Finally, your long nightmare of poor clock management, unimaginative play-calling and inexplicable challenges has come to an end. There are many bad coaches in NFL history, but few were bad with the kind of nimcompoopish élan that graced all of Childress’ worst moments. What other coach would choose the very end of the NFC title game to have 12 men on the field? What other mastermind of incompetence would have the foresight to trade a third-rounder for Randy Moss and then waive him at the first sign of insubordination? Oh, this was magical streak of awfulness, I tell you. One we may not see the likes of again.
Childress’ replacement is defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who is not Brad Childress and is therefore destined to be a better coach than Brad Childress. Frazier will be taking over a team that is all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, and faces the 2011 season with a terrible offensive line, the potential departures of Sidney Rice, Chad Greenway, and Ray Edwards, and no long-term solution at the QB position. Oh, and the Vikings’ Metrodome lease is up next year and they’ll probably move if the team can’t get enough support to build a new stadium, which is all but certain if they don’t magically win a Super Bowl between now and then. FUN!
I remember when Childress was hired to replace Mike Tice, a pleasant ogre of a human being who always felt like an o-line coach promoted two levels too high. And I remember thinking, when Chilly was hired that at last, the Vikings had a PROFESSIONAL in charge of things. He had to be better than Tice. He had to be better than Denny Green’s Crony-Go-Round. Surely, Childress would give the Vikings a certain football credibility they had sorely lacked all those years.
Oh, but I was wrong. I was so very, very wrong.
And now, there’s little more to do than pick up all of Chilly’s things and begin staring down a very long and dark road for a franchise that has spent the past four years living well beyond its means. Lockout or not, the Vikings are about to undergo a major reconstruction, one that isn’t guaranteed of leaving them any better of than they were when Childress got here. It’s what NFL teams do. They rebuild and rebuild and rebuild again in hopes of one day finding the exact right combination that leads to a title. Not every team is guaranteed to stumble upon such a winning formula. The Vikings have been trying for decades. And today, in the wake of an utterly disastrous season, it feels like they’ll be trying for many more.