ESPN Insider excerpt on Brad Childress hiring
By Jeremy Green
After the Chiefs, no team is as poised for a quicker turnaround than the Vikings. New owner Zigi Wilf knew what he wanted and went out and got it. In new head coach Brad Childress, the Vikings landed the most detail-oriented coach of all the candidates this offseason.
Childress is a disciple of the West Coast offense, and a lot of the pieces are in place to make the offense go. Starting QB Daunte Culpepper has played in a form of this offense under head coaches Dennis Green and Mike Tice. Although Childress is more apt to run the offense's original version, many of the concepts and terminology will be similar. Culpepper's backup, Brad Johnson, likely will begin the season as the starter due to Culpepper's knee injury. Johnson played in this exact system in Tampa Bay, so his learning curve will be minuscule.
Offensively, Minnesota will need to find a running back who fits the West Coast offense. The Vikings have a plethora of backs, but Michael Bennett is an unrestricted free agent, Onterrio Smith is coming off a one-year ban and Mewelde Moore is injury-prone. Look for Minnesota to try to find a back in the mold of Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook to complete the offense.
On defense, Childress hired one of the brightest young stars in the NFL when he lured Tampa Bay defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin to Minnesota. Tomlin will coordinate a defense with a lot of players who fit his system.
Up front, Pat Williams is a perfect fit at nose tackle. With Williams eating up blocks, it will free up Kevin Williams to become a Warren Sapp-type playmaker.
Some upgrades will need to be made at linebacker. In Tomlin's system, E.J. Henderson might be a better fit on the strong side than in the middle.
In the secondary, DC Antoine Winfield will make a smooth transition. Despite his lack of size, Winfield is as physical as they come.
Although all the parts aren't in place, this is a talented team with a disciplined head coach. Look for the Vikes to make a quick turnaround and challenge in the NFC North.
"From the fury of the Northmen, O Lord, save us!"
-- From a monestary in Ireland.