Monday, November 22, 2010
Hope finally eludes Zygi Wilf
By Kevin Seifert
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- As you've heard by now, the Minnesota Vikings have fired coach Brad Childress and replaced him with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for the rest of the season. In other words, Childress was a programmatic non-fit.
(Sorry, had to get that out of the way.)
The Vikings fired Brad Childress, right, and Leslie Frazier has been named interim coach.
We'll have plenty on this move throughout the day. But at the outset, I think we can all agree this move almost certainly came too late to salvage the 2010 season. At 3-7, the Vikings would be hard-pressed to make the playoffs even if they run the table. So why did this happen now?
As I've written before, I really don't think owner Zygi Wilf wanted to make this move. He stayed the course even after Childress directly defied him by waiving receiver Randy Moss earlier this month. He allowed himself to be deluded by a historic comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals, and then watched as the Vikings' season faded with consecutive losses to their division rivals.
We'll wait to hear from Wilf later Monday afternoon, but it sure appears that this season caught him by surprise and put him on his leadership heels.
The Vikings went to overtime in the NFC Championship Game a year ago, and Wilf fully expected a repeat season this year. Even as players rebelled privately and publicly, Wilf held out hope that his original handpicked coach could engineer a turnaround. It wasn't until anarchy consumed the team during Sunday's 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers that Wilf finally and reluctantly made the call.
If you're a Vikings fan, the one positive you can glean is that your team's owner wasn't willing to indefinitely allow chaos to reign. Childress proved powerless to stop the bleeding, but to be clear, this franchise's problems range far beyond the coach. In the coming months, Wilf will face serious questions about his entire leadership structure, as well as a pending roster overhaul that will almost certainly set back the team in the short term.
The Vikings have scheduled a 4 p.m. ET news conference with Wilf and Frazier. We'll have more in a bit.