Week 16 & 17: Vikings @ Baltimore & vs. Chicago

- wadE

At this point, there isn't really anything to talk about. The Vikings laid an egg against a horrible Baltimore team, and that ended their playoff hopes. It was probably for the best because it would have been painful to sit and watch Washington win and eliminate the Vikings that way.

That set up a meaningless final game at home against Chicago, which the Vikings beat up on the Chicago second stringers. The big shocked happened about 20 minutes after the game ended. The scroller across the bottom of the TV reads: Mike Tice fired as Vikings Head Coach

Whaaaaa?!?!?! Didn't the game just end 20 minutes ago? I suppose there is something to be said about not letting a guy twist in the wind, but that was the first classless move the new ownership has done. At least have the decency to let the team enjoy the day. Don't make the players who are just trying to get out of Dodge have to dodge questions about the firing of their coach.

At any rate, was I surprise? No. I wouldn't have been surprised either way. Part of me thought that it would make sense to give Tice a 2 year contract and see how next year went. However, with a season like this (Whizzinator/Ticket Scalping/Boat Cruise) how could you let your Head Coach slide? The downside of the firing is what to do with the coordinators who showed signs of life in the 2nd half of the season?

But now that's all up to Brad Childress:

"Kinda doofy lookin'" - K. Gerbschmidt

I'm not too excited about the hiring of Childress. Most of the successful Head Coaches as of late come from the defensive ranks. Think of Belicheck, Dungy, etc. On the offensive side you've got Martz and Brian "The Brain" Billick. My Philly connection tells me that although it's been widely reported that Childress didn't call the plays, Andy Reid scripted the first X number of plays, and Childress took over after that. Although I'm not sure that's true, at least the media isn't reporting that. At least it seems like Philly is somewhat disappointed the guy is leaving, which should be a good sign.

Childress does have a good reputation as a smart, well organized, football coach. Someone very good at the administration that comes along with the position. Less is known about his play calling and his in-game coaching.

Some side news which may be of interest. Sounds like the next big coaching decision is whether or not to keep Ted Cottrell. I'm pretty ambivalent on that. As I wrote earlier in the year, I was not impressed with his defense, both today and his Bills teams of the past. However, the second half of the season made me rethink that, and I certainly think it would be advantageous to keep him on.

Additionally, Childress is looking bring in some of his own assistants, one of the names being floated is Eric "Sleeping with" Bieniemy, which would be fantastic from a pure comedic standpoint.

So, with the Vikings firing Tice (and taking away most of the basis for my last article of the season), where does this leave the Vikings?

Franchise QB Daunte Culpepper is still questionable for next year (and his career). Idiot fans think Brad Johnson is the answer. We still need a reliable every down RB... they'll be dumping Bennett somehow, and giving Ontario one last chance, which he will piss away (pun intended). The defense may have over-achieved the second half of the year, but hopefully not, which means we should have a respectable middle of the pack defense next year. Our stud punter (if you can say such a thing) might be out as well, and our FG kicker is slightly above average. The good news is that our division will be more of the same next year. The only threat being Chicago. So we have a good chance to win the division with a season record of 10-6, which could be done by this team. The big question mark being QB.

So my prediction: Culpepper will return in time for the first game of the season. He will have an average season with flashes of brilliance, and fewer turnovers. Mewelde Moore will emerge as the best RB, and will rush for over 1000 yards, but not much more. The defense will be vastly improved, but will be the same bend, but not break defense we've seen. Childress will bring a stronger hand to the team, but he will be criticized for poor play calling and not using the players strenghts.

2006 record: 9-7

- 01/06/2006

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