After being the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia under Andy Reid, Childress got his big break when the Vikings hired him as their head coach in 2006, not wanting him to interview for the same position with the Green Bay Packers. Immediately, Childress took to cleaning up the organization. He came in with a heavy hand and said it's always easier to start out strong and pull back than try to gain control gradually.
Childress quickly butted heads with newly hired personnel man Fran Foley, who lost out on his own power struggle within the organization and was fired after conducting his first draft in 2006. With Foley out, Childress gained quite a bit of control in the personnel decisions and was a big reason the Vikings traded up in the second round in 2006 to draft quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Childress saw an opportunity to develop a quarterback in the same way he had done with Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. However, Jackson never came close to McNabb's stature.
Throughout his tenure in Minnesota, Childress gained a reputation for being hard on quarterbacks, as several veterans marveled at the lack of control they had in making changes at the line of scrimmage to plays that were called. Whether or not Childress learned from that lesson remains to be seen if the Browns continue on with a veteran approach. Or will Childress be able to develop a rookie quarterback as so fondly and repeatedly recalled doing with McNabb?
Childress is a disciple of the West Coast offense, stemming from his days with Reid. In his first season in Minnesota, Childress, knowing the offensive personnel wasn't in place for a skilled passing game, relied heavily on the run with free-agent acquisition Chester Taylor, who had his best season as a pro. However, in 2007 Childress and company drafted Adrian Peterson. The drawback, however, was an offensive line that never seemed to play up to its potential – was that coaching, too? And Childress quickly rubbed Pro Bowl center Matt Birk the wrong way, as well.
Eventually, feeling the heat to have his team become a playoff contender, Childress turned to Brett Favre, luring him out of one of his "retirements" for an NFC Championship run in 2009. However, with Favre turning 40 and finally showing his age and the Vikings stumbling their way to a 3-7 start in 2010, Childress was fired, leaving behind an aging roster that didn't have a young quarterback to assume the reins.
Childress came to Minnesota as a respected, well-like coordinator from Philadelphia, but he may have come down too hard on players while trying to instill some institutional control after the Love Boat scandal that rocked the organization under Mike Tice. If Childress can return to the more relaxed, personable coach he was under Reid, he may be able to build something with the Browns and whatever quarterback he rides.