Childress's fate tied to Packers
Once Vikings coach Brad Childress made the unilateral decision to release Randy Moss without consulting anyone in the front office, he was a dead man walking, with ownership looking for the right time to push him off the plank. The right time came on the heels of an embarrassing home loss to the archrival Packers, a team that has figured prominently in Childress's career changes.
Childress was a skilled offensive mind and the creation of agent Bob LaMonte in 2006. LaMonte is the "Arliss" of the coaching representation world. Every year LaMonte unveils his "hot guy", a coach ready to ascend. LaMonte is a master in creating the perception that a team with a vacancy needs hire that guy before another team scoops him up.
In 2006, LaMonte's "hot guy" was Childress. When we at the Packers put the list together for our vacancy at the same time, it included, among others, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Wade Phillips, and Childress, who was scheduled to first interview with the Vikings before flying to Green Bay.
LaMonte created the strong perception that if the Vikings let Childress get on that plane to Green Bay, the rival Packers would hire him and the Vikings would regret it.
When LaMonte said that Childress was delaying his arrival into Green Bay, we knew what was going on. Within a couple hours, a new five-year deal worth $10 million between the Vikings and Childress was announced.
And last season at this time, the Vikings extended Childress through 2013 based on their impressive 8-1 start that featured a sweep those dreaded Packers.
Now comes the termination of Childress -- his contract, not him -- in the wake of the beat down from those same Packers. The Packers' fingerprints seem to be all over Childress and his flashpoint moments, both good and bad.
Favre shutting down?
As to thoughts of Brett Favre retiring midstream to return to Mississippi to cut grass for the rest of the season? Because of losing and some potentially embarrassing texts? Please.
Brett will play. He always plays. He plays through injury; I've seen countless weeks where it looked like there was no way he would play and does (he's had a couple of those this year as well). He plays through personal tragedy, playing a day after the loss of his father and through a season where Deanna was going through chemotherapy.
The chances of the Vikings repeating the 2009 magic were not great to begin with, as every year is a new dynamic even with the same players. Yes, it is problematic that the Vikings went "all in" with increased payments to Favre and the failed acquisition of Moss, but it happens. No need to quit.
End of line for Brett?
As to this definitely being Brett's last year, I choose to never believe that. I have always thought Brett would play -- when he took his time every offseason to decide to return, when he retired in 2008, and when he sat at home through the 2009 and 2010 offseasons. As to 2011, the mess of this season may actually work to spur Brett to prove he can do better.
To me, Brett playing these last two seasons has been more about the Vikings than about Brett. For a team to hold the door open through mid-August while the rest of the team goes through the offseason, send three teammates to go fetch him, and even sweeten the pot says volumes about who has held the leverage in this relationship.
Interim coach Leslie Frazier is a big fan of Favre, and may prove worthy of retaining the job. If the Vikings hold the door open in 2011, do we really believe Brett won't walk through it again in August?
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