Wilf Backs Childress

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf gave his public support to head coach Brad Childress this week, despite the team's losing ways of late.

As Brad Childress and his coaching staff regrouped inside their Winter Park offices this week in an attempt to find answers to a 1-3 start, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf made his first extensive comments since the season started.

Wilf's basic message as the Vikings entered their bye week? The second-year head coach has his full support.

"We just feel very comfortable with coach Childress and with his philosophy and we're behind him 100 percent," Wilf said.

That doesn't mean Wilf isn't disappointed. A lifelong fan of the New York Giants before purchasing the Vikings, Wilf is eager to see his team turn things around and is more than willing to spend the money to make sure that happens.

Minnesota started out 4-2 last season under Childress, but things have gone backward since. Last year, the Vikings went 2-8 in the final 10 games and things have not gone any better in 2007.

A season-opening victory over Atlanta has been followed by road losses against Detroit and Kansas City and a defeat last Sunday at home against NFC North rival Green Bay.

It didn't help matters that that victory left the Packers with a 4-0 record.

Wilf's goal is that when the Vikings do turn things around that they stay good for an extended period. He has seen teams go from bad to good and back to bad in quick fashion and realizes the pitfalls with that model.

"We're built to be consistent on the long term," Wilf said. "We have a commitment to getting a team that is not built for a one-shot affair, so to speak. We want to build a team that's consistent for many, many years to come. For decades to come. I think that, I know that, the people that we have in place are the right people."

In addition to supporting Childress, Wilf has raved about the work done by vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman. Spielman doesn't have a general manager's title but does have a major say in all front-office moves.

"We're getting there," Wilf said. "I can see it, and the blueprint definitely is there. We'll get there, and hopefully we'll get there sooner rather than later."

Childress, Spielman and Co. are spending time trying to address why the Vikings have dropped their past three. If they are going to stop the season from becoming a complete disaster, answers are going to have to come quickly.

The Vikings will travel to Chicago and Dallas coming out of the bye and then play host to Philadelphia and San Diego. At one time that appeared to be a brutal four-game stretch but given the fact the Bears, Eagles and Chargers are 1-3, the Vikings might be able to make some headway.

One key will be how Tarvaris Jackson performs upon his return from a groin strain. Jackson has missed the past two games and is expected back on Oct. 14 against Chicago.

Jackson was atrocious in his last start, throwing four interceptions in a Week 2 overtime loss at Detroit. It also will be interesting to see how the Vikings use running back Adrian Peterson after returning from their break.

The rookie has been outstanding when given a chance. But Sunday against the Packers, Peterson only had two rushing attempts and three touches in the second half after rushing for 108 yards on 10 carries in the first half.

This was done in part to get Chester Taylor more time but there is no doubt that Peterson needs to touch the ball more often if the Vikings are going to do anything in 2007.

NOTES

  • Coach Brad Childress gave players Wednesday through Monday off for the bye week. Players watched film and lifted weights Tuesday before departing. The coaching staff will work through Friday.

  • Running back Adrian Peterson has tied the Vikings record for most 100-yard rushing games by a rookie with three. Chuck Foreman also had three in 1973.

  • Peterson set a team record for most yards gained from scrimmage after the season's first four games with 549. Robert Smith had 512 in 1997. Peterson also set a team record for most net yards gained after the first four games of a season with 699. That broke Smith's 1997 total as well.

  • Peterson had a 55-yard run against the Packers on Sunday, the second longest in team history versus Green Bay. Michael Bennett's 62-yard run on Nov. 17, 2002 is the longest.

  • Rookie receiver Sidney Rice's fourth-quarter touchdown catch was the first of his NFL career.

  • Childress is 0-3 against the Packers and Mike McCarthy. Former coach Mike Tice was 5-4 against the Packers, including a playoff victory in 2004. Tice won his final three games against Green Bay.

  • The Vikings are 85-65-2 all-time in the month of September but 3-4 in the month under Childress.

  • With Foreman entering the team's Ring of Honor on Sunday, the Vikings wore throwback uniforms from the 1970s. It will be the only time the team wears them this season. Clubs are allowed to wear a third jersey twice during a season but must make their intentions known in the spring. The Vikings could look to wear the throwbacks again next year.

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson should return to practicing at full speed when the Vikings begin on-field preparations for their Oct. 14 game against Chicago a week from Wednesday. Jackson has missed the past two games because of a strained groin.

  • QB Kelly Holcomb has started the past two games but is expected to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Jackson. Holcomb spent the first two games as the No. 3 quarterback behind Jackson and Brooks Bollinger but that was because the veteran was learning the Vikings' system.

  • DE Erasmus James remains a spectator on Sundays as he continues to try to get his surgically repaired knee to 100 percent. James has not played in a game since Week 2 of last season against Carolina, when he was injured. He has been practicing this season but the coaching staff does not feel he is ready yet.

  • S Dwight Smith should benefit from the week of rest for his ailing hamstring. Smith has been limited in practice the past two weeks but continued to play in games.

  • There is no sign the Vikings will stop the plan of having Artis Hicks and Anthony Herrera share time at right guard. Hicks gets the majority of the snaps but it's clear the coaches want to see what they have in Herrera.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 3-2 — The Vikings' record entering their bye week last season. Minnesota won its first game after the bye, beating Seattle 31-13. The Vikings are 3-11 since that time.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It seemed like we were playing at Lambeau Field. It was unreal. When our offense was on the field, it was loud in there. I've never been a part of a team having two home fields before." — Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, reacting to how many Green Bay fans were among the 63,779 in the Metrodome on Sunday.


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