Leslie Frazier hopes to repeat the feat this Sunday when the Vikings again visit the Redskins. Frazier was named the Vikings' coach for the remainder of the season on Monday after Childress was jettisoned.
Childress had been on shaky ground since his decision to release wide receiver Randy Moss in early November without first getting approval from ownership.
The tipping point, however, came Sunday as the Vikings' suffered an embarrassing 31-3 loss to arch-rival Green Bay at Mall of America Field.
The Vikings had several sideline meltdowns and fell to 3-7, putting them one game ahead of last-place Detroit in the NFC North. Owner Zygi Wilf had seen enough from a team that has one of the NFL's highest payrolls and made a run to the NFC Championship Game last season.
Turning things around won't be easy.
Frazier, who has served as the Vikings' defensive coordinator since 2007, will inherit a team that is attempting to end a nine-game road losing streak. The last time the Vikings won on the road was Nov. 1, 2009, when they beat the Packers 38-26.
It will be interesting to see what type of boost the Vikings get from the move to Frazier, who was on the Colts' staff for two years before joining the Vikings. He is very good friends with Tony Dungy.
Frazier is definitely in the Dungy mold, too, and has excellent people skills. That was one area where Childress was lacking, and that made relating to players difficult.
Frazier's issue is that the Vikings are essentially out of the playoff race and motivating some players might be a bit difficult. That's why the move probably was made too late.
There had been a feeling that Wilf might make a change before or right after the Vikings played Arizona on Nov. 7.
If that had happened, Frazier might have had a chance to audition for the permanent job while Minnesota remained in serious contention for a postseason spot.
Nonetheless, linebacker Chad Greenway said there will be a simple motivation in playing for Frazier.
"I think it's to start with just trying to turn the season around," Greenway said. "If you finish the season 8-8 or 9-7 it looks like a real positive. Not only for Coach Frazier, but also just for us as players to know that we were really in a bind and we had to fight out of it. Doesn't mean it's going to happen. Obviously, there are a lot of things that have to go into that. But I think my rallying point is it's got to be about our pride. We have to go in there and just be able to fight and (give) our best effort. We can't go in there and get beat 31-3 every week because we're going to lose our fans, we'll lose a lot of respect around the league."
SERIES HISTORY: 15th regular-season meeting. Washington leads the series, 8-6. This is the 20th meeting overall. The Redskins are 3-2 against the Vikings in the postseason, including a 17-10 victory in the NFC Championship Game after the 1987 season.