They did it without Favre participating in a training camp practice or offseason workout, something that amazed many who follow football and figured the entire team would explode if a veteran player got that kind of special treatment.
The schism never developed, and the Vikings know they can do it again. They haven't made an impact in free agency, losing Chester Taylor to the Bears and Artis Hicks to Washington while failing to reel in LaDainian Tomlinson, who signed with the Jets.
But they don't need to make an impact in free agency. Assuming Favre returns, they'll have all their starters back from last year (unless you count part-time starter Hicks). Sidney Rice is still a star in the making. Steve Hutchinson's shoulders are going to be all fixed up. Bryant McKinnie promises to show up and actually try, unlike Pro Bowl Week.
HELLO! They have Adrian Peterson!
Oh, and Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, and the still-not-suspended Williams Wall make a hell of a defensive line.
Anyway, the only question mark now is Favre, unless you've given up on him and just assume he's coming back. Then there's no question at all.
The Vikings are still playing coy if they actually know anything about Favre's status besides the perpetual "maybe" that seems to hover over him like a cloud until he actually plays again. Favre apparently tried to sell Tomlinson on the Vikings while telling him he didn't know what he was going to do. Favre told Jay Leno he didn't know what he was going to do.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is towing the company line on the situation, which is good, because it's his company and all.
"There were a lot of people who questioned us last year both with the decision of bringing him on board and him coming on so late, but it turned out to be a great decision," Wilf said on the second day of the NFL owners meetings at the Ritz-Carlton. "We're looking forward to having him come back this year. We understand it could work either way, but certainly with the team that we have I would expect that he and everyone else is excited to come back to fight for a championship again."
I'd be shocked if Favre eventually didn't come back, as he's finally found a team that will let him
This won't be any kind of a problem unless the team magically stops winning. If that were to happen, you'd start reading a bunch of stories about how guys really aren't pleased that they slogged through those weeks of offseason workouts and hot summer practices in FREAKING MANKATO while this chap sat on his tractor and threw footballs to high school kids (not simultaneously).
Naturally, those "guys" would be "members of the team who wish to remain anonymous," but as soon as the team wins again, they'll all stand around Favre and sing "Pants on the Ground" like everybody is really happy.
That's how it works. Even the Favre-starved (or is it "Favre-stavred"?) media will leave the team alone if they're winning. Favre storylines aren't nearly as juicy, but his name still moves the needle, and that's all they care about. They're glad to stick their nose in the controversy -- and even help create one -- but they're not so stupid as to try to create one when the team is 13-1. It's easier and usually more effective when they're 7-7.