The Vikings locker room was as excited as it has been all season and the perception was that there was the potential that not only could the Vikings' 2010 season go down the drain with a loss, but also Childress' tenure with the Vikings.
Fans outside the Metrodome were chanting "Fire Childress!" Many carried signs if it was a WWE episode of "Monday Night Raw" that expressed the same sentiment. Local hucksters were selling T-shirts with the same basic message, which wasn't lost on the players.
When asked if he thought Childress had a lot on his mind, Adrian Peterson said they all heard the chants from the crowd. Following the National Anthem, the star running back gave his coach a sympathy hug because he knew there was a lot of pressure on him and felt some of his pain.
"You come out and hear those chants, ‘Fire Childress,'" Peterson said. "It's a tough situation, not to point anyone out. Some players miss tackles. I might mess up. But, at the end of the day, it's a job."
That job got spared when the Vikings scored two touchdowns in the final minutes of regulation and won the game in overtime. Whether they were playing for Childress or themselves, each player had a different motivation for Sunday's thrilling win, but Peterson admitted he knew the pressure Chilly and the entire team was under.
"Did I feel I was playing for the coach's job?" Peterson asked. "Me, personally, I have a lot of respect for Coach Childress. My main goal is to win a championship each year. I know not only would I get that ring, but Coach Childress would get that ring. We are all in this together, so I fight for everyone around me."
The disagreements between the players and their coach aren't that unusual. There have been moments that have caused friction between players and the coach. A veteran council of players was developed due to a lack of communication between players and Childress. Matt Birk wasn't a big fan and was allowed to leave. Peterson himself was upset that the Vikings let fullback Tony Richardson , who had been a key mentor to Peterson as he made his transition to the pros, walk.
In the end, the players may have been more self-motivated than to "win one for the Gipper." In the tumultuous 2005 season punctuated by the Love Boat scandal that led to Mike Tice's ouster, the Vikings won one for the Skipper to close the season, but it didn't stop the hammer from falling. In the end, everyone needed a win, not just the head coach.
"I felt like I was playing for (my job)," Brett Favre said. "Do I always get along with my head coach, quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator? No. Do I always agree with the plays that were called? No. Why should that factor in to me wanting to be the best player I can be? Whether Brad is the head coach or not, that should never change the way you approach it."
Whether the future for Childress gets brighter from the dim state it was in heading into Sunday's game won't really be known until later in the season, but one thing that can be agreed on, had the Vikings lost Sunday, for all intents, their season would be over. To make they playoffs, they likely would have needed to run the table. Sunday's win kept wiggle room in that equation. For those who wanted Childress fired, they can live to complain another day.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.