When Sage Rosenfels returns to Reliant Stadium on Monday night as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, it might be a nice reprieve for what has been a tough offseason for the former Texans backup.
Rosenfels, 31, was traded to Minnesota in February for a fourth-round draft pick. For a while, it looked like the change of scenery might give the eight-year veteran his long-awaited chance to be a starter. A competition with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson was the only thing standing between Rosenfels and the keys to a team that was viewed as being a quarterback away from Super Bowl contender status last season.
Then, sometime around June, the Brett Favre talk started. Was Favre coming out of retirement? Did the Vikings want him? What would happen to their other quarterbacks if they did? How did the rest of the Vikings players feel about it? Was there a deadline for him to sign? Did the deadline pass?
It was all over ESPN, all over the newspapers, all over the radio waves – all the time. Finally, Favre signed with the Vikings on Aug. 18, three days before their second preseason game.
Rosenfels admitted it has been a distraction.
"It's always a little bit difficult to focus on work when all these other things are going on," he said. "But I realized that all I really can control in my NFL career is how I play, and as soon as you start worrying about what everyone thinks, it's going to affect your play negatively. So I really try to focus on football and trying to do the best I can when I'm out there for practice, in meetings or lifting weights."
Amid the Favre hoopla, Rosenfels was working on moving with his family from Houston to Minneapolis; learning a new offense; and meeting new teammates and learning their intricacies, like how Bernard Berrian runs his routes versus Percy Harvin.
"It really wasn't much of an offseason for me, compared to most offseasons where you stay on the same team," Rosenfels said.
Now that the offseason is coming to an end, Rosenfels is coming right back to where he spent the past three seasons backing up David Carr (2006) and Matt Schaub (2007-08). He's looking forward to his return, despite the fact that he doesn't know how much he'll play on Monday night.
When asked whether he wishes he were still with the Texans, Rosenfels said he tries not to think about "what ifs" and instead looks forward and prepares for whenever the Vikings need him. He did, however, say that he wasn't sure which team's offense suits him better.
"I'm just trying to run every play the way Coach (Brad) Childress is teaching us to run it," he said. "I'm just trying to execute the offense as much as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed playing in Coach (Gary) Kubiak's offense. Obviously, the importance of the run game and the play action was phenomenal. The bootleg stuff took advantage of my ability to throw on the run. Every offense has its strengths and weaknesses. I'm just trying to execute this offense as best as possible.
"There is more than one way to skin a cat. The key is just knowing the strengths and weaknesses of every play."
Rosenfels noticed some new defensive schemes while watching film of the Texans this week. He said that he thinks new defensive coordinator Frank Bush is going to lead the defense to improvement over last season.
And as for Favre, the media says there's a "schism" in the Vikings' locker room because of him. But according to Rosenfels, there's not even a schism between he and the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
"Brett and I have gotten along really well," he said. "Obviously, he's played twice as long as I have. We both have seen a lot of things in our day, and he's got a pretty good feel for the offense, but there are some changes from what he was used to in Green Bay. Our lockers are about three down from each other, and I think we have pretty good conversations."