MANKATO, Minn. — Brett Favre's flip-flopping is at full throttle, the surest sign yet that training camp is under way in Minnesota.
Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Favre's agent, Bus Cook, said Wednesday that the veteran quarterback plans to return to the team if he is healthy. The 40-year-old Favre is still rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle that he injured in the NFC title game loss at New Orleans.
"I know it's a decision that he wrestles with," Bevell said after a morning practice as Favre was throwing the ball around with high school students in Mississippi. "He's a great player. He's a great competitor. He mulls things over. He's an emotional guy. So he thinks things through long and hard and takes his time with his decision. So I'm not surprised that things started to come out. We just have to wait and see."
A day earlier, Favre texted some teammates and Vikings officials to say that his ankle was not healing like he had hoped and that he planned to retire. Favre denied sending any such messages and there was no explanation for the discrepancy.
Bevell, who became close friends with Favre during three years as his quarterbacks coach in Green Bay, said he has spoken to Favre recently, but not in the last 24 hours. He said it's been his understanding that if Favre's ankle heals, he will return to play for the Vikings this season.
"That's what I've been getting all along," Bevell said.
Cook told The Associated Press that Favre will visit his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, next week for an evaluation.
"He's working out really hard and everything seems to indicate that if he is healthy and can contribute and play at the level that he has become accustomed to, he will play," Cook said.
The two-year, $25 million contract Favre signed last year calls for him to make $13 million this season. Cook said there have been no negotiations on any adjustments to the deal.
"If they want to reward him, nobody's going to walk away from that," Cook said. "But it's not a factor in his decision."
Outside Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss., Favre told reporters his decision is "not about the money." He also said he has been in touch with the team and "they know what's going on with me."
On Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Favre had contacted teammates and team officials to tell them his ankle was not healing well enough and that he wasn't going to return for a second season in Minnesota. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe confirmed the report, saying Favre "told a couple guys on our team he's going to retire."
Shiancoe said Wednesday he still had not heard from Favre directly and declined further comment.
The drama is nothing new for the Vikings, who have been answering questions about Favre's intentions for three years. Favre told the Vikings just before training camp last year that he was staying retired, only to change his mind and join the team before its second preseason game.
An entire advertising campaign has been built around his indecision and his teammates have become accustomed to hourly changes in his status.
"It's been about three years now I've been getting asked the Brett Favre questions," said a grinning Tarvaris Jackson, who would take over as the starter if Favre does not return. "It's kind of part of my life now. I actually might miss it."
Favre has considered retiring every summer since 2002. The famous waffling helped prompt the Packers to trade him to the Jets in 2008. After a so-so season in New York, he announced his retirement in early 2009 for the second time, then wound up signing with the Vikings.
He had one of his best seasons last year, with career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7), while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards to lead the Vikings (12-4) to an NFC North title. Most people around the NFL figured he'll come back for another run at what would be a third Super Bowl appearance.
"He is an emotional guy. He does tell you how he's feeling. He is very honest," Bevell said. "That's what I love about him and that's what a lot of people love about him. Sometimes it serves him well, sometimes it doesn't."
Like the rest of the league, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he was taking a "wait and hear" approach to the latest twist in the Favre saga.
"Brett Favre is great for our game. And I think the passion he has for the game is extraordinary," he said. "I think we all love to see him play, but we want him to do what's best for him at the end of the day."
Same goes for Drew Brees, whose Saints play the Vikings in the NFL season opener on Sept. 9.
"Haven't we all seen it before?" Brees said. "I'm not going to believe it until he doesn't walk out of the tunnel on Sept. 9."