Vikings find plenty to work on

Brad Childress was encouraged even in defeat. The Vikings committed costly penalties and turnovers and still had a chance to win playing a good Pittsburgh team at home. His outlook didn't change Monday.

Brad Childress found some fault with his team's performance and some fault with the officials, but he's hoping the Pittsburgh experience, a 27-17 loss, will pay dividends down the road.

The Vikings had 11 penalties and gave up 14 points off turnovers and still had a chance to beat the defending Super Bowl champions on their home field, a performance of missed opportunities that were not lost on the head coach.

"I like the experience these guys got in terms of playing the world champions on their court and being in a position," Childress said Monday.

He was looking to wrap up a review with the team Monday and move on to preparation for the Green Bay Packers, but he found several areas to work on for that big game in Lambeau Field.

The Vikings entered Week 7 tied for the league lead averaging only 4.5 penalties per game, but on Sunday they were penalized 11 times. Childress found certain ones more frustrating than others.

"Particularly the pre-snap penalties. I think we had 11 and I want to say eight of them were pre-snap penalties, if I'm not mistaken, either on the offensive side or the defensive side – wide receivers not set or a lineman jumping early or Cedric (Griffin) had that delay of game. So, those are things that obviously you need to clean up, particularly when you go into a hostile environment," Childress said.

One penalty Childress didn't agree with was a tripping call on tight end Jeff Dugan on a first-and-goal play in which the Vikings scored a touchdown. Dugan went to cut block James Harrison and Childress saw nothing wrong with the block. On Monday morning, the coach had a conversation with the NFL's director of officiating, Mike Pereira.

"I'm satisfied that I was able to tell my side of it. And he could see my side of it," Childress said of that phone call, adding that he wouldn't have Dugan do anything differently.

"I absolutely would not. And I know there's 32 other clubs in the league that coach the same way, to block the end of the line of scrimmage. I thought it was a job well done."

The Steelers, who had only three penalties in the game, had a record attendance at Sunday's game, and the hype surrounding Brett Favre's first trip to play in Lambeau after 16 years of service for Green Bay will undoubtedly draw the national media spotlight.

The Vikings gave up 14 points on offense when a Favre fumble was picked up and returned 77 yards for a touchdown and an interception on the Vikings' next drive was returned 88 yards for touchdown.

And yet they still had a chance to win before that last interception in Steelers territory effectively ended the game with Pittsburgh taking a 10-point lead with one minute to play.

"To put ourselves in a position to be able to win that thing at the end, it's a testament to those guys in the locker room," Childress said. "I thought they did a great job, overcame a few different adversities. I'm proud of them."


  • The Vikings have the 12th-ranked offense (12th rushing and 14th passing) and 17th-ranked defense (10th against the run and 20th against the pass).

  • On offense, the Vikings are third in percentage of passes intercepted, third in third-down efficiency, third in points per game, third in kick-return average and sixth in punt-return average.

  • On defense, they are second in sacks per pass play, seventh in third-down efficiency and ninth in net punting average.

  • After leading the NFL in turnover ratio two weeks ago, the Vikings are down to a fourth-place tie in that category at plus-7.

  • The Vikings also fell from first to a 13th-place tie in red zone efficiency on offense. After converting only one of five trips into the red zone into a touchdown, the Vikings are now operating at 57.1 percent efficiency.

  • The defense improved its ranking from second in the red zone to first. They have allowed only five touchdowns in 18 opponent possessions inside the 20-yard line. On Sunday, they held Pittsburgh without a red zone touchdown despite three trips inside the 20-yard line.


  • Childress wasn't sure how much progress CB Antoine Winfield would be able to during the week. Winfield sprained his foot against the Ravens and didn't play Sunday against Steelers. "I don't have x-ray vision, and I'm not a trainer. But I do know when I see someone move out here," Childress said. "It's a collaborative deal (to determine his availability). It's not done independently or anything. There will be a hit-list of things he'll have to accomplish."

  • Childress also had no significant update on WR Bernard Berrian, who appeared to pull a hamstring in Pittsburgh. "He's in there treating. We'll just see," Childress said. "... He's alive and well."

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