Brad Childress is usually so reserved when it comes to comments about his team and so tight with information that it's difficult for fans to see any personality.
That changed a little bit on a few different occasions this week as the Vikings prepared for an important NFC North matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Childress poked fun at Wisconsin, the state where he lived from 1991-1998 while an assistant coach with the Badgers.
Childress was asked several different questions this week and took the opportunity to poke fun at Minnesota's border state.
He was asked if there was a common component leading to the Vikings losing all their road games since traveling to Lambeau Field last year. "I don't think it's like ptomaine poisoning or anything like that, but you never know at the Paper Valley Inn," he said, referring to the hotel where the team often stays.
Of course, Packers fans are well-known for their tailgating, and a night game will only help the crowd get sauced up. During an interview on Sirius NFL Radio, Childress pointed out that they have the "most brandy per capita of any state in the United States in Wisconsin."
Fact or not – does it matter in this case – it was an opportunity to jab Wisconsin with a dull stick, and frankly this rivalry could use more of that on both sides.
"(Packers week) will take a life of its own. Last year they even drug around coffins up in Green Bay. They're got creative people in Wisconsin … they are born and bred that way," Childress said. "They bleed Green. I get it. I get it. There's actually some dressed in wolves clothing or sheep's clothing over here. They claim they're Vikings fans, but they cross that river."
Childress said living in Wisconsin for eight years gave him an inside track into poking Packers fans, but it's too bad he doesn't let his wit show through more. It's there, but he's too busy trying to protect strategy and keep the real information at arm's length.
Childress will never be standing up for a night at the improv, but his flat-line approach (a quality he likes in his players) to dealing with the media and fans hurts his ability to build momentum towards fans embracing him. He has been winning enough the last few years to keep him on board, but he has a chance to really connect if he wants … and there is no better time to do that than when he's got the talent to take the Vikings to next level.
That time is now. If only there were 16 games against the Packers, fans might see more personality and less flat-lining.
KICKING HIS POINT HOME
Vikings punter Chris Kluwe took a stand last week against the NFL's increased enforcement against hits to the helmet on defenseless players.
The league fined three players a total of $175,000 for hits in last weekend's games and sent a memo and video to all teams to drive home the point. Players throughout the league, including several Vikings, took issue with the rules crackdown, but Kluwe – a punter of all people – had the most humorous way of dealing with it.
Throughout the week, Kluwe was posting about the rules and the hit he took during a Dallas punt return.
"Did anyone get the license plate number of that @Dez_88 that ran me over?" Kluwe asked, adding the amusing hashtags #guessigetcreditforatackle and #feellikeaspeedbump.
What got Kluwe some love on "Jim Rome is Burning" was his locker room illustration and interpretation of the NFL's video. He drew stick figured to illustrate a player launching himself into another one, pointing at one of the illustrations and writing, "QB or Receiver that makes $10M – Illegal." Pointing to another set of stick figures, he wrote, "Punter or anyone else we don't give a (expletive) about – Legal."
He added a message at the bottom as well: "We at the league office are totally concerned about integrity! Seriously! No really, we totally are!"
After posting a picture of his drawing and message, he continued to tweet about it.
And then on his way to Green Bay, Kluwe added this as Barack Obama was visiting the Twin Cities: "Looks like our flight out is delayed because some guy called 'The President' is landing. I've never seen Harrison Ford in person before."
For the record, Childress wasn't grading Kluwe's illustration, but he mentioned the entertaining story at the top of his Friday meeting with reporters.
"I understand that we have an illustrator in our midst. We have great freedom of speech in our locker room, which I know you writers of the word agree with that," Childress said. "That's my only comments on the matter."
WINNING ONE FOR FAVRE
For the second time in three weeks, Brett Favre is playing one of his former teams. After facing the New York Jets, Favre is traveling back to Lambeau Field as a member of the Vikings for only the second time in his career.
Harvin said the Vikings still want to win for Favre, especially in the midst of the off-field allegations that he is facing.
"Definitely. I'm sure with all the meetings and stuff that he's got to deal with it, I'm sure it's going to be something similar to the Jets," Harvin said. "This team, we've got Brett's back on and off the field, so it doesn't matter the outcome of that. We're going to play a ballgame."
Favre will start his 119th career game at Lambeau Field, the most starts by a quarterback at one stadium in NFL history. Favre is currently tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway, who started 118 games at Denver's Mile High Stadium.
In two games against the Packers last year, Favre completed 41 of 59 of his passes (69.5 percent) for 515 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a 135.9 passer rating.
TWO TO WATCH
Looking for a Viking to bet on scoring a touchdown? History says Randy Moss and Percy Harvin are mostly to succeed.
In his last 14 games against the Packers, including the playoffs, Moss has 14 touchdown catches and seven 100-yard games. He has scored a touchdown in his last six games against Green Bay.
Harvin's history with the Packers isn't as long, but he did score a 51-yard touchdown last year that was pretty impressive. Brett Favre threw into coverage and Harvin not only came down with the ball, but he took a hit, leaving the Packers defenders falling to the ground and ran into the end zone.
Harvin caught five passes for 84 yards last year at Green Bay, but the Packers are also concerned about his kickoff return ability.
"We did a better job of kicking him into the corner the first time around. Second time, we gave him a couple vertical seams and he took advantage of that," Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said. "Fortunately, we had very fast safeties that tackled him. We need to keep him in the cage of the coverage."
Harvin says he's been feeling as explosive as ever since getting his sleep disorder under control. That showed last week with his 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
"That was impressive. He was running vertical and stepped through a couple arm tackles and he was off to the races for a touchdown. He's very impressive," Slocum said.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.