EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- You always wonder what NFL coaches are doing this time of year. With draft preparations in their final and highest gear, are they feverishly re-watching film? Debating last-minute changes in the draft board? Compiling depth charts based on multiple outcomes?
I can tell you what Minnesota's Brad Childress was doing Monday: Sending cell phone pictures to his once and perhaps future starting quarterback. Speaking at a pre-draft news conference Tuesday, Childress said he spoke with Brett Favre by phone Monday and told him that Minnesota is "so green and warm" right now that "you almost think you're next to the equator."
To prove his point, Childress snapped a photo of the Vikings' practice field from outside his office window and sent it via text message to Favre.
"He told me he was spraying weeds yesterday." Childress said, proving he has perfected the art of deflecting Favre questions. "I didn't ask if was DDT, RID, or whatever they spray weeds with down there. He seems to be doing well."
If Childress' true intent was to gain some clarity from Favre before the draft, Childress wasn't saying. He admitted he texted Favre on Tuesday to let him know the Vikings' season will start Sept. 9 at New Orleans but said Favre doesn't need any extra enticement to play this season.
"There's no sense in killing an ant with a sledgehammer," Childress said.
Unless convinced otherwise, I'll continue to believe that Favre will play in 2010 and that the Vikings have been reasonably certain of it for some time. I also believe that fact has little to do with whether Minnesota drafts a quarterback at some point this week.
I continue to be intrigued by the two-day trip Childress, vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and other team officials made to Gainesville, Fla., on April 9. Childress spoke at a coaches' convention and then spent much of that evening meeting with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. The Vikings contingent then worked out Tebow and a number of other Florida players the next morning.
Childress spoke highly of Tebow's workout and said his intangibles rated as "aces".
"I thought he did a good job in the things we asked him to do at 8 a.m. Saturday morning," Childress said. "He was a willing soul. ... You couldn't kill him. You couldn't beat him down. We worked hard at trying to look at every throw we could look at."
Like many coaches, Childress has been gushing about Tebow's leadership and character since the scouting combine. Although there are some lingering questions about Tebow's aptitude to be an NFL quarterback, Childress said: "There's a lot of different ways to win. He's willed a lot of different teams to a win. Whether it's handing it to someone, throwing it to someone, running it. There's a lot of different ways to do that."
A few schools of thought come to mind when a coach isn't shy about expressing interest in a draft-eligible player. Among them:
The coach is helping his personnel department create the public impression of interest, increasing the team's leverage if trade talks occur.
The coach is hoping the speculation masks interest in another player, perhaps one of the other Gators player who worked out with Tebow. Center/guard Maurkice Pouncey, for example, was my pick for the Vikings in our award-winning NFL Blog Network mock draft.
Tebow should be available when the Vikings pick No. 30 overall. At this point, I can't hazard a guess as to what they actually plan to do. Spielman said Tuesday that he's confident the Vikings will get one of four players he's targeted for the pick. I wouldn't be surprised if Tebow is one of them. But I'm not yet convinced. See? I'm not the only one in these parts who refuses to provide clarity.