MINNEAPOLIS // The first game of the NFL season is less than two weeks away and the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre, their quarterback, are still trying to figure out exactly who will be catching his passes. The Vikings signed the veteran Javon Walker and acquired Greg Camarillo by trade last week to bolster a receiving corps that has lost Sidney Rice, the Pro Bowler, for eight weeks because of hip surgery.
Both of the new players made good impressions on Saturday night. Camarillo had four catches for 47 yards and Walker made an excellent catch for a 25-yard touchdown from Sage Rosenfels, the back-up quarterback, in the fourth quarter as the Vikings beat Seattle 24-13 in a pre-season game. "I don't even know how many people know my name, but it doesn't hurt to grab a couple balls and get a couple first downs," said Camarillo, who was traded from the Miami Dolphins in mid-week.
"That's how you get trust from your teammates. Hopefully they'll start believing in me." Favre completed 16 of 26 passes for 187 yards - but also had two interceptions, including one that Earl Thomas, the rookie safety, returned 86 yards for a touchdown. Favre also took a couple of big hits while playing two series into the third quarter. His interception to Thomas went in and out of the hands of Bernard Berrian.
"We've got to find out in a short period of time who can make some plays in the passing game," Favre said. Another Vikings receiver, Percy Harvin, last year's offensive rookie of the year, has been sidelined by migraine headaches. He returned on Saturday night to catch two passes for 30 yards, and also took two big hits to the head, including one that knocked his helmet off. Harvin has practiced only six times this pre-season because of recurring migraine attacks, including a bout that caused trainers to call an ambulance to practice just over a week ago.
"I did a test last night and they found some things that we think was the main cause of it," Harvin said. "We're feeling really confident. I know we said that a couple times, but I think this time we found what the main cause was. I'm not saying I'll never get a headache again, but hopefully we can slow it down a little bit." Favre, who was coaxed back for a 20th NFL season on August 18, played eight series against the Seahawks. He led the Vikings to one field goal and a touchdown, a 24-yard run by Adrian Peterson that was set up by a 73-yard kick-off return by Darius Reynaud.
Favre also lost a fumble when Chris Clemons blew past Bryant McKinnie, the left tackle, for a sack that had the 40-year-old quarterback shaking his throwing hand in pain early in the first quarter. But he remained in the game and helped the Vikings amass 242 yards of offence, but only 10 points, while he was playing. Brad Childress, the Vikings coach, called the offence "still in flux," which has to be a concern with Minnesota's opener in New Orleans looming on September 9.
* Associated Press