Vikings coach Brad Childress said now is not the time to start playing for the future. He is going to continue focusing on winning this year and avoid inserting developmental players, at least for now.
The Vikings have dropped four consecutive games and at 4-6 are a distant 12th in the NFC playoff race. But first-year coach Brad Childress said Monday he remains focused on this season.
"I'm not going to cast my gaze to next year, or the future, or any of that kind of stuff," Childress said a day after the Vikings' 24-20 loss at Miami. "You owe it to this football team to put us in the best position to win and play the best people that put us in a position to win.
"That assessment is ongoing. You have a certain number of chips that you can use, but those are the people that I want on the football field."
The question, though, is at what point does Childress decide to give some of his younger players a longer look? Rookie Tarvaris Jackson
, a second-round pick, is obviously the Vikings' quarterback of the future and could benefit from some playing time this season.
That, of course, would have to come in a situation with little pressure and few expectations. Odds are that would be in the final month of the season after the Vikings play the Bears at Soldier Field on Dec. 3. Minnesota closes its season with games at Detroit, against the Jets, at Green Bay and against St. Louis.
Childress made it clear Monday he has no immediate intention of replacing Brad Johnson
as his quarterback. So when might Childress cast his gaze toward 2007?
"If it would (happen), it would be down the road," he said. "I'm not going to fix a number to that. But right now is not the time."
RB Chester Taylor, who lost two key fumbles in the fourth-quarter of the loss to Miami, had only one fumble while rushing in the first nine games of the season. "It's real disappointing because I pride myself on not fumbling and did a great job up to now (of not doing it)," Taylor said. "I just have to protect the ball a lot better."
LB Napoleon Harris was happy to be back Sunday after missing two games because of a fractured left wrist. However, the loss left a bad taste in his mouth. "It felt all right, getting back in there," he said. "It always feels good to come back and play the game you love. It doesn't feel good to lose, though."
C Matt Birk on the Vikings' struggles during their four-game losing streak: "It's kind of like we're running into a brick wall. Sooner or later, you hope you're going to get through it. Unfortunately, I just don't think we're good enough to overcome self-inflicted mistakes. The other team is going to make enough plays as it is. You can't hurt yourself with penalties and turnovers. We just can't overcome that. We need to be tighter and more efficient to win games."
RG Artis Hicks has a sprained left ankle and is likely to be listed as questionable on the first injury report of the week Wednesday. Hicks was injured in the first half Sunday and was replaced by Jason Whittle.
RT Marcus Johnson has a sprained left ankle and probably will be listed as questionable. Johnson left in the second half Sunday as veteran Mike Rosenthal took over.
CB Cedric Griffin had an MRI for a neck stinger Monday but results were not immediately available.
CB Charles Gordon replaced Cedric Griffin in the nickel after he was injured. Gordon has moved ahead of Ronyell Whitaker on the depth chart.
CB Antoine Winfield underwent tests Monday after suffering a concussion a day earlier. Coach Brad Childress expects Winfield will be fine.
DE Jayme Mitchell suffered an AC sprain in his shoulder Sunday but coach Brad Childress expects the rookie to be fine for next Sunday's game against Arizona.
WR Marcus Robinson played in Sunday's loss at Miami after missing the previous three contests because of a lower-back injury. He caught one pass for 17 yards.
MLB Napoleon Harris played Sunday after missing two games because of a dislocated left wrist. Harris, who wore a large amount of wrapping over the cast on his wrist, finished with six tackles.