From Brad Childress's first press conference
Q: Do you have a coaching staff in mind?
A: I do. I am going to talk to the Vikings assistants here possibly later today, but more probably in the middle of next week. But yes, I have some people earmarked.
Q: You played this Vikings team last year in the playoffs. Coming into next season do you feel like they are just a couple players away from being where they wanted to be?
A: I think anymore in this league it is not hard to make a jump fast. I know by playing them in the Monday Night Football game and playing them in the playoffs we were scared of them. We thought they were a talented football team in a lot of different areas. They are talented in the defensive line, the wide receivers scared us, we thought they had an offensive line that could move some people and obviously a franchise quarterback. They have got some players here and we'll augment those players with the players we sign.
Q: How quickly do you plan to talk to the players and in particular Daunte Culpepper?
A: I talked to Jermaine (Wiggins) coming in the door and I talked to Donovan (McNabb) this morning who forwarded me Daunte's phone number. He has been trying to get a hold of him, but unsuccessfully right now. (I am going to try to talk to everybody) just as soon as I can. That is the important thing.
Q: Do you plan to continue the West Coast offense?
A: Yeah, and I think that is overused. I think what West Coast allows you to do is be able to use your talent. Whether it is two tight ends and one back, two wide receivers, or if you feel like you want to stick four wide receivers out on the field I think we have the flexibility to do that.
Q: Will you call the plays or will you hire an offensive coordinator?
A: We will have a coordinator, but I'll call the plays. Usually you do that in conjunction with the coordinator which is what I did in Philadelphia. I called about the last five or six games of the season. It goes back and forth. If you are stuck in a rut and somebody is seeing something you don't see, usually there is a give and take of information.
Q: When this process started did you ever think you would just talk to one team?
A: I think much the same as these guys, they knew what they were looking for and I knew what I was looking for. In my mind out of these jobs that are open in the NFL this is the plum job in the National Football League, without a doubt, hands down.
You can talk to nine out of 10 people and they are going to tell you that. It fit, they showed how committed they are to wanting to win and that is important that they have a passion as well as the people here in Minnesota.
Q: Why is this the ideal job?
A: Because I don't think that they are that far away. I think that personnel lends itself to having success in a hurry.
Q: Can you explain what your expectations are for the players on and off the field?
A: I would rather go forward. I mentioned to you that we are not looking back we are going forward. The most important thing to me is that people do the right thing. From a very early age you learn what is right and what is wrong. My kids have heard this speech from me several times, if it is good for you and it is right do it then do it with great vigor and great enthusiasm. If it is bad for you you had better jump away from it like it is hot lava and you had better head the other direction. I just expect guys to do the right thing.
Q: In terms of going forward, what did you learn from the Terrell Owens situation that you can bring here?
A: What I learned first of all is that Terrell is a tremendously talented young man and I had no problems with Terrell on or off the field. But I learned that it is about the team, the team, the team, the team, the team. And we learned painfully.
Q: Talking about the offense, Brad Johnson and Daunte Culpepper...
A: You know that there is nothing for sure in this league, but I have coached Daunte and Brad in Pro Bowls and they both bring different things to the table. I can give you kind of the pecking order. We saw Daunte Culpepper work out first and I thought I would never see another workout like that as long as I lived, that has to be the number one pick in the draft. The next workout was Donovan McNabb. I thought I'd never see a workout like the one I saw and I just saw another one at Syracuse that was mind boggling. We went out and saw Akili Smith and he had an outstanding workout. We went out and saw Tim Couch. In my mind we got the number one player and again Daunte was a very close second. He fits right into all the things that we'll do. In talking with the doctors, I had a chance to check this out during the course of the interview where he is at with Dr. Andrews. He has made significant, significant progress in just six weeks.
Q: So you think Daunte Culpepper can succeed in the West Coast offense?
A: Yeah, I believe he can. Yes.
Q: Can you walk us through the interview process?
A: First of all, these guys are rather persistent. I had just gotten the last player out of my office at about one o'clock from the exit interviews on Monday. Andy (Reid) had mentioned to me that morning that they had done their due diligence and faxed the paperwork so he said, "You are probably going to be hearing from them." No sooner had the last guy walked out of my door and there was a conference call on the other end. They said, "This is the Wilfs, Mark and Zygi. We would like to get to know you." I said, "I would like to get to know you too. I have a couple things I have to take care of. I just had a last player leave my office. How about Wednesday?" Then they said, "We were thinking more like dinner tonight." I said, "Dinner tonight? What do you want to know how I hold my fork or if I knock the water over?" They said, "No, we just want to get to know you." So, again they were rather persistent. I had to put some things together, get home to shower and shave and have Kyle (my son) run me to the airport. The next thing I know it is 7:30 and here we are sitting across from each other. That went rather late and then continued on Tuesday with Coach (Bud) Grant. That is when I got a chance to sit down and talk with him a little bit and it continued on. Then as I got on Wednesday to start to head to Green Bay they wanted to do a second series of interviews and wanting to do a good job here without leaving this place I stayed so that we could go through that next wave and that is how it moved along.
Q: Bud (Grant) is highly regarded in this community, what can you take from his time here to use towards your new position?
A: Well, I didn't have to walk in the room. He walked in the room and I was already in there, so that is sometimes a little bit easier. But you can tell that there are a lot of things that go through his mind. We got a chance to sit one-on-one in my hotel room for a half-hour and exchange some thoughts. What I saw is a guy who is enjoying his life after coaching. I think he will be a great resource for me if I need to go down to the end of the hall and speak to him, but there is just a wealth of knowledge there that I know if I ever need to tap into he will be happy to share with me. And from what he said he is not going to give me any free advice. He knows football coaches get a lot of that already.
Q: What is your role in personnel, the draft and those types of issues?
A: We have talked through that and as you know we need to get a personnel guy, but it is always a collective effort with your with the college scouts, with the pro scouts, with your salary cap people and with ownership. Decisions don't get made in a vacuum, they get made together. So I think that that is important and everybody understands that as we go forward.
Q: Do you have any concern that you don't know who the personnel person will be?
A: There is not a concern because I believe that I'll be involved with the process as we go forward.
Q: What did you learn from Andy Reid on how to run a team?
A: The biggest thing with Andy is that he had a plan. He was very methodical about each and every step. Nothing was too small to pay attention to, whether it was the paint on the walls or the carpet on the floor. We are trying to change a culture into a winning culture and that as I have mentioned has to do with everybody within this great organization.
Q: Talking about Ted Cottrell...
A: I haven't had a chance to sit down and speak with him yet and I will hold comments until I get a chance to sit down and speak with him.
Q: How long you think it will take for the players to learn the offense and what kind of defense do you want to play?
A: I have an idea of both. Yes, I know what kind of defense I want to play and you know you get an extra mini-camp here. It is just like anything. Those guys will have to work at it, but there is no reason that they won't be able to commit it to memory and be very good executing it by the time we get to the fall.
Q: What kind of defense will that be?
A: You know what, I'll hold on that and we'll talk about it a little bit later.
Q: Is there frustration being the coordinator but not calling the plays?
A: I don't think so. You know, if you talk to Andy (Reid) it is one of the things he enjoys about the head coaching position. The football part because you deal with so many other things. One of the reasons that I moved from the sideline early at Philadelphia I was down there and I was the voice coming to Donovan (McNabb) in his infancy as he was growing. I was calling plays in the preseason once with all the boards and trying to hit the quarterback communicator and he said, "You know what, I'm strapping you. I am going to let you calls plays every now and then. The place to call them from is from upstairs." So that is when I made the move up, really before last season. Right in the preseason last year I went upstairs. What you are able to do is you are able to have a dialogue. You are eyes. You are able to get information down on the sideline. That is important that the guy that is calling the plays can trust the information.
Q: Some of the current assistants have expressed interest in staying, have you thought about that?
A: I think we take it on an individual basis, but certainly you don't come in here without an idea of how you want to staff this place and how you want to go forward. I have got some different ideas, but I think it will all evolve.
Q: Will you play a role in getting a new stadium?
A: I think that they have a great plan. I know that in Philadelphia everybody was always resistant. There was money that had to be laid out, but I know how they are reacting to a first class facility right now. To go from Veterans Stadium over to Lincoln Financial has been huge for us. Not that the fans weren't passionate, but it is a greater experience when you are able to get into a state-of-the-art stadium. Am I going to go out and thump a tub, am I going door-to-door, am I going to stand at a stoplight or anything like that? No, but I am going to be involved in that process.
Q: Will you have a casual or significant role in the hiring of a new personnel person?
A: Casual, define that for me.
Q: Will you have input on hiring that person?
A: I know I'll have input. You can shape it any way you want. I know I'll have input and I'll get a chance to sit down with those guys when they come in. I don't believe that anything will be forced down my throat. That is not the kind of place that they run here.
Q: Was it frustrating in the past not to be a head coach and do you feel that the timing is right?
A: Yeah, I am a big believer in things happening for a reason. Just even in some of the jobs I've interviewed in the past as I look. I think this is a great opportunity and I am happy I got this one and not some of the other ones.
Q: How much of the success from Philadelphia can you bring here?
A: I plan on using all of it. As I mentioned to you it is a way of doing business every day. It is your day-to-day schedule. Not just on the football field, not just how you play football, but how you go about your business as coaches, assistant coaches and players. How you become a professional. How you spend time at your trade. It doesn't happen by accident that teams get good. The talent level is so close these days that people who are spending extra time at it, spending extra time looking at tape, getting an extra workout or coming in in the morning to get a little cardio. Those things are important and we are paying those guys handsomely to do that. It is a great job. We expect them to take the point in those areas.
Q: How far away do you think this club is from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender?
A: I hate to paint that. Everything depends on who comes back, who you re-sign and how these guys interact with us. It is very difficult to get to the Super Bowl, very difficult. With that said, do I think there is talent here? Yeah, I do think there is talent here and I think that we are going to be able to augment that talent. But how far away, I don't know if anybody has a measuring stick. Everybody is trying to measure that. That is what you try to do in the off-season. You say, "What do I need to get there and how do we go about it?" Again, this is not a talent-poor place.
From reading this, I do not get the impression that we should have to rebuild the team, that the KAO was something that would require a complete retooling in order to be successful, or that we should be prepared for losing seasons while we get everything in place. ;D