Posted on Thu, Mar. 30, 2006

[size=18px]Vikings' Childress thinks McNabb will bounce back[/size]

By PAUL DOMOWITCH
[email protected]


ORLANDO, Fla. - Shortly before booking Daunte Culpepper on a one-way cruise to Miami earlier this month, Vikings coach Brad Childress had a brief chat with the quarterback.

Culpepper informed Childress that he was a $10 million quarterback and wanted to be paid accordingly. Childress showed him his ugly 2005 statistics and told him they didn't add up to $10, let alone $10 million.

"This is a what-have-you-done-for-us-lately business," the former Eagles offensive coordinator said. "I mean, nobody in Philadelphia is talking about their ['04] Super Bowl run or what a great year that was. They're talking about last year."

Which brings us to Donovan McNabb. Two years ago, he was the prince of the city, leading the Eagles to their first conference championship in 25 years and becoming the first player in NFL history to throw more than 30 touchdown passes and fewer than 10 interceptions.

Then came last year's nightmare and the Terrell Owens soap opera, and the sports hernia, and that game-costing, what-was-he-thinking interception against the Cowboys, and the questions about his leadership ability, and the whispers that he had lost the locker room.

Childress talked to McNabb last week. Came away from the phone conversation feeling pretty confident that the quarterback will be able to put last season's adversity behind him and be all that he can be.

"He's a prideful guy," Childress said. "He's fully aware of all the things that were said about him last year, whether it was teammates or whether it was [newspaper] articles, whatever it was. He doesn't have his head in the sand.

"From that standpoint, I think he'll come in with a chip on his shoulder and know that he's got to re-establish himself on the field.'

Does he need to re-establish himself off the field? Does he need to regain the respect of his teammates? Did he lose the locker room last year with the passive way he handled the Owens mess'. Childress said if he did, he didn't see it.

"I didn't feel that,' he said. "I didn't sense that. You lose the locker room because you don't play good game after game, week after week. [McNabb's] got a pretty good [performance] track record. I think that [losing the locker room stuff] was overblown.'

Childress admitted he was a little surprised by McNabb's Super Bowl-week venting about Owens. But he viewed it more as closure than a guy unable to put it behind him.

"Maybe it gives everybody an idea of just how much it stuck in his craw,' he said. "But I think he's got it in the rearview mirror now and is ready to go forward.'

Running man

Asked yesterday how much he plans to run the ball now that he's running his own ship in Minnesota, Brad Childress said, "About 60 times a game."

The former Eagles offensive coordinator was joking, of course. But he said he likely will run more than his mentor, Andy Reid. "I think you have to run it a lot in this division," Childress said, referring to the NFC North.

"That's how we've set up the offensive line. You've got to let those guys pound on people for a while before you ask them to step back [and pass-protect]. Take [the defensive players] and shake them. Knock them around and kind of take their will away a little bit."

Beware of the Birds

Don't include Redskins coach Joe Gibbs among the people who think the rest of the NFC East has passed the Eagles by. "I tell you that Philly, you watch that Philly come back," he said. "The quarterback is healthy and that defense will knock you around."

Vikings' Childress thinks McNabb will bounce back