Perhaps the most important was Tomlin's knowledge of the Tampa-2 defensive scheme. A defensive backs coach with Tampa Bay for five seasons, Tomlin knew all the ins and outs of the system. It is the same scheme run by the Vikings' divisional rival and NFC North champion Chicago.
The feeling was that not only would the Vikings' defense be improved playing the Tampa-2, but it also would give the offense a chance to go against the same scheme run by the Bears. Detroit also has added the Tampa-2 under new coach and former Bucs assistant Rod Marinelli, meaning Green Bay is the only NFC North team not using a version of the Cover-2 made popular by Tony Dungy.
On Sunday, the Vikings get their first opportunity to compare themselves to the Bears. Minnesota (2-0) will play host to Chicago (2-0) in a contest that will leave the winner in sole possession of first place in the division. The game has extra meaning for the Vikings because if Chicago does come away victorious, it already will be 3-0 within the division.
In winning their first two games over Green Bay and Detroit by a combined score of 60-7, the Bears have put up offensive statistics that indicate they will provide the Vikings' seventh-ranked defense with a significant challenge.
This should make it all the more interesting to see if Tomlin's defense is legitimate. There is little question that if the Vikings are to win the game it will be low scoring. Minnesota's offense has scored two touchdowns in the first two games and both came in the opener at Washington.
"The Bears are (fifth on defense) and we're seventh, so you can assess it numerically," Childress said when asked to compare the two defenses. "I just think that Lovie (Smith, the Bears' coach) has done an outstanding job. You have to hang your hat on something and that's where they hung it."
Through two games, the Bears are eighth against the rush and 13th against the pass. The Vikings are 17th against the run and ninth against the pass. The loss of starting right end Erasmus James because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament won't help matters.
One reason Tomlin's defense has been a success in the first two games is because of his willingness to adjust. After blitzing about 40 percent of the time in the opener, Tomlin knew Carolina would be expect to see about the same amount of blitzes in Week 2.
Instead, the Vikings sent additional players at Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme about 60 percent of the time and on almost every third down.
Bears quarterback Red Grossman has been outstanding so far, compiling an NFL-best 128.7 quarterback rating, so rattling him won't be easy.
"I know it's always been fashionable to say that they haven't had the offense to go along with the defense," Childress said of the Bears. "They've got the leading passer in the National Football League right now, a full 2 yards above everybody else in his yards per completion.
"A lot of times you have to grow in to those offenses. I think you're seeing, obviously, Rex Grossman mature, along with that offensive line and wide receivers. They are a formidable team, defensively and offensively. Let's face it, they're the NFC North champs, everything goes through Chicago."
BY THE NUMBERS: The Vikings' 18 penalties this season tie them for fourth most in the NFL with Dallas and Washington.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I feel like it's worse because you have an opportunity to miss big hits as a receiver, but when it comes to kickoff returns you have to hit it and try to get up in there and try to make something happen." — Troy Williamson on the fact he feels returning kicks is more dangerous than catching passes.