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  1. #1
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Worth Another Read (I believe)

    This article appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press at the end of last season. As we enter the Free Agency period and the draft, I think it's worth another read by our members here -- Especially the last portion of it on the outlook.
    I put in the entire article rather than a link because it was so old.

    [size=14pt]Man With A Plan[/size]
    Fans aren't happy with how the Vikings' 2006 season has gone. Neither are players. But don't expect coach Brad Childress to change course just because he's off to a rocky start.

    Year One of the Brad Childress Era ends today at the Metrodome.

    While his team plays for "momentum" heading into the offseason, former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's St. Louis Rams still are playing for an NFC playoff spot.

    Childress' "plum job" shriveled into a prune, and the Vikings' underachievement this season has fans calling for his job, and players grumbling about his leadership style and offensive system.

    Yet in the midst of all the chaos, Childress is unfazed by the criticism, and unshakeable in his commitment to the plan he unveiled to owner Zygi Wilf nearly a year ago.

    Childress and Wilf declined to comment for this story.

    But agent Bob LaMonte said his client witnessed one of the NFL's most painful rebuilding projects, and Childress will not budge from the course he crafted over nearly three decades as an assistant coach.

    "No one understands what it's like to stick to a plan," said LaMonte, whose clients include Mike Holmgren of the Seattle Seahawks, Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles, John Fox of the Carolina Panthers, Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Charlie Weis of Notre Dame. "America is a quick-fix nation. All we want to do is take a pill to drop weight, and if it doesn't work in 24 hours, then abandon it.

    "The Vikings' ship really sailed in the early 2000s. Those are teams that should have potentially won Super Bowls, and at least been to several," LaMonte said. "He's bringing in a new ship, and he's landed, but it's going to take time."

    But can Childress clean up his decks and keep his crew from jumping ship?

    Here's a closer look at his first season as the Vikings coach:

    HIS WAY

    Players quickly recognized that Childress would be the anti-Mike Tice. Childress rarely smiled, let alone cracked a joke, and he imposed his will throughout Winter Park. He "encouraged" players to attend the offseason conditioning program, and he pushed them through one of the league's most physical training camps.

    So when the veterans committee was formed, players hoped they finally had a forum to express their concerns. Those players met with Childress on Wednesdays, and they talked about that week's schedule and points of emphasis.

    Childress wanted feedback and suggestions, and one kept cropping up: padded practices. After a grueling training camp, players asked their peers on the committee to encourage Childress to pull back during the season. But each week passed, and the padded sessions continued.

    So what is the committee's legacy?

    Chicken tenders on the team charter flight home.

    "Little things he really looked out for us on," said linebacker E.J. Henderson, one of the committee members.

    For instance, in addition to chicken tenders as an alternative to hamburgers on the airplane, Henderson said Childress also allowed them to have catered food on Fridays laid out on tables in the locker room instead of in the cafeteria.

    But Childress didn't address their requests to shorten meetings or fly to away games earlier to provide more free time there. He also wouldn't budge on practices.

    "We kind of gave up on trying to talk him out of that," Henderson said of reducing the number of padded practices. "He had his schedule set for when we were going to be in pads and when we weren't."

    Safety Darren Sharper was on a similar committee in Green Bay, and he said they are very comparable.

    "It was a good medium, to have the guys on the committee filter stuff that we were going to do that week," said Sharper, who also is on the Vikings' committee. "But most of the time, it was us relaying messages to the team, as far as scheduling, and that kind of thing."

    "He has his ideas, and he has things he's going to go on," said tight end Jermaine Wiggins, another committee member, "and that's pretty much what it's going to be."

    While his goal of fielding a disciplined team that doesn't beat itself didn't materialize this season (the Vikings lead the league in penalties and are tied for eighth in turnovers), Childress did address the character of his players and holding them accountable for their actions.

    "There were less distractions, as far as discipline," left tackle Bryant McKinnie said.

    During the exhibition season, Childress backed up his "culture of accountability" speech by releasing receiver Koren Robinson after his highly-publicized DWI arrest, despite pleas from some players to give him another chance.

    More recently, Childress cut receiver Marcus Robinson, a popular veteran who led the Vikings in touchdown catches. Players have wondered about the timing of the move — Robinson was informed on Christmas Eve — and whether the receiver's questioning of the offense and communication of Childress led to his dismissal.

    "It just goes to show that no one is above the team," said one player, who wished to remain anonymous. "If you say anything bad, you can get your walking papers."

    TWO WORLDS

    After his release, Robinson insisted that communication was his biggest issue with Childress. The receiver said he didn't know whether he was playing until he saw his shoulder pads in his locker on game days.

    "I think communication is a key for everybody," Robinson said. "It's hard enough to get that many guys to buy into a system and do the right thing. You have to be able to communicate with every guy.

    "Players are going to listen to other players quicker than they're going to listen to a coach," Robinson said. "Mike Tice could always communicate with you. He listened. Even if he made his own decision, you felt he listened to you."

    Tice also afforded his veterans more clout, and he asked for their input. That was one of the primary differences between Childress and veteran quarterback Brad Johnson, who declined to be interviewed for this story.

    Johnson signed a four-year deal with the Vikings last year, partly because of his relationship with Tice, and the quarterback's insight was welcomed in 2005.

    This season, Childress insisted on Johnson executing the offense the coach's way.

    Johnson likely will be released during the offseason and is expected to pursue an opportunity to play elsewhere.

    McKinnie said Childress had a "vision" for his West Coast offense.

    "He knows what he has in mind, and he wants to run it the way he has it planned out," McKinnie said. "He has a vision, and he wants everyone else to follow his lead."

    McKinnie said the transition from Tice's offense to Childress' took time.

    "Some people don't like change, and it takes a while for people to come around. I think eventually we got better," Mc-Kinnie said. "But it took time, because a lot of stuff we did was different."

    Wiggins didn't mind change. But he grew frustrated with his role when the team was struggling to score and losing games.

    Wiggins, who led the Vikings in receptions in 2004 and '05, suggested ways he could help the offense. But he says he was rebuffed.

    "Believe me, I let people know what I can do," Wiggins said. "You know, I've kind of put my two cents in. But I just go out there and do what I'm asked to do. And if I catch one ball, I catch one ball. I definitely feel I could have done a lot more, but we go in a different direction."

    The defense was run differently, and players on that side of the ball said they could not relate to the frustrations of their offensive teammates.

    Henderson said Childress empowered coordinator Mike Tomlin to "basically be the head coach of the defense."

    "He kind of stays away and lets him run the show," Henderson said. "Some offensive (head) coaches want to stick their head in and put their input in."

    Tice was one of those head coaches, Henderson said.

    "He did it, when things were rocky with the defense," Henderson said of Tice. "He felt he needed to dip in and dip out."

    Players said Childress does not meddle with the defense.

    Players said there are no issues with knowing who is active on the defense, with that made clear on a depth chart and in practices on Wednesdays.

    "(Tomlin) has been the same the whole year, even during the four-game losing streak," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "Mike Tomlin just holds everyone to one standard. The one thing he says: 'Make sure your tape is hot.' "

    WARM AND FUZZY?

    Some players groan that Childress is hard to read and not too genial. But many of those same players admitted that Childress repeatedly has said he has an "open-door" policy.

    When he was placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp, veteran defensive tackle Pat Williams said he was "angry" with Childress. But the two talked about their differences.

    "He explained to me why he was doing it, and I told him what I think," Williams said. "After that, we were on the same page."

    Now, they joke with each other before practices, Williams said.

    Guard Artis Hicks has played for Childress longer than any other Viking, and he said the coach knows a lot about his personal life.

    Hicks requested a meeting with the coach two days before the Vikings' game against the Green Bay Packers on a Thursday night.

    "I was skeptical of how that was going to go, because we had that Thursday night game," Hicks said.

    During the meeting, Hicks told Childress that he was about to become a father.

    "He was like, 'That's the most important thing in the world. Take care of your responsibilities, and cherish that moment,' " Hicks said. "He was there for the birth of his kids, and he wanted me to have that same experience. That really meant a lot to me."

    The two talked for 20 minutes.

    STAKE IN PHILLY

    In 1999, Childress accepted rookie head coach Andy Reid's offer to become the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. Coming off a 3-13 season, the Eagles' offense — and the entire team — was in shambles.

    The Eagles lost their first four games that season, and fans threw batteries and expletives on Reid as he entered the locker room of Veterans Stadium trailing 10-0 to the Dallas Cowboys. The offense, which followed Reid's play calling, failed to get a single first down.

    "Philadelphia is one of the most negative (NFL) cities," LaMonte said. "They booed Santa Claus. Every paper said he should be fired, and that (the Eagles) hired the wrong guy."

    Spurred by a fumble forced and recovered by the defense, the Eagles rallied to win 13-10.

    "He let them know, he was going to do it his way," LaMonte said of Reid. "The leader has to know the plan."

    LaMonte, who talks to Childress once a week, said his client is well aware of Reid's experiences in Philadelphia.

    "Brad is fine," LaMonte said. "Brad lived this. He saw Andy in Philadelphia."

    Reid made unpopular decisions, like releasing popular veteran defensive lineman Bill Johnson, and he resisted demands to start Donovan McNabb, the second overall pick in the 1999 draft before that season.

    "I would have played McNabb," LaMonte said. "But I didn't know Andy's plan like Andy did."

    LaMonte said Childress, like Reid, knew that the strength of the team was on defense. LaMonte also said the Vikings clearly did not have enough "playmakers" this season.

    "If you look at the Vikings and ask 31 organizations, 'Who is their game-breaker?' they'll say zero people," LaMonte said. "There is no game-breaker who can take it to the house. Even if they made the playoffs, they were not good enough. There are no pretenses in Minnesota that this is a great football team."

    That is where ownership comes in, LaMonte said, pointing out Wilf as one of the primary reasons Childress chose the Vikings.

    "There are two types of owners. There are owners that are Band-Aid owners, and then there are builders," LaMonte said. "The Wilfs are builders. They understand they're in it for the long haul. They understand that you can't get to the moon with the first shot."

    THE OUTLOOK

    The Vikings may not be popular with the fans right now, but the club will be like the homecoming king in a few months. Free agents — or at least their agents — have taken note of the Wilf way, which is not to use a lack of revenue as excuse for building his franchise. Wilf has rewarded his own players (see Kevin Williams and E.J. Henderson), as well as free agents from other clubs (see Steve Hutchinson).

    The Vikings have tapped their salary cap space for 2006, and they're in excellent shape for 2007. The Vikings could increase their salary cap space to about $23 million, a surprisingly high figure given the lucrative contracts the club has handed out recently.

    "We've got a lot of talent in place, and I definitely think we have the coaching staff, and good owners, who want to upgrade the facility and the whole franchise," Henderson said. "That's been a long time since that's happened around here. I definitely feel we're headed in the right direction."

    The Vikings obviously drafted well, even with their top pick, linebacker Chad Greenway, sidelined for the season with a knee injury, and their free-agent acquisitions performed well. The team needs pick up a veteran quarterback, a defensive end, and some playmaking receivers or tight ends this offseason.

    Players are looking forward to next year.

    "We didn't win as many games as we wanted to, and we didn't get into the playoffs," Hicks said. "But the most important thing is that you establish a foundation so next year you can build on those things. There were a lot of positives to take from this year."

    Williams broke in two rookie head coaches in Buffalo, Mike Mularkey and Gregg Williams, whom the Vikings considered before hiring Childress. But Pat Williams said Childress has them beat.

    "Each of them was different," Williams said, "but I think he did a better job than my other coaches did in their first year. If we fix the minor pieces, I think we'll be fine. Next year is going to be our year."
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

    When you require nothing, you get nothing; when you expect nothing, you will find nothing; when you embrace nothing, all you will have is nothing.

  2. #2
    Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    This was from Dec. 31, 2006.

    The disciplinarian stuff is nothing new, but it's interesting hearing the players perspectives from Meathead to Childress.

    A few excerpts that stood out to me:

    ..."There are two types of owners. There are owners that are Band-Aid owners, and then there are builders," LaMonte said. "The Wilfs are builders. They understand they're in it for the long haul. They understand that you can't get to the moon with the first shot."...
    ..."We've got a lot of talent in place, and I definitely think we have the coaching staff, and good owners, who want to upgrade the facility and the whole franchise," Henderson said. "That's been a long time since that's happened around here. I definitely feel we're headed in the right direction."...
    ...Williams broke in two rookie head coaches in Buffalo, Mike Mularkey and Gregg Williams, whom the Vikings considered before hiring Childress. But Pat Williams said Childress has them beat.

    "Each of them was different," Williams said, "but I think he did a better job than my other coaches did in their first year. If we fix the minor pieces, I think we'll be fine. Next year is going to be our year."...


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Potus2028 is offline Hall of Famer
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    This article makes Childress out to be close minded, stubborn, and always in the wrong way.

    His plan better start gel-ing next season.
    i m better than you, so just give up...

  4. #4
    skum's Avatar
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    Minor pieces thats it.. we lost 6 games with less than a touchdown and we killed our selves in the game at Soldier Field - we needed 3 wins more than we got to go into the playoffs last season .. !


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    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    "Potus2028" wrote:
    This article makes Childress out to be close minded, stubborn, and always in the wrong way.

    His plan better start gel-ing next season.
    Potus: I think it's always easier to remember the negatives rather than the positives. I think this is a well balanced article that points them both out. Your statement that thee article makes Childress sound bad is not true at all. Read-read it with an open mind.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

    When you require nothing, you get nothing; when you expect nothing, you will find nothing; when you embrace nothing, all you will have is nothing.

  6. #6
    Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    Red: what pessimists read
    Green: what optimists read
    black: what a balanced person reads (original article)


    Fans aren't happy with how the Vikings' 2006 season has gone. Neither are players....

    ...Childress' "plum job" shriveled into a prune, and the Vikings' underachievement this season has fans calling for his job, and players grumbling about his leadership style and offensive system...

    ...midst of all the chaos, Childress is unfazed by the criticism, and unshakeable...

    ...Childress and Wilf declined to comment...
    (could go either way depending on your perspective)

    ..."He's bringing in a new ship, and he's landed, but it's going to take time."...

    ...Childress would be the anti-Mike Tice...rarely smiled, let alone cracked a joke...
    (although I would argue that this seems Grantesque)

    ...Childress wanted feedback and suggestions, and one kept cropping up: padded practices...But each week passed, and the padded sessions continued...

    ..."Little things he really looked out for us on," said linebacker E.J. Henderson, one of the committee members...

    ..."He had his schedule set for when we were going to be in pads and when we weren't."...

    ..."He has his ideas, and he has things he's going to go on," said tight end Jermaine Wiggins, another committee member, "and that's pretty much what it's going to be."...

    ...While his goal of fielding a disciplined team that doesn't beat itself didn't materialize this season (the Vikings lead the league in penalties and are tied for eighth in turnovers), Childress did address the character of his players and holding them accountable for their actions...

    "There were less distractions, as far as discipline," left tackle Bryant McKinnie said...

    ...Childress backed up his "culture of accountability" speech by releasing receiver Koren Robinson after his highly-publicized DWI arrest, despite pleas from some players to give him another chance...
    (could be red too, depending on how you look at it)

    ...The Vikings have tapped their salary cap space for 2006, and they're in excellent shape for 2007. The Vikings could increase their salary cap space to about $23 million, a surprisingly high figure given the lucrative contracts the club has handed out recently...

    ..."We didn't win as many games as we wanted to, and we didn't get into the playoffs," Hicks said. "But the most important thing is that you establish a foundation so next year you can build on those things. There were a lot of positives to take from this year."...









    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

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    Potus2028 is offline Hall of Famer
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    "COJOMAY" wrote:
    "Potus2028" wrote:
    This article makes Childress out to be close minded, stubborn, and always in the wrong way.

    His plan better start gel-ing next season.
    Potus: I think it's always easier to remember the negatives rather than the positives. I think this is a well balanced article that points them both out. Your statement that thee article makes Childress sound bad is not true at all. Read-read it with an open mind.
    thanks for keeping me down to earth.

    i suppose i'm one of the RESULTS NOW folks it disclaims against.
    i m better than you, so just give up...

  8. #8
    PurplePumpkin's Avatar
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    Good Read thanks for posting it!

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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    Thanks man!
    Enjoyed it...not sure how I missed that one...?

    Gotta love Pat's enthusiasm, minor issues
    ;D

    While I can understand Chilly's desire to "stick with the plan," and I hope that we will see better playing next year, a year into the system...I still hope he learns to listen and adjust a bit too...most of the time, all ye get is the cards in your hand
    Control the line, control the time, and give your D a chance to shine!!

    "Balance it on end and thats the third side of the coin!!" -wookiefoot

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    cogitans is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Worth Another Read (I believe)

    "Prophet" wrote:
    Red: what pessimists read
    Green: what optimists read
    black: what a balanced person reads (original article)
    That cracked me up. You should do that little workover on more articles.

    Thanks to PPE for the sig.

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