The first-year Vikings coach and his team will take its 3-2 record to Seattle this weekend to face one of the NFC's best clubs. Sure, the Seahawks won't have Pro Bowl running back Shaun Alexander but they promise to provide a tough test for Minnesota, which had to rally at home against lowly Detroit to avoid heading into the bye at one-game under .500.
Playing in noisy Qwest Field will make life that much more difficult for a Vikings offense that is still looking to get on track and has only outscored the defense by one touchdown (4-3) this season.
This game also will mark the return of Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson to Seattle for the first time since he bolted town to sign a seven-year, $49 million deal with the Vikings last spring. That, of course, sparked the "Poison Pill" battle that saw the Seahawks pry restricted free agent receiver Nate Burleson away from Minnesota.
While the Vikings obviously got the better of the deal, emotions are sure to run high on the field and in the stands as Hutchinson figures to get a very icy reception from spurned fans.
Childress, meanwhile, is hoping the focus remains on his team's attempt to get off to a good start out of the bye. He certainly isn't banking on Alexander's absence being that helpful.
"I think they've got enough tools with obviously (quarterback Matt) Hasselbeck," Childress said. "That's kind of the guy that dishes the football out. He has pretty wide latitude right now on run-pass, on changing plays at the line of scrimmage, and I think he and their receiving corps and the offensive line and Mack (Strong) will be plenty for us."
If the Vikings continue to look sluggish on offense, or look sluggish at all, there could be some questions about Childress' decision to allow his players to have what essentially amounted to a seven-day break.
Quarterback Brad Johnson admitted, "Everyone is jealous throughout the league," when asked about the Vikings' hiatus. But they won't be jealous if the Vikings come out and lay an egg in a city where they have lost four of five games and haven't won since 1990.
The last two times the Vikings have played in Seattle they have been blown out by 25 and 22 points. The first of those defeats came in 1996 and the second in 2002.
Childress, of course, wasn't around for those losses and neither was defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who miraculously has his defense in the top five in the NFL in his first season.
This, though, figures to be one of the Vikings' toughest tests of the first half of the season and things don't figure to get much easier in Week 8 when they play host to New England in a Monday night game.
SERIES HISTORY: 10th meeting. The Seahawks lead the series 6-3. This will mark the sixth time in franchise history the Vikings have played at Seattle. Minnesota's only win in Seattle came in 1990 at the Kingdome. The teams met for the first time in 1976 when Seattle was an expansion team. The Vikings won that game 27-21 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn. Seattle then won the next three meetings.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3-1 — Vikings record coming out of the bye week over the past four seasons. The Vikings' only defeat came in 2005 when they lost at Chicago.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It would be a good test to see where we are at, especially as a rushing defense. I think we stop the run pretty good. ... It would be nice to play against the reigning MVP to see where we match up." — Weak-side linebacker E.J. Henderson on the fact Seattle running back Shaun Alexander will miss Sunday's game because of a broken foot.