The Vikings held their final team meeting of the 2009 season this morning at Winter Park before everyone goes their separate ways for the offseason. Following the team meeting, the players grabbed belongings from their lockers and spoke with reporters before heading out.
Most of the players were asked first about QB Brett Favre, the season he had and their thoughts on whether he’ll return. Everyone who was asked about Favre’s potential return declined to speculate. But no one was gun shy in proclaiming how much the enjoyed playing with the 19-veteran and how much they noticed he enjoyed playing the game.
“I’ve learned a ton of things about defenses and how to read different situations,” C John Sullivan said. “Most of that stuff has come from him and the coaches, so it was a great situation for me as a young player this year.
“That guy loves this sport and, like I said, it rubs off on everybody else, not that we don’t all love it, too. But he takes it to another level. He has a lot of fun out there and that allows everybody else to have fun, too.”
K Ryan Longwell, who has been teammates with Favre both in Green Bay and in Minnesota, expressed similar sentiments while speaking with reporters. Longwell also mentioned that Favre and the Vikings had an “instant chemistry” once he joined the team and that it kept getting stronger as the season progressed.
WR Bernard Berrian, who had his best game of the season on Sunday night, said that after playing with him it’s easy to see why he’s such a respected player. LB Chad Greenway, who played against Favre for a couple of seasons before Favre joined the Purple, said that however much respect he had for Favre before this season, he has “10 times” that amount now.
Other players spoke to reporters about the message that head coach Brad Childress sent to his players during the team meeting. A big part of the message was about looking forward and not holding on too long to Sunday’s loss. S Tyrell Johnson said one thing he’ll take away from this season is the positives, such as the resiliency the Vikings showed in fighting through adversity and being in position to win the NFC Championship in spite of the odds being stacked against them.
The mood is always somber on this day because it’s the final day this Vikings team will ever be together. While many players will obviously be returning in 2010, everyone in the NFL knows that nothing is guaranteed and that this is, indeed, the final time this particular Vikings team will ever be together. When you’re a 12-4 bunch that was thisclose to advancing to the Super Bowl, this day is an especially hard one to get through.
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