EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Brett Favre skipped a full summer of workouts and the two most grueling weeks of training camp practices while trying to decide if he could make it through a 19th season in the NFL.
Ever since he signed with the Minnesota Vikings last week, the 39-year-old has openly admitted it will likely take time to earn the respect of his teammates and assimilate into a locker room that had been working with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.
Having Adrian Peterson in his corner certainly should make that process easier.
The All-Pro running back was quiet during the first three days of the Favre Circus last week. Was that a sign he was unhappy with the move?
Hardly. Peterson says he is one of Favre's biggest fans.
"There's just a love I have for him and how he plays the game," Peterson said. "I play the game the same way."
Favre and Peterson play different positions and have relied on different skill sets to achieve elite status in the NFL, but there are plenty of similarities.
Favre has won three MVP awards and a Super Bowl ring thanks in large part to a tenacity on the field and a refusal to give up even when a play is breaking down right in front of him.
In two brilliant seasons since coming out of Oklahoma, Peterson has never met a sideline he didn't try to avoid. Lowering his shoulder, initiating contact and fighting for an extra two or three yards is the only way he knows.
There is a kinship there, and it hasn't taken long for the two stars to recognize that.
They are neighbors in the locker room at team headquarters, and Peterson has wasted little time getting to know the man he has been watching "since I was in elementary school."
"To get to sit there and chitchat with Brett Favre, it's fun," Peterson said after practice on Wednesday. "He's a good guy. I was a fan of his for a long time and still am. I'm definitely taking advantage of it."
Favre's presence behind center is expected to free up more room for Peterson, who led the NFL in rushing last season despite often seeing seven or eight defenders crowding the line of scrimmage. In turn, Peterson will no doubt make things easier on Favre, who has never had such a talented runner behind him. That should prevent him from having to throw too much and reduce the risk of injury to an arm that will turn 40 in October.
"You got Adrian Peterson, who is the most dynamic running back in football, who is going to rush for as many yards as he wants to," Favre said after his first preseason game on Friday night. "But, you know, sometimes you have to pass."
The Vikings couldn't do that well enough last season, and Jackson and Rosenfels both struggled with injuries and inconsistency early in training camp before Favre arrived.
So Favre is getting a crash course in his teammates' tendencies and abilities. The next preseason game comes Monday night at Houston, with the regular-season opener set for Sept. 13 at Cleveland.
If some players are unhappy that Favre is taking the job away from Jackson or Rosenfels, coach Brad Childress said, "I haven't seen anything close to that."
"I don't expect those guys to like it. But I expect them to deal with it and go forward," Childress said. "And by and large, that's exactly what's happening."
Peterson has grown close to Jackson in his first two seasons in the league, and said he knows his friend will not take Peterson's support of Favre personally.
"That doesn't change anything now that Brett's starting now," Peterson said. "I still support (Jackson). Keep his head up. As a professional player, he'll handle it the best way."
This is Favre's team now, something that was made abundantly clear by the thousands of purple No. 4 jerseys in the Metrodome stands on Friday night, just three days after the longtime Green Bay Packer signed with archrival Minnesota.
So how will Peterson, who has been the main attraction here for his first two seasons in the league, handle sharing the spotlight?
"The fans love me. I love them," Peterson said with a big smile. "They won't forget about me."