Favre finds this year's training camp excuse

Favre Needs Ankle Surgery To Play In 2010 (4:23)

Brett Favre informed he needs ankle surgery to play in 2010 (4:23)

I can see it already -- and I know you can, too.

Renowned orthopedist James Andrews tells Brett Favre he needs surgery on his left ankle if he wants to play in 2010.

Favre, who turns 41 in October, wrestles with the difficult decision of whether to have surgery or, sigh, retire. The days tick on as Favre is torn between spending his days on a tractor or earning $13 million for five month’s work in Minnesota. Finally, after much angst, Favre has surgery, begins his rehabilitation and targets, say, a mid-August test of his football skills.

Call me cynical. But does anyone believe the next few months will play out any other way?

Look, I have no doubt Favre has a legitimate injury. Anyone who saw New Orleans defensive end Bobby McCray twist the ankle during the NFC Championship Game, or saw the pictures of the ensuing swelling, knows it’s real. And it’s also true we haven’t been told the exact nature of the injury.

I spoke this morning with ESPN analyst Stephania Bell, who acknowledged that serious ankle surgeries do exist -- reconstruction among them -- and said it’s difficult to extrapolate Favre’s prognosis without more information. But Favre has had ankle surgery before, in 2007 to remove bone spurs, and I don’t think we’re making a dangerous assumption in suggesting the surgery is more likely to be routine than it is significant.

I suppose it’s possible Favre will retire rather than have surgery. Maybe this will provide him cover for a decision he’s already made not to return to Minnesota. But knowing his history, don’t you think it’s much more likely the opposite is true?

Favre spent three months “testing” his surgically repaired throwing arm last summer, and if he plans to replicate another post-training camp arrival this year, I think he’s now identified his avenue.

I will say this: If the Vikings were either caught off-guard by this revelation or if they’ve miscalculated his intentions, then they’re guilty of gross negligence at the most important position in sports.

As we’ve documented many times, they haven’t lifted a finger this offseason to add anyone at the position. Returning to a competition between two quarterbacks who flopped last summer in training camp, Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, would be indefensible in my opinion.

If there was any doubt about it before, I’ll be heading to Minnesota’s rookie minicamp Friday afternoon. I’ll pass along any information I glean -- including whether R.J. Archer or Ryan Perrilloux looks like a viable starter this season.