Ding dong, the witch is dead. Which old witch? The Chilly old witch.
I was on a plane Monday morning flying from balmy St. Louis back into the sub-freezing temperatures of Minnesota when the Vikings announced coach Brad Childress would be fired. My whole body was cold when I stepped into my home state’s air, but when I got into the car and heard the news on KFAN, my heart warmed up. Finally. Chilly is gone.
Show me a Minnesotan who wasn’t happy with the news and I’ll show you a Packers fan living in our state. In a bit of poetic justice, it was the Packers, whose legendary quarterback spurned them and left for a miracle season last year with the Vikes, who laid down a woodshed beating so hard Sunday it finally rocked Zygi Wilf to his senses. For that, I thank you, Pack.
For almost half a decade, we Vikings fans were forced to watch Childress’ tasteless play-calling force drives to a grinding halt. You could almost see opposing defensive coordinators laugh as they stacked nine men in the box, but the Vikings still tried to run with Adrian Peterson off-tackle on 3rd and 3. I remember Brad Johnson lamenting after he finished with the Vikings how constricting the offense was when the vast talent of players like Peterson could be used in far more dynamic ways. Childress wouldn’t have it. When Brett Favre rolled into town and started opening up the offense on his own, the Vikings lit up the scoreboard. Childress’ response essentially was to throw a hissy-fit and say he considered benching Farve.
For almost half a decade, we were forced to watch Childress clash with player after player. His callous disregard for any kind of workable relationship with his personnel left fans wondering if this guy even talked to his players. This season has been a wreck, but long before that his issues with players sprung up. All signs have pointed to him being absolutely clueless when it comes to forming relationships with his players. In 2006, he cut wide receiver Marcus Robinson on Christmas Eve. Enough said.
For almost half a decade, I felt like every Vikings win came in spite of Childress, not because of him. I can now move past this dark time that will be known as the Chilly Days, which, for other than a few blessed months in 2009, was a borderline painful experience.
Hopefully, the Vikings will snap out of these last five years and come back next season a stronger team.
Hopefully, the Tavaris Jackson Project, Childress’ brainchild, will find the door along with the banished coach.
Hopefully, Wilf will look in the mirror and realize it was he who was ultimately responsible for the five years with Childress, and he will go out and get a head of football operations that actually knows football and can help him with decisions like, you know, hiring a head coach who’s not named Childress.
Hopefully, that will help legitimize the Vikings organization as a destination that can attract a proven coach, like Jon Gruden.
Hopefully, we will pursue and land a quality quarterback, such as Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb, to give our new head coach some consistency at a position where inconsistency spells disaster.
We are still talking about the Vikings here.
Jordan Osterman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org