It's not unusual when coaches come into a new situation that they gravitate toward the familiar. All one needs to do is take a look at the Cardinals and Rams, where Dennis Green and Scott Linehan have dotted both their coaching and player rosters with personnel they had in Minnesota. When Mike Tice went to the Jaguars, he gave a strong recommend to CB Brian Williams, who was rewarded with a huge contract by the Jags in free agency.
So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Vikings coach Brad Childress has added three former Eagles to his offense with the Vikings.
When it became clear that things weren't going to work out between Childress and Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings wasted little time in signing Eagles backup Mike McMahon as Brad Johnson's backup at QB. While McMahon isn't viewed as a world-beater at quarterback, he knows the terminology of the West Coast Offense and, at a minimum, will likely be the voice in Johnson's helmet as he learns the new system and has McMahon relaying plays to him.
Guard Artis Hicks was the second piece of the trifecta puzzle. Spending most of his three seasons with the Eagles as a starter, it was clear that Andy Reid was leaning toward giving the starting right guard spot to second-year man Todd Herremans -- making Hicks an unexpected casualty. The Vikings worked out a draft weekend trade and, almost immediately, Childress announced that Hicks would enter training camp as the team's starting right guard. Over the past couple of seasons the RG position has been one of constant turnover and disappointment and, with the line much more solidified with the return of Matt Birk and the signing of Steve Hutchinson, the Vikings O-line has gone from a position of weakness to one of strength.
The third portion of the equation came through last week with the trade of rookie WR Hank Baskett to the Eagles for fourth-year receiver Billy McMullen. McMullen, who never fully fit in with the Eagles, also is well-versed in the terminology of Childress' variant of the WCO. The trade of Baskett shouldn't have come as any surprise, because he had been of the belief that he was going to be a Day Two selection of the Eagles on draft weekend. Philly was the only team that worked out Baskett prior to the draft and had him into the team's practice facility. He told the local Eagles media that he was shocked when he wasn't taken by the Eagles on draft weekend, but feels more at home with them than he had with the Vikings.
While none of the three players brought into the Vikings system from Philadelphia are likely to have a huge impact on the team's success or failure in 2006, all three were brought in for a reason and, with their familiarity with Childress and his system, could have a leg up on hanging on as members of the team's final 53-man roster at the end of August.
* An arbitrator will hear testimony in the Fran Foley wrongful termination claim on Thursday.
Putting the Band Back Together
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