Vikings now boring off field, successful on

Amid reports of a looming contract extension, Brad Childress has accomplished his goal in three-plus years. The team is 8-1, second in the NFC, and free from the major off-the-field incidents that caused distractions years ago.

Sitting at 8-1 for the first time since they lost only one game in 1998, the Vikings' biggest issue at this point is maintaining their focus on a weekly basis.

That might sound odd, but keep in mind that Minnesota has a three-game edge on the Packers (5-4) and a four-game lead on the Bears (4-5) in the NFC North. In reality, the Vikings also lead Green Bay by four games because Minnesota swept the season series and thus owns the first tie-breaker.

The Vikings also completed a sweep of the Detroit Lions last weekend and will continue to try to remain perfect against division foes on Nov. 29 when they close out a three-game home-stand by playing host to Chicago.

Before facing the Bears, though, the Vikings will play the Seattle Seahawks at the Metrodome on Sunday. In addition to being undefeated against the NFC North, the Vikings also haven't lost to a team in their conference.

The Vikings' only defeat was a 27-17 loss on Oct. 25 at Pittsburgh.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about coach Brad Childress' team is just how uninteresting things have been around Winter Park in achieving this success. And Childress couldn't be any happier.

When Childress took over in 2006, he inherited a franchise that was coming off the infamous Lake Minnetonka "Love Boat" incident and seemed to have issues arise on a regular basis.

The Vikings might not be all that interesting from Monday through Saturday these days, but as long as they continue to perform on the field no one associated with the organization is going to complain.

The most excitement of late has been multiple reports of a contract extension for Childress, who is in the fourth season of a five-year deal. Of course, Brett Favre has provided plenty of excitement, but there has been nothing negative about what the 40-year-old quarterback has been doing. Favre threw for a season-high 344 yards in Sunday's 27-10 victory over the Lions and continues to keep himself in the mix for the MVP award.

Favre now leads the league in passer rating (107.5) and has thrown 14 more touchdowns than interceptions (17-3). Favre's arrival has resulted in the Vikings' offense becoming exceptionally well-balanced and making opponents fear the pass nearly as much as the run game that is keyed by Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson.

"I just think if you're one-dimensional in any area people can gang up on you," Childress said. "That's the thing, if you're not sure, you have to play it a little closer to the vest. You can run-blitz or you can pass-blitz and some are better than others if you're wrong. But I just think being able to do both; balance is important, whether it's how you live or how you play football."

The key now for the Vikings will be making sure Favre stays healthy for the remainder of the regular season and is at full strength entering the playoffs. This might not mean any great excitement for outsiders looking in, but the Vikings would be just fine with that.

BY THE NUMBERS: 34 — Sacks for the Vikings defense this season, the most in the NFL.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's real big, especially for the receivers. The past couple of years all the talk has been about the receivers. How we weren't able to produce and things like that. We just took it upon ourselves to do the extra work to get better as receivers and make this team a more balanced team." — Wide receiver Sidney Rice, who leads the NFC with 786 receiving yards, on the importance of the Vikings' offense becoming a more balanced attack this season.

SERIES HISTORY: 11th regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead, 6-4. The teams have split four games played in Minnesota. The Vikings have won two of the past three meetings, including the last matchup on Oct. 22, 2006. The Vikings have never won back-to-back games against Seattle.


  • DE Fred Evans missed practice Wednesday because of an illness.

  • WR Bernard Berrian was limited in practice because of a hamstring injury.

  • CB Benny Sapp was limited in practice because of a groin injury.

  • FB Naufahu Tahi was limited in practice because of an ankle injury.

  • CB Antoine Winfield was limited in practice because of a foot injury, but he hopes to return Sunday after missing three games.

  • QB Brett Favre was limited in practice Wednesday because of a hip/groin issue that has bothered him since late October.

  • LB E.J. Henderson is dealing with a knee issue but did not miss any practice time on Wednesday.

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