MINNEAPOLIS - It had been about 10 years since I had attended a Vikings game.
I am almost ashamed to say that. I lived and died with Vikings teams coached by Bud Grant and Jerry Burns. When the Vikings won, I was happy for a week. When they lost it ruined my week.
Under Dennis Green, and now Brad "Chilly" Childress, my apathy for Vikings football has plummeted to an inexpressible level.
With the way this franchise is heading under the Childress regime it might be another 10 before I go back.
Bud and Burnsie surely would have been offended by Sunday's embarrassing season-ending 41-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams. This once-glorious franchise is now about as exciting to watch as "Dr. Phil."
Frankly, the lack of effort, from row nine of Section 100 in the left-field end zone, was appalling. One of my friends remarked that the speed of the game didn't seem to be what he expected while being that close to the field.
He was right. The Rams were fast, even though they, like the Vikings, already had been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Rams performed like professionals. The Vikings quit.
Most of the excitement was generated by the cheerleaders and when Vikings mascot Ragnar signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans in the stands.
Where does one start with Childress' Vikings?
The West Coast offense. It appears to have the line and running backs to succeed but it's void of an NFL-caliber receiver.
Play calling. Virtually every play is run parallel to the line of scrimmage. I can remember one play, the entire game, that went downfield. Tarvaris Jackson's pass was considerably off the mark and it fell incomplete.
Childress steadfastly refuses to make adjustments, no matter what the score, no matter what stage in the season. The play calling lacks creativity at the expense of running virtually the same-looking play over and over and over.
Sideline style. Childress stood virtually alone with minimal interaction with staff and players during the game. Are staff and players petrified of him? Has he lost the players?
Communication. Quarterback Brad Johnson said he and Childress don't talk. Marcus Robinson, the team's leading receiver, was released on Christmas Eve, a classless move. Why not wait a week when the regular season ends? Childress had another team official call Robinson, another gutless move.
On Sunday, maybe the wrong Minnesota football coach got fired.
MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com and at 855-5861.
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