strategy in this drama? Probably not. It would never have made sense to release Favre, even if you thought he would only go to the Lions. There's no reason to trade Favre until you get a stronger hint that he'll apply for reinstatement.
4. Is there any way Favre could end up with the Vikings? Not by trade. Ted Thompson would never do that. However, I do think it's possible that Favre will not apply for reinstatement until Week Six. If that happens, the Packers could very easily cut him instead of dealing with the BS and the distractions. Even if he signs with the Vikings, he's going to be at least two weeks away from jumping in as the starting QB.
Ah, soap operas. So much more fun involving sports.