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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    One step up, two steps back

    One step up, two steps back
    Vikings coach Childress faces early test of principles
    Posted: Friday August 18, 2006 1:41PM; Updated: Friday August 18, 2006 2:59PM
    Don Banks,

    Has anyone had a lousier week than the Minnesota Vikings?

    In a span of little more than 24 hours from Monday night to late Tuesday night, the Vikings lost:

    A) Their first game of the Brad Childress coaching era, falling 16-13 at home to Oakland in their 2006 preseason opener.

    B) The services of their first-round draft pick this year, linebacker Chad Greenway, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while covering a kickoff against the Raiders.

    C) And their expected No. 1 receiver, Koren Robinson, whose future with the team is in serious jeopardy after he was arrested for drunken driving and fleeing police Tuesday night near the team's Mankato, Minn., training camp base. Robinson's fate could be sealed by a year-long NFL suspension via the league's substance-abuse policy.

    Other than that, the Vikings break camp Friday with a world of momentum on their side. That's a lot of news involving No. 1's, and none of it was welcomed. Especially for a team determined to make a break from its scandal-ridden recent history, which peaked during its debacle of a '05 season.

    As much as Minnesota might miss Greenway's talents this season, the likely departure of Robinson -- by either league or team directive -- is the blow that has spawned ugly echoes of last season, when Mike Tice's coaching tenure ended amid a hailstorm of damaging headlines.

    After spending 28 days last summer in a South Carolina alcohol treatment facility, Robinson signed with the Vikings in September and went on make his first Pro Bowl as the NFC's kick returner. The former Seattle No. 1 pick appeared to be on his way to a career renaissance, and Minnesota awarded him a three-year contract extension in March, with a package that could be worth as much as $12.7 million. The Vikings at least wisely structured the deal to guard against a relapse by Robinson, paying him only about $1 million of the contract up front.

    Robinson's plight poses the first in-season test of Childress' pledge to bring a renewed sense of discipline and accountability to Minnesota, and while the league may wind up deciding Robinson's penalty in this case, you can be sure that the rest of the Vikings locker room and all of the Twin Cities is watching to see how the club's no-nonsense head coach handles this situation.

    Take this much to the bank: It won't be business as usual in Minnesota under Childress. Having lived through the hell of Terrell Owens' season of disruption in Philadelphia last year, Childress, the ex-Eagles offensive coordinator, is not about to let another team be held hostage by the irresponsible actions of its No. 1 receiver. Childress has already "excused' Robinson from all team functions, but in all likelihood he's waiting for the league to hand down its punishment first, in order to comply with the letter of the NFL's substance abuse policy and not give Robinson a potential grievance issue to file with the players union.

    How much will the loss of Robinson affect the offensive potential of a team that some -- me included -- believe will challenge Chicago for NFC North supremacy? Maybe not as much as you might think. Clearly without Robinson, the Vikings will need to depend on '05 first-round receiver Troy Williamson more than they expected. The only veteran receivers on the roster with significant track records are Travis Taylor and Marcus Robinson, both of whom are better suited to complementary roles.

    But let's not forget that this will be the Eagles' version of the West Coast offense in use in Minnesota this season, and that means plenty of short, swing passes to running backs, quick-hitting routes by receivers and tight ends, and not a ton of what you would consider a true vertical passing threat. That conservative approach was already on display Monday night against the Raiders, when Brad Johnson completed 5-of-6 passes in the first quarter, but for only 32 yards. Rookie quarterback Tavaris Jackson had seven completions in 13 attempts, but they produced just 60 yards.

    The Eagles got to the NFC title game three years in a row ('01-'03) without having a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and they still wish they hadn't deviated from that approach and signed the play-making Owens in '04, even if he did get them over the hump and into the Super Bowl that season.

    So Childress is not unfamiliar with the challenge of trying to win without a clear-cut lead receiver. He'll fall back on his talented offensive line, his Chester Taylor-led running game and let Johnson do what he does best: Methodically move the ball down the field, making wise decisions at the line of scrimmage and delivering the ball with accuracy to the open man. Childress is convinced there's a blueprint to victory in there somewhere.

    Without a doubt, it was a bad week in Minnesota. But sometimes things get worse right before they get better.

    • New England is pretty needy at linebacker and he plays linebacker, so maybe we should have seen the marriage of Junior Seau and the Patriots coming. But I think it's fair to say we can add another chapter in the retirement doesn't necessarily mean goodbye annals of professional athletes.

    Three days after Seau held a retirement announcement press conference that morphed into something akin to a revival meeting, the whole thing proved to be one big waste of time and energy when he got wooed to New England for another hurrah.

    Question: When Seau eventually does become an ex-Patriot, will all those media types in San Diego have to sit through another one of those "farewell addresses?' I know I wouldn't fall for it again.

    • And speaking of goodbyes, when did we all get absolutely so hell-bent to quantify exactly when an athlete (think Brett Favre) or a head coach (Bill Cowher) is going to retire or leave his position? We just have to know, don't we? Is it Cowher's last year in Pittsburgh? Or does he plan to fulfill both remaining years of his contract and walk away after the 2007 season?

    What's it going to be Bill, or Brett? Tell us now. Right now. We demand to know if this is the last time we're watching this, or that. After all, that means we're watching history, right? And there's no greater rush in today's culture than to cast almost everything in immediate historical perspective. Like, five minutes ago.

    Remember when we were kids playing sandlot football, and sometimes if there was a shortage of players, the quarterback hiked the ball to himself? Apparently the Browns are looking into bringing that little maneuver to the NFL this season.

    What else can they do? Three weeks into training camp, they're already on their fourth starting center. Pro Bowl pick LeCharles Bentley was lost for the season with a knee injury on the first day of camp. Veteran Bob Hallen abruptly retired due to health and personal reasons. And this week, the Browns found out third-year man Alonzo Ephraim has been suspended for the season's first four games due to a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Next up? Veteran Ross Tucker, who just recently was obtained in a trade with New England.

    I'm not wishing ill will on Tucker, but if I were him, I wouldn't be getting too comfortable atop the depth chart just yet. In Cleveland, the snap count is up to four.

    • I know the Raiders are 2-0, and they only won five games last year in the preseason and regular season combined, so they'll take whatever success they can get. But has any team ever looked less inspiring in squeaking out a perfect preseason mark?

    • All of us NFL pundits feel the compulsion to take an almost daily temperature reading of how the Bill Parcells-Terrell Owens relationship is going, and breathlessly weigh in on the topic on a regular basis.

    I'll spare you the exercise of putting them both on the couch, because all I need to know is that when Parcells talked about his hamstring-addled receiver the other day, he kept referring to him as "the player.' As in, "I don't know the player very well.'

    OK, so Parcells didn't have a Terry Glenn moment and label T.O. a "she,' but addressing Mr. Congeniality in less-than-personal terms like "the player' is probably a good indication that there's still some bonding that has to take place between them.

    • Who decided that NFL game officials needed new uniforms? Is this another one of those marketing ploys, where they're trying to sell more replica merchandise? What's next? Alternate jerseys? I guess I'm old school, because I don't like the updated stripe pattern. Give me the even black and white stripe look any day.

    • And while we're on the fashion front, I'm not high on the Vikings' new threads either. That big wide white stripe down the side makes them look like the Amsterdam Admirals or something. If they wanted to get funky in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, they should have gone back to the old purple pants with white jerseys, like Bill Brown wore. Now that's retro cool.

    • Brad Johnson and I go way back, so I think he can hear this coming from me: The crew cut look, that's just for training camp, right? If you're going to go all Johnny Unitas on us, at least find some black high-top cleats and those big bulky hip pads that No. 19 used to wear.

    • Call me crazy, but I don't think Tom Brady's on steroids. Talk about your nothing-to-it story. The only things Brady and Barry Bonds have in common are their high school alma mater and the first letter of their last name.

    • I'm just sayin', if Ben Roethlisberger hurt his throwing thumb revving the throttle of a motorcycle, there's going to be heck to pay in Pittsburgh. We're just kidding, Big Ben.

    • I'm no conspiracy theorist, but have you noticed Jerramy Stevens and Joey Porter now will both wind up missing some action this preseason due to knee injuries?

    • It's a very inopportune time for Lions receiver Charles Rogers to be missing Detroit's second preseason game with a knee injury. Come final cut-down day, Motown may no longer be Mr. Rogers' neighborhood.

    • Domanick Davis and his lingering knee injury sure isn't helping the good folks of Houston forget about Reggie Bush and what might have been. But then, they really weren't going to any time soon, were they?

    • The Chiefs had 111 yards of offense and scored zero points against the Giants in losing 17-0 at the Meadowlands Thursday night. Al Saunders isn't going to gloat, but after being bypassed for the K.C. head coaching job in favor of Herman Edwards, I'm guessing the Redskins' new assistant head coach/offense went to sleep with at least a small smile on his face Thursday when thinking of Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson.

    • Put me down for the following call: If he stays healthy, Ravens running back Musa Smith will out-produce his backfield mate Jamal Lewis this season. Smith has young, fresh legs. Lewis, not so much.

  2. #2
    DCPologirl is offline Team Alumni
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    Dec 1969

    Re: One step up, two steps back

    doom and gloom .........and then I read the end of the article

    DCPologirl:Maybe Randy will make Aaron Brooks look better......roflmao Del Rio: I guarantee he will

  3. #3
    Json is offline GM
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    Dec 1969

    Re: One step up, two steps back

    I like how he not only says that he as well as others thinks the Vikes will make a strong push for the NFC North crown, but how the loss of Robinson shouldn't cause as big of issues as you would think.
    I feel the same way and hope the Vikes can move forward with him.
    I personally think they'll be fine.

    To Bad I won't be able to see the game on t.v this weekend.
    Thats truly disappointing.

  4. #4
    Json is offline GM
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    Dec 1969

    Re: One step up, two steps back

    Correction on my post above....WITHOUT him is what I meant to say, not with.
    I'm sure you smart Purple Pride members know what I meant but hey just in case I had to correct it

  5. #5
    gregair13's Avatar
    gregair13 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969
    Edmonton, AB

    Re: One step up, two steps back

    And while we're on the fashion front, I'm not high on the Vikings' new threads either. That big wide white stripe down the side makes them look like the Amsterdam Admirals or something. If they wanted to get funky in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, they should have gone back to the old purple pants with white jerseys, like Bill Brown wore. Now that's retro cool.
    i like the new jerseys but retro is the old/new cool
    We're bringing purple back.

  6. #6
    Christie's Avatar
    Christie is offline Starter
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    Dec 1969

    Re: One step up, two steps back

    Things really couldn't get worse could they? Lets keep a positive outlook for the rest of the season

  7. #7
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
    BadlandsVikings is offline Jersey Retired
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    Apr 2006

    Re: One step up, two steps back

    "Christie" wrote:
    Things really couldn't get worse could they? Lets keep a positive outlook for the rest of the season
    The season hasn't even started yet, every team has their injury problems.

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