Childress could be writing own walking papers
The current mantra in the NFC North Division is it's "a six-game season now."
The reason behind it is due to the fact three teams -- Minnesota, Green Bay and Chicago -- are all tied for the division lead with mediocre 5-5 records.
Detroit, the division's red-head stepchild, has been eliminated from playoff contention with a Lion-like 0-10 record.
The "six-game season" can also be a mantra used for the Brad Childress Era -- because it could be that long until he's out the door of Winter Park as an unemployed ex-head coach.
There is an unlimited of non-support for Childress already from the Viking's fanbase after yet another inconsistent and slow start -- combined with losses which can be directly pointed to subpar coaching.
The latest coaching blunder came last week in a 19-13 loss in Tampa Bay, thus losing out on an opportunity to take over first-place in the average North Division after the Bears were smucked around by the Packers that same day.
With 3:03 remaining on the clock, the Vikings dodged a fatal bullet after the defense held the Bucs' offense to a field goal after a Maurice Hicks kickoff return fumble -- thus keeping the deficit to six points and giving the offense a chance to put in a game-winning touchdown.
Plenty of time to march down the field with the NFL's most dangerous weapon in second-year running back Adrian Peterson.
Flashback two weeks ago, when Peterson single-handily ran down the Packer's defense in the last drive of the game, rushing the ball six times out of seven plays and capping it with a 29-yard TD run to finish with 192 rushing yards on the day.
It was a grand opportunity to repeat history -- that was until Childress intercepted that opportunity.
Instead of putting the game and final drive on the team's best player in Peterson, Chilly decided to hand the game over to 15-year veteran QB Gus Frerotte.
Now, Frerotte has been a good heady quarterback over his career, that's why he's been in the NFL for 15 years.
But, there has been a reason why he's been on seven different teams and never a franchise QB -- because he's not too much better than average and he can't win games, he can manage them.
That notion flew over Childress' hairless head, as the Vikings attempted pass after pass with three minutes to go.
That brought up third and two -- still no Peterson. It eventually was fourth down.
That in turn resulted in a missed fourth-down conversion when the ball was tipped and had to be knocked down by Peterson, who saved an interception.
A missed field gave the Vikes another opportunity with over a minute to go, again Childress kept Peterson on the sideline, much to the gratification of the Bucs.
The game and drive ended with the ball in Chester Taylor's hands and a fumble.
It was almost like Childress wanted to prove that he could win without relying on Peterson.
Who knows? But the head coaches' reasoning was he thought they could move the ball through the air with Frerotte and Peterson on the sidelines.
What kind of reasoning is that?
Let's hand the game to an aging QB, instead to the league's leading rusher.
Brilliant - at least that's what the Bucs thought.
Frerotte has been an adequate QB this season, collecting a 5-3 record after replacing the hapless Tarvaris Jackson.
The Vikings were put into a tough situation at the quarterback position because Childress declined to upgrade and throw his chips in on Jackson at the start of the season.
Those chips were collected by the dealer by week three with the benching of Jackson.
One of the quarterbacks Childress should have gone after in the offseason -- Bucs' QB Jeff Garcia -- beat the Vikes almost single-handedly last week.
The arrogance Childress has shown is the reason why the Vikings are 5-5.
He has been the best defense to hold Peterson down, who in spite of his head coach, leads the NFL with 1,100 yards rushing.
Peterson is repeatedly on the sideline in critical situations. Yes, Taylor is a good third-down back in third and long situations.
But, on a third and two situation, hand it off to Peterson behind the left side of Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson.
Period. First down 95-percent of the time.
Frerotte has loosened up the eight-men in the box to stop Peterson with some deep completions to newly acquired Bernard Berrian, but in Sunday's loss, not one pass over 20 yards went to Berrian.
Peterson started getting some running room, while Berrian had TD receptions in four straight games.
But defenses adjusted -- taking Berrian away by rolling safeties to his side of the field -- while Childress and his cohorts haven't adjusted one bit.
That's been his biggest weakness through his three years in Minnesota -- the other coaches are always one step ahead of his schemes.
Take example the pathetic special teams' play.
There have been six returned touchdowns on special teams against the Vikes.
Yet, the same players are out there, along with the same schemes.
Yes, there are plays which the players just goof -- like Chris Kluwe's fumbled snap versus the Bears -- but having that many returns for touchdowns is a coaching gaff.
The talent is on this underachieving team. Defensively, it's a tough unit and the offense can put up points when Peterson is involved.
Six games and where will the Vikes finish?
Ninety-percent of the problems with the Vikes have come from direct decisions by Childress. It's his team, his blame.
A 9-7 or 10-6 record will win the division.
The Vikes have the toughest road, with games at Jacksonville, home vs. Chicago, at Detroit and Arizona and two home games against Atlanta and the Giants.
But will a Childress-led team be able to go 5-1 or 4-2 through that stretch?
The bad news could be a resounding "no".
The good news could be coming in the form of Childress updating his resumé.