NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09: Head coach Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings talks with line judge Mark Steinkerchner #84 at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress is a dead man walking. Maybe he’s not quite as dead as Wade Phillips is, but he’s dead and buried all the same. Yesterday, Childress signed his own death warrant by waiving Randy Moss just four games after trading away a third-round pick to New England for him, in a desperate attempt to salvage what has been an unholy train wreck of a season.
According to an NFL source, Childress did not immediately inform owner Zygi Wilf of his intentions, upsetting the owner, who had just given up a draft choice and committed millions to the mercurial receiver. The apparent lack of communication meant Moss was not put on waivers by the 3 p.m. deadline and the team did not confirm he was gone until issuing a statement Monday night.
Should Moss pass through waivers, the Vikings will be on the hook for nearly $4 million. That’s $4 million and a useful third round pick for four games, three of which the Vikings lost. And come Draft Day, the loss of that pick will grate on everyone associated with the organization.
It’s a remarkably glaring failure. There’s no positive way to spin it. And the fact that Childress went over his owner’s head to make the waiver move makes it all the more damning.
Childress took the Vikings to the NFC title game last year, but anyone who watches this team knows he’s a lousy head coach. His list of mistakes is thick and lustrous: blown challenges, terrible play-calling, communication breakdowns, listless two-minute drills, Tarvaris Jackson. And this year, Childress has somehow managed to top himself in incompetence.
He had to get on his hands and knees to beg Brett Favre to come play for him, undermining his credibility among players. He openly feuded with Favre and waffled on benching him. He brought in Moss, apparently without doing any real background homework on his recent behavior. He ditched Moss. He threw an incomprehensible challenge flag on a Brandon Tate catch on Sunday (and failed to challenge a certain Adrian Peterson touchdown).
All of it is adding up. The fans can’t stand him. His players almost certainly can’t stand him. Favre is openly allowed to defy him and come and go as he pleases. This whole thing is a disaster.
And, unlike Dallas, Minnesota has a perfectly capable head coach-in-waiting Leslie Frazier. In fact, the Vikings have a long history of employing coordinators who went on to be successful head coaches: Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, Brian Billick, etc. In the case of those three men, the Vikings chose to keep the head coach they currently had in place and let the coordinator walk, much to their eventual detriment. At some point, they have to realize that keeping Frazier is more important for the long term than keeping Childress around is for the short term. They can’t keep making the same mistake over and over and over again, can they?
Oh, who am I kidding? It’s the Vikings. They exist solely to screw everything up.