In his first season at the helm, Vikings head coach Brad Childress called his own plays for the most part. Early in training camp the team began to transition the actual play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
“I thought he did a very, very good job,” Childress said during his season wrap-up press conference.
Clearly, there is still plenty of back-and-forth and input from Childress himself on game day.
“He did a very good job at taking suggestions as well, when you strongly suggest, like a quarterback draw there at the end of the [Broncos] game,” Childress said. “The great thing is there is a pretty good repartee that goes on.”
Bevell sees the game from the coaches booth upstairs and Childress is down on the field, so they each have a different perspective of the flow of the game.
“I look at things and see different things on the field than he sees from upstairs,” said Childress. “You just have to be careful not to knock a guy out of a train of thought when he is on a roll or when he is he trying to set something up with what's next, what's next, what's next?”
Childress also suggested that Bevell isn’t afraid to offer resistance to suggestions at times when he’s setting things up.
“That’s being able to communicate,” Chilldress said. “[Eagles coach] Andy [Reid] and I used to go back and forth that way all the time.”
One that got away?
A little less than two years ago, Donald Penn was trying to earn a place on a real NFL roster by working for the Vikings on their practice squad.
Now look at him. The former undrafted free agent out of Utah State is the starting left tackle for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that probably wouldn’t be in the playoffs had they not lured Penn away from the Vikings practice squad.
According to this TBO.com report, it was Bucs pro personnel director Mark Dominik who initiated the move. Impressed by what he saw of Penn while watching tape of the Vikings one day, he urged the Bucs in October 2006 to sign him to their active roster.
The move went relatively unnoticed at the time, but it began paying off in training camp this past summer when Penn began to emerge as arguably the team’s best pass protector.
In Week 4 of the regular season this year, the Bucs were playing the Carolina Panthers. They had already lost their star running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams to a knee injury when free agent left tackle Luke Petitgout went down. That’s when Penn got his chance and became the team’s new starter at the difficult left tackle spot. The Bucs haven’t missed a beat since Penn took over.
“It's great to see a guy come from nowhere and see a guy come out of obscurity to the front line and get the job done,” Bucs coach Jon Gruden said.
In retrospect, the Vikings might have let a pretty good prospect get away. Offensive tackles who can hold up on pass protection aren’t easy to find.
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