Notebook: Coaching staff to stay intact?

With the Vikings waiting on Leslie Frazier's interview results while he seeks a head-coaching job, what's the status of the rest of the coaching staff? Brad Childress updated things there and with some of his free agents.

Vikings coach Brad Childress wasn't very specific with the Vikings' plans at quarterback and with some of his own free agents at his season-ending press conference Thursday, but he did indicate that his full coaching staff likely will be back.

The exception to that could be defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who interviewed for the Denver Broncos head-coaching job on Thursday morning and is scheduled to interview for the Detroit Lions job on Friday. The St. Louis Rams have also shown an interest in talking with Frazier.

"I rarely begrudge a guy an opportunity to move forward if he can, and certainly Leslie is right there with them," Childress said. "We talk about that as a staff and I talk about guys as individuals. If a guy can move ahead, I don't want to put us in a poor position because this is where I eat. All those guys have contracts. By the same token, there's communication that goes on with those guys. If a guy has an opportunity to go coordinate somewhere, and move on and move up, that's how it happened for all of us."

The assistant coach considered to be on the hottest seat on the Vikings' staff is special teams coordinator Paul Ferraro, whose kick and coverage teams gave up an NFL-record seven touchdowns, including four on punt returns. Childress, however, seemed to back Ferraro on Thursday.

"I don't have any plans to change right now. They're all under contract. When you speak to special teams, obviously that's a thorn in all of our sides to give up that many returns for touchdowns," Childress said. "I just think it's a matter of continuity and the guys playing and the same guys playing in the coverage waves – all 11 guys doing their job – because if one guy doesn't do his job obviously it sticks out like a sore thumb."

The Vikings did lose their special teams captain from the previous two seasons, linebacker Heath Farwell, to a knee injury before the regular season even began, but they maintained throughout the season that they wouldn't use that as an excuse.

Childress, in trying to maintain a positive spin on the season, said that the Vikings won four of the six games in which they gave up a touchdown on special teams (they gave up two punt-return touchdowns to Reggie Bush in the same game).

Owner Zygi Wilf said on Monday that he'd leave the decisions on the coaching staff up to Childress. Asked if there would be changes to the staff, Wilf said, "I couldn't say. Right now I know that the team is, as I am, ready to come back next year to defend the division championship and do better. I think the experience of being in the playoffs is something to build upon and we look forward to it."


While Childress talked about two of the Vikings' biggest free agents this offseason – center Matt Birk and safety Darren Sharper – he said that no decision has been made yet on whether or not the team will offer a contract to either or both of those former Pro Bowl players.

"I think Matt just finished the longest contract in the National Football League. I think it was an eight-year contract; he was there for all eight years, which is rare," Childress said. "I had a great talk with Matt. I wouldn't paint that one way or another. We'll end up talking. I know where Matt stands with his feeling about him playing. I know where he stands on this organization and he has been a dynamic part of this organization, not just on the football field but in the Twin Cities. I can't say enough about Matt Birk. Great, great man. I'm not willing to tell you that he's going to be here and I'm not willing to tell you that he's not going to be part of it because that's part of the ongoing (evaluations)."

Sharper, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the team's playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, still has some playing time ahead of him, Childress said.

"He's been at the end of a contract before at Green Bay and signed a big-money contract to come here," Childress said. "Both of those guys (Sharper and Birk) probably have gas left in the tank as we talked about. I think both of them, by the same token, are interested to see what's out there in the free-agency market as well. That's the system. That's how that goes."

Sharper said on Monday that he has a couple of years left in him and hoped to return to the Vikings.

"I want to. I love the guys. That's the exact word I'm using because I do, I love the guys here in the locker room. A lot of good guys here," he said. "We'll see. It's the nature of the NFL and business to never know, especially when you have a contract run out. So you never know. It's still up in the air. We'll see what happens. I would like to still be here and have the same locker come the offseason, but you never know how things are going to go."


  • Former Vikings offensive coordinator, who was fired as head coach of the St. Louis Rams earlier in the 2008 season, will interview for the offensive coordinator position with the San Francisco 49ers, according to Adam Schefter of NFL Network.

  • Childress said he will look at some of the instances where the Vikings weren't getting plays called in a timely fashion at the end of games. "That's part of self-analysis. That's a part of staff analysis. That's talking about in-game communications. Some of those areas can improve," he said.

  • Wide receiver Bobby Wade said that there were some adjustments he thought could have been made in the Philadelphia playoff game that weren't. In response, Childress said the Eagles simply played better than the Vikings.

    "They played better than we played in the second half. I mean, that's the short and the long of it, particularly when your three-and-outs roll up like that. We had our chances," Childress said. "Adjustment-wise, I know he would have liked to have more balls his way, I know he would have liked to throw it into softer coverage. But, once again, we thought we were being aggressive attacking what they did. Now, were we able to execute what we were attacking with? We weren't always able to do that. And, again, that comes down to us as a staff and the 11 guys on the field."

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