Childress a third-generation disciple of Bill Walsh
Vikings head coach Brad Childress, a firm believer in the West Coast Offense, is a third-generation Bill Walsh disciple. He never worked for the legendary coach who passed away on Monday, but the family tree back to Walsh is clear.
Childress worked for Andy Reid with the Philadephia Eagles, first as his quarterbacks coach (1999-2002) and then as his offensive coordinator (2003-2005).
Andy Reid worked for Mike Holmgren with the Green Bay Packers as an offensive assistant (1992-94), offensive line coach (1995-96) and quarterbacks/assistant head coach (1997-98) before becoming the head coach of the Eagles.
Mike Holmgren worked for Bill Walsh with the San Francisco 49ers as his quarterbacks coach (1986-88) and offensive coordinator (1989-91) before becoming the head coach with the Packers.
Also worth noting is that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf had tremendous respect for Walsh and personally sought advice from him after buying the team in 2005. In fact, many of the characteristics that Wilf and Childress are trying to bring to the organization sound very similar to the 49ers organization that won five Super Bowl titles during that era.
Of course, although Walsh is often credited with “inventing” the West Coast Offense that featured a quick-rhythm, ball-control passing attack, but it was being run by former Vikings offensive coordinator Jerry Burns before that.
Walsh was also credited with scripting plays to start games, but former Vikings offensive coordinator Bob Schnelker also did that.
Regardless, it was Walsh who articulated what has become the West Coast Offense and it was Walsh to personally pushed to advance the careers of several coaches in what will become the Bill Walsh legacy.
Credit Vikings for closing deal with Peterson
You have to give the Vikings some credit for making the deal with running back Adrian Peterson happen without a more significant absence from training camp. The Vikings probably still had more leverage left and would appear to have given Peterson a better-than-market deal in agreeing to a five-year deal worth $40.5 million, including $17 million in guaranteed money.
Owner Zygi Wilf had to have given the go ahead for Rob Brzezinski and his team to close the deal and get the promising rookie in camp. If Peterson pans out, he’s the kind of player who will likely be a Viking for life.
Past two drafts looking strong
Virtually all of the team’s rookies from this year’s draft have made positive early impressions in training camp. And, last year’s draft crop is also progressing nicely.
From the 2006 pool, five players are currently listed as starters on the team’s depth chart – weakside linebacker Chad Greenway (1st), cornerback Cedric Griffin (2nd), right tackle Ryan Cook (2nd), quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (2nd) and right end Ray Edwards (4th).
It’s too early to hand out starting positions to this year’s draftees, but all have lived up to expectations for the most part so far.
Running back Adrian Peterson (1st) will play a lot as a rookie. Sidney Rice (2nd) is getting every possible opportunity to crack the top three at wide receiver. Marcus McCauley (3rd) appears to be the early frontrunner for the nickel cornerback role and has had a very impressive camp so far. Brian Robison (4th) has flashed big-play ability at right end. Wide receiver Aundrae Allison (5th) has been consistent catching the ball and is in the hunt for return duties. Rufus Alexander (6th) has made some plays in drills and looks like he’ll make the squad as a backup and special teamer. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen (7th) has at least held his own in the competition with Drew Henson for the No. 3 quarterback job. Wide receiver Chandler Williams (7th) has not stood out but hasn’t hurt himself, either. He is also getting a look in the return game.
A year from now, these two drafts could represent the core of the football team’s starting lineup.
What does it say about Daunte Culpepper that the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Tim Couch instead? Despite Mike Tice’s supposed influence with the Jags, they opted for Tim Couch instead. Word is that Culpepper is demanding a one-year deal in hopes he can cash in again after redeeming himself. Culpepper is going to end up signing for close to the NFL minimum for veterans if he even wants a chance somewhere.
Latest word is that Culpepper visited with the Oakland Raiders, where top pick JaMarcus Russell is still unsigned. Since acting as his own agent, it’s hard to say that Culpepper has represented himself very effectively.
Childress, in a KFAN interview, praised the training camp of backup running back Mewelde Moore, specifically calling him out for improvements he’s seen from him in camp this year that he did not see last year; in particular his decisiveness going into the line.
Worth noting is that Peterson has looked very natural catching the ball so far, both in minicamp workouts and early training camp action. Where he still shows room for improvement has been on pass protection, often the Achilles heel for rookie running backs.
The team’s depth at defensive end looks extremely solid. At left end Kenechi Udeze, Darrion Scott and Jayme Mitchell At right end, all have earned the notice of Childress. Ray Edwards, Robison and Khreem Smith have also earned praise from the top dog (sorry, poor choice of words these days). We’ll go with the head coach.
One has to be impressed with the chemistry seen on the team’s coaching staff. Childress has assembled a very strong staff. Receivers coach George Stewart has clearly upgraded the one glaring weakness in that regard a year ago, and new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, though of a very different working style, has earned the players’ respect from the start.
Peterson is quickly becoming a fan favorite, and that’s even before he’s carried the ball once in a preseason game.