Report: NFL security probing tampering charge vs. Vikings

Updated: July 23, 2008, 7:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The NFL's security department interviewed Minnesota Vikings officials on Tuesday regarding tampering charges the Green Bay Packers filed against their division rival over Brett Favre, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Wednesday.

The newspaper cited people with knowledge of the situation in reporting that the league's security arm had visited the Vikings' facility in Winter Park, Minn.

The Packers filed the tampering charge complaint last week, claiming "inappropriate dialogue" between the Vikings and Favre, the retired Packers quarterback who now wants to play again and wants out of Green Bay.

080702 Who Is: A Tribute To Brett Favre

NFL.com Video

Favre's former coaches and teammates share their stories and experiences with the legendary QB.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that according to a source, Favre continued to use a Packers-issued cell phone after his retirement announcement -- and that a team check of phone records showed repeated calls to Vikings coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Favre has asked to be released from his contract, a request the team has no plans to grant. The team has said it is committed to Aaron Rodgers, Favre's former understudy, as its quarterback of the future. And the Packers have reportedly been calling other NFL teams to determine what they could get in a trade for Favre.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told the Star Tribune last week that he wouldn't comment on the Packers' tampering charge, but added, "Let's put it this way, I look forward to the opening game in Green Bay."

If the Vikings are found guilty of tampering, they could face penalties including the loss of draft picks and fines.

While Favre evidently prefers to play for the Vikings, a logical trade partner appears to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bucs coach Jon Gruden once served as Favre's position coach in Green Bay and the Bucs have embraced veteran quarterbacks.

The Bucs also have been at a contract impasse with 38-year-old Jeff Garcia, who plans to report to training camp but only after missing a day or two to attend a reunion event with his father. The Bucs say it is an excused absence, but the relationship is strained.

And Bucs quarterback Chris Simms, who has said he wants out of Tampa Bay, said he was approached by team GM Bruce Allen about how Favre would fare in the team's offense with limited preparation, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

"[Allen] asked if I felt Brett would be able to come back and be good here if he didn't have a lot of reps in training camp. I said I thought he would but there would have to be some compromise with coach Gruden. He'll just want the play called and to drop back and throw it in there. But it's something we talked about."

Commissioner Roger Goodell has been briefed by Packers general manager Ted Thompson on the status of the team's approach with Favre. Sources have told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Thompson reaffirmed to the commissioner that the organization wants to "move on" without Favre. Consequently, Goodell encouraged the GM to accelerate the process by surveying teams around the league to determine if there is a trade partner, the sources said.

The commissioner made it clear to Thompson that Favre will be reinstated as an active player if he makes the request. Goodell also has spoken with Favre, the sources said, telling the veteran passer that he was willing to assist in the process, if necessary.

Several teams in the AFC and NFC confirmed they were contacted by the Packers.

Favre's contractual rights belong to the Packers until his current deal expires after the 2010 season.

ESPN football reporter Chris Mortensen contributed to this report.