Sunday slant: Heat at home

Brad Childress could be entering a do-or-die game for his coaching future and it appears everything is setting up for an ugly scene at the Metrodome Sunday. Fans are irate over the release of Randy Moss and setting up protests, chants and signage to let owner Zygi Wilf know about their dissatisfaction.

Brett Favre may have been the most relaxed he's been at the podium this year, and that's one man that is remarkably comfortable in front of a cameras and microphones anyway, engaging with a quick wit and a slow southern drawl.

For once this season, the focus wasn't on him – the allegations against him (you remember those, right?), his poor play, his interceptions or even his multitude of injuries. No, this time, the controversy – and that's pretty much been a weekly turntable of events this season – was squarely on Brad Childress' decision to release Randy Moss without the initial input of the front office or ownership. Childress might have final say on his roster, but whether it's written in his contract or not, personnel decisions like releasing a future Hall of Fame player like Randy Moss need to be made with the support of everyone held accountable. Childress can flex his authority with players and even assistant coaches, but this time it appears he rubbed his power in the face of people who are supposed to be his equals in the front office and his superiors in the ownership group.

The former military school pupil, it would appear, overstepped the chain of command and now is squarely in front of the firing squad. Thousands of fans are lining up to fire the first metaphorical bullet, and this time there is an endless supply of ways to deliver the message – chat rooms, message boards, social networks, talk-radio call-in shows, blog comments and even attendance at the stadiums provides fans plenty of ammunition.

Childress tried to advance the theory this week that owner Zygi Wilf was in town because of the elections in Minnesota (even those are going poorly with a delay in new leadership at governor because of a recount). Clearly, Wilf was spending time to figure out what to do about the wreck of a week the team has had.

It started on the field with an ill-advised challenge, perplexing personnel decisions on fourth-and-goal and eventually another loss when wins are becoming confoundinglly hard to come by.

There is clearly a warming trend in early November and the heat is on Childress today at home in the Dome.

After Childress' autonomous decision to release Moss, some players, front-office types and even owner Zygi Wilf reportedly found themselves questioning the move – if not the actual result then the way in which Childress went about it. It was pretty hush-hush among those that usually speak during the week. Childress refused to explain his decision, and not only to the media and fans, but players said they weren't given a reason either.

The closest anyone publicly came to explaining what went on was receiver Greg Camarillo.

"No offense to the fans, but they don't always see the big picture of what goes on inside the walls of this facility," Camarillo said. "Randy is a good player. You can never take anything from that. He's a dominant receiver. But, you know, we need 53 team players and that's what (Childress) emphasized and that's what we have now and that's what we're going to roll forward with."

While Camarillo didn't want to offends fans, they don't seem to care too much if they offend the coach. Childress is being vilified at every turn – on the radio and certainly on the Internet. Minnesotans are often accused of being passive-aggressive. Childress can only hope there is a modicum of passiveness Sunday. But that isn't likely and he knows it.

"I'm not crazy enough to think there won't be catcalls. That's part of the deal. That's every time I walk on and off a field. It's always interesting to hear what the people have to say," Childress said. "That's part of the audience participation thing."

It's looking like Vikings fans and Childress detractors are ready to pounce.

Operators of websites like givechildresstheboot.com are producing t-shirts proclaiming their support for his ouster. Another site that may or may not be affiliated with the aforementioned one, firechilly.com, has created an easy-to-print document with big, bold wording: "FIRE CHILLY" and even includes how the operators of that site want the "official chant" to go – Fi - re Child - ress (clap) (clap) (clap-clap-clap).

On Twitter, there has been a call for fans to bring red challenge flags and wave them at the Metrodome. A message sent to Viking Update on Monday evening, said a Facebook page entitled "Fire Brad Childress Now" started the week at 1,200 followers. By Saturday evening, it had more than 35,000.

It seems all that is missing is the burning pitchforks, but even national media websites are showing the overall fan disapproval of Childress. With over 14,000 votes as of Saturday evening, Childress had only an 11 percent approval rating among fans voting on ESPN.com

The heat is on with Childress to be in center of the firestorm. It's looking more and more like Minnesota Nice is setting up to be more like a slice and dice at the Dome.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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