Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Brad Childress' latest challenge

By Kevin Seifert

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- There is little doubt the Minnesota Vikings got better Wednesday when they acquired receiver Randy Moss from the New England Patriots. At the same time, coach Brad Childress' job got more difficult.

Every offensive-minded coach covets game-breaking players of Moss' quality. In this case, however, the cost was adding a player who has gotten himself fired three times in the past six years for reasons unrelated to his performance on the field.

I've long referred to Moss as a pathological contrarian, someone who seemingly forms his opinions largely in opposition of those around him. Childress famously feuded with longtime troublemaker Terrell Owens when both were with the Philadelphia Eagles, and so Wednesday, I asked him to outline his plan for managing a player who hasn't always been manageable over the years.

As recently as Monday, in fact, Moss exchanged heated words with Patriots quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien. Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com had that story.

"I think he's an emotional guy," Childress said. "It's part of what makes him a good football player. Obviously, do people always agree when you have 53 players and 20 coaches? Not always. I think it was a lesson for me at a point in my life to appropriately question authority, which I didn't always do.

"Temperatures can rise from time to time when you're playing an emotional game, whether it be on the sideline, whether it be in the locker room. It still comes down to communicating. Different people communicate in different ways."

Childress said he did his "due diligence" in evaluating Moss' history but admitted he spoke to neither Moss nor Patriots coach Bill Belichick during the process. He typically offers rigid defenses of his version of the West Coast offense, but Wednesday seemed resigned to his authority being appropriately questioned. Most notably, Childress said he has no illusions about the possibility of Moss and quarterback Brett Favre veering from the offensive script during the course of the game.

Asked about that issue, Childress joked: "We're already talking about a mutiny?" He added: "Am I crazy enough to think that doesn't happen? I think it probably happened with Tom [Brady] and him, too, when you see the hand go up and you see him go. That happens. It's about trying to get behind somebody, and if he can, more power to him."

Does Childress know what he's gotten into here? We'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Because soon enough, we'll know for sure.