Brad Childress' future with the Vikings is taking a beating with every beating his team takes, but it doesn't appear his firing is imminent.
ESPN reported that owner Zygi Wilf said "he would not consider firing Childress," but the report also seemed to cast doubt on that statement by saying that Wilf was traveling to Minneapolis. It didn't say when Wilf was coming to Minneapolis, and he could be making the trip simply to join his wife, Aubrey, who is expected to take part in a Vikings Women's event on Tuesday.
With the Vikings' 27-13 loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday, they fall to 3-6 and are looking up at the 6-3 Bears and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North Division. The Vikings also lost to both the Packers and Bears already and face the Packers Sunday in the Metrodome.
The Vikings' playoff prospects are clearly dwindling, but Childress said after the latest loss that he can't concern himself with the playoffs. His focus is more immediate.
"I can't worry about (playoff) chances. Just like I told these guys today, coming out from the second half, you know, all of our focus has to be on what's directly in front of us," Childress said Sunday. "We weren't able to get done what we needed to get done today, but all of our focus has to go to Green Bay. We can't worry about all of the other eventualities in the NFL."
Childress wasn't getting into specifics on just how desperate the situation is getting for the Vikings.
"I don't know," he said when asked if next Sunday is a do-or-die game. "It's too crazy of a league to get in the prediction business."
If he wants to keep his focus more immediate, the question is whether Childress will still be the coach when the Vikings take to Mall of America Field next Sunday.
"Until I get any word differently, yeah," Childress said.
Childress' job status has been in question since he released receiver Randy Moss less than a month after trading away a third-round pick to acquire him. Moss reportedly told Wilf that Childress should be fired after the Vikings lost to the New England Patriots on Oct. 31. The following day, Childress informed his players that he was releasing Moss, before he had informed key front-office members or Wilf.
The news even took some players by surprise. Brett Favre described to NFL Network the players' reaction when they were informed of Childress' decision to release Moss.
"What happened? He was here. He caught my 500th touchdown pass. Where did he go? … We were probably as surprised or shocked as when we found out he was coming in," Favre said. "I give Zygi Wilf credit. You don't know if a guy will fit, won't fit, but you've got to take a chance sometimes."
Several Vikings veterans said after their win against the Cardinals on Nov. 7 that they won for themselves, not to save the job of their embattled coach.
On Sunday, many fans questioned the Vikings' effort, but Childress disagreed with that assessment.
"I sure didn't sense that. I thought we had a pretty good spark about us early on, being able to drive the football," he said. "We would have liked to have had seven. It sure would give us a little bit more juice, but I didn't see that. We were probably a little dejected there, but we have to get back on the field … But I didn't sense lack of effort."
With seven games remaining, the preseason Super Bowl hopes of the Vikings are fading quickly and the players know it.
"We are running out of games. The way we're playing, it will take but a couple more losses and we will be out of it. That's just being honest," Favre said. "I don't know how to sugarcoat it. If we don't play any better than the way we played (Sunday), or the way we did for 56 minutes last week, the writing is on the wall. I would love to sit here and tell you something different, but that is the way it is."
That leaves Childress to deal with speculation about his job being on the line for the third straight week.
"You deal with it. You know, it's not something you're happy to deal with, but you deal with what's out there," Childress said. "My name is behind the Vikings team. It all starts with me, so if it gets directed at us, it's all a part of the equation."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.
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