Vikings follow a tried-and-true path
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Posted: January 18, 2006
I would imagine the general reaction of most people to the Vikings' hiring Brad Childress as head coach was, "Who?" Childress was the offensive coordinator for an Eagles team that enjoyed a lot of success, but he worked quietly in the shadow of coach Andy Reid, who called the plays and commanded the spotlight in Philadelphia.
Which makes Childress perfect for Minnesota. In fact, I'd say that when Zygi Wilf fired Mike Tice and hustled to lock up Childress before the Packers could nab him, he got his Andy Reid.
When the Eagles hired Reid in 1999, he was a relatively unknown quarterbacks coach with Green Bay. And that's what Wilf needs right now, a bright coach with a clean slate. Because if there's any franchise that demands a fresh start, it's the Vikings. (Need I remind you of the Love Boat?)
Childress shares other qualities with Reid beyond his initial anonymity. There's the playbook Reid learned under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay. Childress, who was heavily involved in game plans and served as Reid's eyes and ears from the coaches box during games, will make good use of that championship-proven playbook with Minnesota.
Childress also shares Reid's philosophy about coaching players. If you go to an Eagles practice, you almost never hear a coach raise his voice. The Eagles rarely correct players on the field; their goal is to run as many plays as possible. If a coach stops a play to explain what someone did wrong, it breaks the flow of practice. Do that enough times and players start to lose interest.
Instead, Reid and his staff do their instruction in the film room and classroom. They're teachers more than drill sergeants or motivators. They give players sound schemes to use and clear messages on how to improve technical performance. I much prefer coaches who teach rather than scream and shout or make fancy speeches.
That's not Childress' style. He won't dazzle anybody with his fiery oratory. But he will give his players a fair shake. He and his staff, which already is shaping up nicely, will teach them what they need to know. He will put them in position to win. And perhaps above all, he'll be the face of a franchise that needs to start over.
Childress wasn't a flashy hire, but he was the right one.