The story of the 2010 edition of the Minnesota Vikings is well known throughout the country.
There are so many juicy storylines to follow that the Soap Opera Network has commissioned a new reality show pilot based around the Vikings to begin airing sometime next month. Well, that may not be true, but who wouldn't want to watch it?
Everyone knows what was expected of this team. A team that was one play short of the Super Bowl last season. A team that sported eight returning Pro Bowlers. A team led by the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson, and the legend at QB in Brett Favre.
The season has not gone to plan.
After Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings now sit at 3-7 on the season, and while not mathematically eliminated, the season is pretty much over. The Packers and Bears now both sit atop the NFC North with matching 7-3 records, and would need a miracle to catch both teams.
The chants in the crowd during Sundays home loss to the Packers were a deafening, "Fire Childress." The entire state of Minnesota seems to have turned on the head coach.
Brad Childress should not be blamed for this season, and should not be fired.
Childress may end up being the scape goat in this season from hell, but there have been numerous to blame.
Number one is Brett Favre.
He led the franchise through yet another offseason waltz as he struggled with the big will they, won't they summer that would make Ross and Rachel proud. He missed most of training camp before he arrived on August 17. He clearly has been beaten up, and during the first four to six weeks of the season, appeared almost disinterested.
But the biggest blow to the team that Favre has done is causing dissension in the locker room. The rift between Favre and Childress has been no secret. But when a veteran like Favre is as insubordinate to the coach as he as been, it's almost bound to divide a locker room. Causing other players to have to choose sides between their QB and coach.
This may be editorializing, but I have a hard time believing that if New England of Indianapolis had a rough season, that Peyton Manning or Tom Brady wouldn't have their coaches back. They are leaders of the team and set a tone for the rest of the locker room. If your franchise QB won't listen to the coach, then the whole team will fall.
Number two in Zygi Wilf.
The owner of the Vikings, in his frantic attempt to build a new stadium, has done everything he can possibly do to put a winner on the field. This includes pandering to every demand of Favre (of which Childress is also guilty).
However, by selling the farm, and putting so much into one season is a risky business. The pressure has been felt by everyone in that locker room to win now. When the season started out so slowly, the team seemed to panic. The panic then led to a bad decision to add Randy Moss.
Which brings me to number three.
Randy Moss. What can I say about the Randy Moss deal that hasn't already been written? Not much. Everyone knows the story by now. Childress made the right decision in cutting him. His behavior was deplorable during his time back in purple and gold. Also some validation in cutting Moss, in two games playing for the Tennessee Titans, Moss has one catch for 26 yards.
Childress has gotten a bad rap this season for having an under performing team, that had perhaps unrealistic expectations for the season. In the years leading up to this season, he won eight, 10, and 12 games. Without that Favre hiccup in the NFC championship game, perhaps the Vikings go to the Super Bowl last season.
One bad year should not lose an NFL coach his job, especially with what Childress has had to try and deal with this season. Viking fans have treated a good coach with very little respect this season and the "Fire Childress" chant is ridiculous.
It shocked me since Minnesota has long been known for understanding from its sports leaders. Twins fans support Ron Gardenhire despite 12 straight playoff losses. Jacque Lemaire lasted nearly a decade behind the Wild's bench. Flip Saunders was respected despite year after year of first round playoff exits for the Timberwolves.
Childress is a victim of unrealistic expectations, under-performing superstars, and a fan base jaded after a disappointing end to the 2009 season. He definitely hasn't been perfect, but by no means deserves to have his head on a post outside Mall of America Field.