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INDIANAPOLIS — Forget about Brett Favre.
In his interview with the national media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday morning, Vikings head coach Brad Childress was more interested in singing about Bat Masterson.
Don't feel bad if you've never heard of Mr. Masterson. Neither has Vikings MLB E.J. Henderson.
A further explanation is in order.
Near the end of Childress' talk, PFW senior editor Eric Edholm asked the Vikings head coach about the condition of Henderson's knee, which was severely injured late in the season in a prime-time loss to the Cardinals.
"He's coming around, walking with a cane," Childress said, before launching into the theme song from the classic TV Western series "Bat Masterson," starring the late Gene Barry.
"When I started singing, 'He wore a cane and derby hat, his name was Bat, Bat Masterson,' E.J. didn't know what the heck I was singing about. I told him to Google Bat Masterson, and the first thing he ran into was that song.
"He's no longer known as E.J. From now on he is Bat."
As for Favre, who once again is expected to keep the football world guessing as to whether or not he will return for another season at the age of 41, Childress was predictably non-committal.
"I wouldn't characterize it either way," Childress said regarding any kind of a Favre time frame. "I spoke to him on Monday and Tuesday, and he was more fixated on getting limestone put down on his mother-in-law's property. I couldn't give him any landscape architectural ideas, so it was a pretty short conversation.
"We're not going to put him in a box. There's no manual when you're 41 years old. Of course, you have to be mindful of the fact he's coming off one of his best years. Every year is different. Last year he was rehabbing from a significant surgery. I just hope he doesn't jackhammer his foot while cracking limestone."
Childress made a point of saying that the rest of the team understands and acknowledges Favre's unique situation. "They realize that there is uncertainty with everybody," he said.
Childress also specifically commented on two other key Vikings players, second-year WR-RS Percy Harvin and star RB Adrian Peterson.
Childress said Harvin, who was a bona fide threat to go the distance every time he touched the ball in his rookie season, exceeded expectations.
"He's a good football player," Childress said. "I'd be lying if I said I thought he was going to be the Offensive Rookie of the year. Obviously, his migraines were a bigger issue than we expected.
"He had a great relationship with Brett. He was all ears. He's a smart guy with a lot of abilities that a normal receiver just doesn't have."
While Peterson had no problem reaching the endzone last year, his overall production was down — compared to normal A.P. standards. That said, he remains an important offensive centerpiece.
Said Childress of Peterson, "He's fully capable of carrying whatever load and filling whatever role we give him."
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