Thursday, November 26, 2015

brad childress

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Andy Reid, Brad Childress and the Kansas City Chiefs are stepping into TCF Bank Stadium without their offensive centerpiece, Jamaal Charles. Conversely, the Vikings will be without one of their best defenders in Everson Griffen.

Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings have talked all week about their unwillingness to underestimate their opponent, but the early bye week has allowed them the rest it takes to get your roster relatively healthy.

Vikings fans are looking at a five-game stretch in which every contest seems winnable. The hope is that Norv Turner’s passing game can catch fire and Teddy Bridgewater can take advantage of some leaky pass defenses to start building some momentum through the air. Meanwhile, this defense looks as vicious as ever and there should be no shortage of Adrian Peterson each Sunday.

We’ll have this game broken down for you shortly after the last whistle, but be sure to romp around in the comments section below with fellow Vikings fans during the action.

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The Vikings are entering Week 6 off a narrow loss to Denver, the bye week and a 2-2 record. While the Chiefs have only a single win under their belt and are missing star running back Jamaal Charles, they’re not a team for which Minnesota should let its guard down. Alex Smith is a proven quarterback, and the Chiefs finished the 2014 season with a respectable 9-7 record. And worth mentioning, Minnesota will be fighting against the bye week slump. The Vikings have played miserably in the post-bye game for the past five seasons, and this year they absolutely cannot afford a loss to Kansas City.

Former Vikings head coach Brad Childress will be making his return to Minneapolis, as he currently works for the Chiefs as their “spread game analysis/special projects coach”—how’s that for a mouthful? How will Childress’ current squad fare against his former? Let’s take a look at the offensive match up.

Offensive Line

The Broncos’ top-rated defense worked over T.J. Clemmings in Week 4, and it will be interesting to see how the rookie rebounds this week. Granted, the Chiefs’ defense ranks only No. 26 in the league, but they do have powerful linebacker Justin Houston in their arsenal. Houston finished the 2014 season with 59 tackles, and he already has 18 in the books this year. He has an uncanny ability to get to the quarterback and will most likely be the offensive line’s biggest focus on Sunday.

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If I were to ask any Vikings fan what they thought of Mike Zimmer, they’d likely tell me he’s the greatest head coach since Bud Grant. In one season, Zimmer has started to erase memories of the past 12 seasons, when Mike Tice, Brad Childress, and Leslie Frazier led the Vikings to a combined 92 wins and 99 losses. It may be too early to proclaim Zimmer a top-flight head coach, but he’s well on his way to a long career in Minnesota, and that starts with a winning season in 2015.

But, what if the Vikings had never hired Zimmer? What if, in some cruel, twisted universe, the Wilf brothers were forced to choose one of three head coaches — Tice, Childress, or Frazier — to lead this team? What if Zimmer had never inherited Xavier Rhodes, or even worse,  what if Teddy Bridgewater was forced to operate from Musgrave’s minuscule play card?

Optimism around the team definitely wouldn’t be as high, and Minnesota’s faithful sports fans would suffer yet another year of futility. Luckily, that’s not the case, but it’s always fun to look back and remember our favorite head coaching blunders and mishaps. After the jump, I’ll share a few quotes that encapsulate everything that made each of the Vikings’ last three coaches such disastrous hires:

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Note: This is the last installment of a three part series detailing my personal, complicated feelings about Randy Moss. I love him for the player he was, but hate him for what could have been. Hit it here for Part I and Part II.

Hate is a strong word.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that a person should never truly hate anything. It simply takes up too much time and mental energy to actively hold disdain for something or someone. But as a younger, less mature man, I can honestly say that I hated Randy Moss. I’m not proud of it. It was the sort of irrational feelings that a fan projects on a player who wasn’t as great as he could have been (despite being a future first ballot Hall of Famer) while sulking his way out of town. Twice.

Quarterback Jay Cutler isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  His personality rubs some the wrong way, his leadership has been questioned countless times, and he won’t be winning any Mister Congeniality contests anytime soon.  Still, he is an accomplished veteran at the NFL’s most important position, and recent rumors stating the Bears might let him walk after this season are sure to grab attention.

It is an especially intriguing scenario for Vikings fans who are as hungry as ever for some new hope at the quarterback spot.  For every rumor in the NFL a counter-rumor is sure to follow, and some are wisely betting that the Bears don’t simply let Cutler leave, but let’s pretend for a second they do.  Should the Vikings be interested?  Would they be?

First off, they clearly will enter the offseason in the market for a new quarterback or three.  The Christian Ponder experiment is pretty clearly on it’s last legs, Matt Cassel can opt out of the second year of his deal, and Josh Freeman can’t be happy riding the bench after migrating north from Tampa midseason.  None of the above have proven they can lead the Vikings in an overly impressive way and so it seems they will once again be looking for the guy that just has “it.”

Secondly, they are preparing to play the next two seasons at TCF Bank Stadium, and finding a quarterback that can have success outdoors in Minnesota could be even trickier than trying to find one that can succeed in the Metrodome… which hasn’t been the easiest task ever.

Cutler, now 30 years old, has played outdoors in every home game of his professional career.  He has three seasons in Denver under his belt, and four in Chicago, and so that experience could be mighty attractive.  He has not only played in the cold and wind, but he’s also been fairly successful.

Cutler has a career passer rating of 84.4 and 23,224 yards on 3,220 attempts.  He’s thrown for 149 career touchdowns and has thrown 108 interceptions.  Durability has been a concern lately, however, as he hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2009.

The Vikings showed some interest in Cutler when he was on the trade block in 2009.  They were reportedly involved in a three-way negotiation that would have sent Cutler to Minnesota and Matt Cassel, of all people, to Denver.  The story goes, though, that head coach Brad Childress was not as sold on Cutler as the front office was and put a stop to the talks.  Of course, the rest is history.

Childress is gone now, though, and much of that same front office remains intact.  While intra-division trades are very rare, and Cutler would almost certainly have to become an unrestricted free agent to make this scenario possible, I am curious as to how receptive our readers would be to having Cutler be the next starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.  Keep in mind while voting that signing Cutler would not necessarily kill the team’s chances of drafting a young quarterback in May’s NFL Draft.

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