Childress' Style Still Emerging

New Vikings coach Brad Childress warned reporters last week that he isn't going to do their jobs for them. While Childress appears to be a likable guy, he also isn't going to fill a notebook full of quotes and game plans. At least that's the initial impression.

Vikings head coach Brad Childress isn't sure how to describe himself. At this point, most media types – usually never at a loss for words – probably aren't sure either.

Conservative might be the best word. Childress is guarded with his time and his words, and, despite his time out East as offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, Childress still thinks of himself as a Midwest guy.

"The only thing I know how to do is be myself. I'm not going to be Andy Reid or Dick Vermeil. I'm just me," he said.

He elaborated a little bit more when it came to talking about his coaching style: "Direct, not afraid to laugh, have a joke, but making sure that everybody is about their business. It's a great profession they're in. They're paying them handsomely to do their job and do it well."

Childress is a native of Aurura, Ill., and attended Marmion Military High School, which, along with his clean-cut image, may have made Childress an admirable candidate for owner Zygi Wilf, who repeatedly stated that he wants to clean up the perception of the team off the field and keep his employees involved in the community.

While Childress isn't expected to run a military operation the way former head coach Les Steckel did when he ran the team ragged and into rebellion in a 3-13 season in 1984, his only season as head coach in the National Football League, Childress said most of his training camp practices will have live-contact periods.

"Football is a physical game. It's hard to compromise that," he said. "It's hard to have a football season without training camp. … There has to be a physical element to it. We will probably scrimmage some segment every day. Whether it's goal-line or short yardage, some segment will be live every day. That's one thing we prided ourselves on in Philadelphia. It wasn't just shorts-and-shades practices or anything like that."

Childress, like all new head coaches in the NFL, is allowed an extra mandatory minicamp, which he said will likely be a veteran camp two weekends before the April 29-30 NFL draft.

"It allows you to see what your team looks like at that time, get back together on the field," he said of the extra session. "It allows you to start to implement that system in a way your coaches are thinking, even though we will have had some informal get-togethers with those guys that went through the offseason program.

"It lets you form a mind's-eye picture of what your team looks like. If there's something that glares at you, you still have two weeks before the draft, where you say, ‘This is what our team looks like and now, wow, we need one of those or that's not good enough. We've got to be better at that position.' I think it paints a good picture that way."

Very slowly and with a guarded approach, the public and his players are getting to know Childress, but the players and assistant coaches will learn quickly there is one thing they shouldn't say to the first-year head coach: "‘We've never done it that way before.' Don't do that, players or anybody," Childress said when asked about his pet peeve. "You can shape that a lot of different ways and get it to me, but don't get it to me in that form."


While the previous coaching staff was forced to have its offensive line coach also be its offensive coordinator, Childress is afforded the opportunity under the Wilfs to have two offensive line coaches, Jim Hueber and Pat Morris.

"It's good to get it with different perspectives from those guys. … I think it lends more eyes on it, and those guys are experts. They've coached five by themselves," Childress said.

He said he doesn't believe one of those coaches will be responsible for guards and centers while another is responsible for tackles. Each will likely work with all of the offensive linemen, Childress said.

While Childress has named Brian Murphy as assistant special teams coach, a lead special teams coach or coordinator hasn't been named yet. However, Childress doesn't expect to retain Tice's special teams coach, Rusty Tillman.

"Rusty is very good, but I've got another guy in mind," Childress said.


According to a published report, former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is expected to be named the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Linehan left the Vikings to become offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins after then owner Red McCombs refused to give Linehan more than a one-year contract.

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