But Childress also wants to know what to expect from his quarterbacks when they take the field. He probably hasn't gotten that feeling since he's taken over as head coach of the Vikings in 2006.
"You're going to have a leg up, you're going to be a step in the right direction, if you get consistent play from that quarterback position," Childress said.
While many point to the quarterback position as the one position holding back the team from advancing to the Super Bowl, others might contend that the Vikings have enough other pieces in place to make up for the lack of a franchise quarterback.
Childress indicated that it's not good enough for his quarterback to just "manage the game."
"You hear the adage that he just doesn't have to lose the game for you. I just think that's such a misnomer because the guy that's going to touch the ball 70 times a game is going to have something to do with the outcome of the game," Childress said. "Something as benign as a center-quarterback exchange, you don't ever notice it until it's on the ground. The quarterback has got to be able to administer it, call it, run it – could be bringing you from behind. Administrate it in the two-minute drill and get you back up the field for a score. That's how guys' careers are defined in a lot of ways."
That may be why Childress was willing to ride Tarvaris Jackson as his starter heading into the 2008 season. In his last game of the 2007 season, Jackson offered glimpses of hope when he brought the Vikings back from a late-game, 19-3 deficit on the road in Denver. In the final six minutes of the game, he threw two touchdown passes to Bobby Wade and ran for both two-point conversions. The team eventually lost when Jackson was sacked and fumbled on the team's first possession of overtime, setting up the game-winning field goal for Denver.
But, while much of the rest of the team has been ascending with one of the best running games in the league, the best run-stopping defense and a solid overall defense, the Vikings still haven't seen enough from Jackson to completely know if they can trust him time and again.
"All you're ever trying to establish with a quarterback is what standard can I expect every time you go out there. Now, you understand there (are) blips. Guys have bad days, guys have hot days," Childress said. "You're attempting to establish that right from the time you take the field in OTAs (organized team activities) to training camp – what guy is showing up? What standard of excellence is there going to be? And you're really trying to do that with everybody on your football team. Who are you and who are you the most, on a regular basis?"
The Vikings may not know that answer until well into the 2009 season.
AFFECTING THE SACKS?
It's unlikely that Jared Allen is too concerned about a change that the Chicago Bears made at left tackle, but it might have an effect on him.
The Bears signed free-agent tackle Kevin Shaffer (Browns) last week, and it could prove to be a significant upgrade, especially considering the success Allen had against the Bears' old left tackle, John St. Clair. Here is what the Chicago Sun-Times blog had to say about the situation as it relates to Allen.
"In the AFC North, Shaffer faced a slew of talented pass rushers playing right tackle last season, including Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and Pittsburgh's James Harrison, the defensive player of the year. Stats Inc. had him allowing 4½ sacks over the season. Although that is an impossible statistic to truly track, consider Stats had John St. Clair surrendering 9½ last season at left tackle for the Bears, half to Minnesota's Jared Allen."
A review of the statistics bears that out. Allen had 2 and 2.5 sacks in his two games against the Bears last year. He totaled 14½ for the season as he fought through knee and shoulder injuries.