NFL Nation: Brad Childess

Posted by ESPN.com's' Kevin Seifert

One of the favorite whipping boys of Minnesota fans, and occasionally this blog, finally got his first interception of the season Sunday at Arizona. That play, combined with an apparent evening out of his overall play, drew some high praise this week from normally-conservative coach Brad Childress.

Asked about cornerback Cedric Griffin, Childress said:

"I've just seen continual growth from Cedric. I think he's an "A" competitor, first of all, and he's turning into an "A" technician. He has long arms. He can put his hands on you and jam you. He can get up in your grill and deviate you at the line of scrimmage, which is important with those wide receivers that can really run. I think he's paying attention to detail. While some [reporters] may have perceived him as a liability, I think he's become a strong football player. I know he wishes he would have caught a couple more balls, but the point is he's in position to make plays. He's playing at a very good level right now."

Opponents naturally throw more toward Griffin than fellow cornerback Antoine Winfield. But earlier this season, they were rewarded handsomely for picking on Griffin -- a player who seemingly never met a 5-yard cushion that didn't deserve another 3 yards tacked on.

But cornerback can be a tough position to judge from the outside. In the Vikings' scheme, Griffin at times has been asked to keep the ball in front of him at all costs -- hence the cushion. Whether he is simply trying to pump up Griffin with public praise, Childress' strong comments were notable and spurred Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune to delve deeper into Griffin's season.

For us, we'll continue our jaunt around the division:

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

CHICAGO -- It's always fun to read the cheap shots and one-liners from newspaper columnists the day after a game as wild as Chicago's 48-41 victory Sunday at Soldier Field. Before jumping on a plane, we wanted to bring you a few of the highlights.

Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune summed up the afternoon nicely:

What a silly, fun, exhausting game this was. If you blinked, you likely missed a blocked punt. If you turned away, you probably missed a muffed punt. If you blinked and turned away at the same time, well, you were better at multitasking than the Vikings, who couldn't seem to think and play special teams at the same time.

Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times had some trouble spitting out nice words on quarterback Kyle Orton:

Kyle Orton is for real. He is the leader of the Bears. I'll need a little more time before going further.

Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press heard Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen predict the team would be different when it returns from its bye and couldn't help but mock it:

Gosh, I hope it's the Giants or the Steelers. You know, somebody good. But after listening a bit more, it became clear that he meant the Vikings would look different when they come back from the bye week. That didn't excite me nearly as much. Something about putting lipstick on a pig.

Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune found humor in a throwaway line from coach Brad Childress:

The players acted oddly nonchalant about the loss, and Childress was loathe to criticize anyone, even the punter who dropped, then drop-kicked, the ball. "Accentuate the positive,'' Childress said. "Eliminate the negative." Those are lyrics from a hit song from the 1940s performed by such hip-hop stars as Bing Crosby, Perry Como and the Andrews Sisters. There is a chance that Childress, who coaches edgy young men, may not be reaching his targeted demographic.

We'll bring you more on this game and the rest of the NFC North later today. But first, let's continue our morning roundup:

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune tells the story of Bears defensive back Zackary Bowman, who had a touchdown and interception in his first NFL game. Bowman spent his formative years in Alaska.
  • Green Bay tailback Ryan Grant is slowly rounding into shape, writes Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "We're moving on the right track," Grant said. "I don't feel like I'm doing what I've been doing and what I need to be doing. So, I don't want to say it's back yet because I'm not performing at the level that I need to be. But we're getting better, and I'm going to get better."
  • All things considered, the Packers' 34-14 victory over Indianapolis was everything they could have hoped for, writes Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. "That's what it looks like right there," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's the way you want to go into the bye."
  • Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson had the two longest catches of his career, a 96-yard touchdown and a 58-yard "Hail Mary" reception to end the first half of a 28-21 loss at Houston. But as Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com writes, the postgame question was why the Lions didn't throw his way more.
  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press has some fun with years of Lions incompetence.

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