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Monday, November 8, 2010
Free Head Exam: Minnesota Vikings

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

After the Minnesota Vikings' 27-24 victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals, here are three issues that merit further examination:
    Head Exam
    Following their win over Arizona, the Minnesota Vikings visit the examination room.
  1. Looked at from one perspective, Sunday was the biggest comeback victory in team history. As you know, the Vikings trailed 24-10 until Adrian Peterson's touchdown run narrowed the gap with 3 minutes, 34 seconds remaining. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Vikings had won a game after trailing by 14 or more points with less than four minutes to play. It's been seven years since anyone in the NFL has accomplished that feat. The last time it happened was in 2003, when the Indianapolis Colts rallied for a 38-35 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  2. As ESPN's Chris Mortensen and others have reported, there was a possibility that coach Brad Childress could be fired this week even if he won Sunday. Based on owner Zygi Wilf's giddy demeanor after the game, we can only assume Childress' job is safe for now. Eventually, the focus of this issue will shift from Childress to Wilf. I think we all have a pretty good idea of who Childress is and what kind of coach he will be. Now we turn to Wilf to see how he will navigate what to this point has been a disappointing season. It would be difficult to fire a coach after a victory as rousing as Sunday's, but soon Wilf will reach a point of no return. If the Vikings don't catch up soon with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, it's not going to matter who their coach is.
  3. I understand why people around the country misunderstood Childress' joke in response to a serious question about his job security. To review, I asked Childress if Wilf had assured him he would be the coach for the rest of the season. "No," Childress said. I then asked if he needed that assurance. "I'm not going to sit here like Brett Favre and tell you I need compassion, I need a hug," Childress said. "I'm all right." The answer drew a chuckle from the local media, most of whom realized it was a reference to an answer Favre had given last week when asked if Childress was a compassionate coach. "Is he a compassionate coach?" Favre said, smiling. "Like give us a hug or something like that? I sure could use one, too. He hasn't given me one, no. He's OK." But Childress wasn't speaking Sunday to a small group of people. His postgame news conference had national interest, and it's understandable that Childress' sarcasm would raise some eyebrows for those who didn't know the background and weren't expecting dark humor in that situation. Childress has taken some public swipes at Favre, but this wasn't one of them.
And here's one issue I don't get:
I don't have an explanation for why Sunday was only the second 400-yard game in Favre's career. He surpassed that milestone only one other time, in a 1993 loss to the Bears. Favre has thrown for more yards than any other NFL quarterback, but to have done so without throwing more often for 400 yards is pretty interesting. It mostly speaks to Favre's longevity, but it also is a reflection of how relatively meaningless 400-yard games can be. A first ballot Hall of Famer, Favre became the 74th NFL player to throw for 400 yards in victory.