A lot of Viking fans (including yours truly) were harboring the forlorn hope that Zygi Wilf would fire Ray Childress during this off week and give us all the opportunity to wave “bye, bye” to one of the most disappointing coaches in team history. Unfortunately, Childress seems fated to live at least another week, and probably won’t receive judgment until the season’s end.
Ray Childress is the kind of guy who would install a tow package and pull a trailer behind a Porsche. He has been given the keys to the kingdom and an unlimited budget, but has either reached for questionable free agent choices, or squandered the genuine talent that has come his way.
Childress suffers from “Denny Green Syndrome,” meaning that he is convinced that not only is the smartest guy in the room, but also has a secret plan for world domination. Green’s delusions of grandeur began after he had the good fortune to use his first round draft choice on Randy Moss. The only reason Green had the guts to pull the trigger on the “high reward/high risk” Moss was that had passed on Warren Sapp in the previous draft, but Green was suddenly a self proclaimed personnel genius, and a legend in his own mind. Unfortunately the new Sheriff in town’s credibility was shot down by his disastrous choice of Demitrius Underwood with the 29th pick in the 1999 draft. Underwood was slated as a seventh or eighth rounder on most mock drafts, but Green saw something special in the troubled defensive end, and wanted to grab him before another team had a chance. Underwood showed up at Mankato in combat fatigues saying he was “ready to go to war.” Underwood was soon AWOL from training camp and never played a down for the Vikings.
What about our friend Coach Childress, the architect of the most boring, predictable and disappointing version of the “kick-butt” west coast offense ever conceived? Childress has “Denny Greened” at least two high profile draft choices. Offensive lineman Ryan Cook and Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson were considered projects and low draft choices by most of the league, but Childress paid dearly for both prospects before anyone else could get them. Cook’s uneven “matador” play on the right side of the line has likely caused Gus Frerotte to increase his life insurance coverage, and T-Jack’s inaccuracy, lack of judgment, and tendency toward injuries set an already offensively challenged team back immeasurably. As far as free agents are concerned, just keep repeating the words Visanthe Schiancoe, another highly paid project that Childress thought he could mold into a superstar.
I’ll give Childress credit for drafting Adrian Peterson, and signing Chester Taylor, but with the play calling from the offensive brain trust, we could have the reincarnation of the World Champion Dallas Cowboys with Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin in Vikings’ uniforms and still have an offense with all of the excitement of a quilter’s circle.
So, here’s my predictions for the rest of the season. The Vikings have a history of winning their games after a bye, so expect them to win at home next week against the Texans, but don’t expect it to be easy. After that Minnesota will win just enough games to keep us interested, and the team in contention for a wild card spot in the last week of the season. Then they will lose in the most frustrating fashion possible and miss the playoffs. Childress will finally be fired and be replaced by a real coach like Bill Cowher or Marty Schottenheimer. This is, of course, assuming that Pat and Kevin Williams aren’t suspended for four games. If that happens, all bets are off. (By the way, I haven’t been able to figure out how to blame Childress for this issue, but I do hold him responsible for the Asian Beetle infestation and the nationwide financial crisis.)One more thing. Now that Visanthe has had two decent games and is getting positive press for hanging onto the ball, expect him to fumble at least once against the Texans. You heard it here first.
Talk back! Tell us what you think of this year’s teams. What would you do if you were in charge?
Go to winonapost.com, click on Football Forum to discuss this year’s season.