The end is here.
No, that’s not meant to sound prophetic, apocalyptic or ominous by any means. For Vikings fans, it’s meant to sound joyous. The Brad Childress era has reached it’s conclusion and for that, we should celebrate with a very tiny bottle of champagne. Really tiny.
By Peter Christian
The celebration can’t get out of hand, however, since the Vikings are in fact 3-7 and a complete disappointment in 2010.
The exodus of Childress from Winter Park marks the end of a period in which the Vikings were one of the most frustrating NFL teams to watch in terms of gameplan, preparation and management. During the five seasons that Chili held the reigns as the Vikings head coach the team was extremely predictable and unbearably conservative. It wasn’t until last season when Brett Favre forcibly removed the restraints from Childress’ offense and led to a huge offensive year and a run to the NFC Championship Game.
Though, it was in that NFC Championship Game when a massive management mistake cost the Vikings field position and forced the team to look to pass one more time. Of course, the play in question is the infamous “12 men in the huddle” penalty which pushed the Vikings out of range to attempt the winning field goal and caused them to call a pass, which of course was intercepted and led to the Vikings losing in overtime. Brad Childress admitted that snafu was his own fault and was simply the biggest example his poor in-game management skills as a head coach.
Additionally, the Vikings lose a punchline of a coach who was regularly made to look foolish by the NFL’s instant replay challenge system. He would consistently make the wrong decision when it came to throwing the red flag or holding on to it (in 2010, see: Andrew Quarless touchdown and Brandon Tate reception).
However, play-calling, challenging, preparing and managing games aside, this Minnesota Vikings team isn’t suddenly without flaws simply because the regularly befuddled head coach has been given his walking papers.
The 2010 Minnesota Vikings are a team that has talent in certain areas but has been hamstrung by it’s lack of healthy elite talent at the receiver and defensive back positions and as a result both the offense and defense have been forced into some tough personnel decisions. On top of that is the effort issue which has been a question many times this season. It could be argued that the team’s effort was a result of not caring for their coach, but the counter to that excuse is that a player of high character would never let his feelings for his coach affect his performance during a game. Whatever the reason is, the Vikings have a roster of players that either have effort issues or character issues.
Looking beyond 2010, the Vikings have 17 pending free agents and a few key position groups to focus on. At the top of that list is quarterback. Brett Favre has said this is his last season (I believe him this time) and Tarvaris Jackson would need to start impressing the organization and fans quickly to be brought back (unlikely) which means the only quarterback the Vikings are going to have for sure next year is rookie QB Joe Webb, who hasn’t sniffed the field yet.
This all adds up to be one variable heavy equation for the Vikings in 2011. Questions about the head coach’s longevity, the rest of the staff, an expected massive roster turnover and a major change at the team’s premier leadership position, quarterback, all combine to make next season a big question mark.
Of course this all goes without mentioning the looming work stoppage due to the the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring after this season, which will have a major effect on how the Vikings approach their staffing issues.
The firing of Brad Childress was definitely justified, but it’s only the first step in returning “Purple Pride” to the organization and helping the fans get over the cynicism that having Brad Childress as a head coach has spawned.Follow paulmbanks