View Full Version : Vikings of old are history

09-06-2006, 07:47 AM
Vikings of old are history (http://torontosun.com/Sports/Football/2006/09/06/1806435-sun.html)
Wed, September 6, 2006

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings still wear purple. At least that hasn't changed.

With an entirely new coaching staff, redesigned uniforms, a renovated roster and new sod on the practice fields, the Vikings have undergone a striking overhaul during the past year.

"It is kind of like a fresh start," said centre Matt Birk, a four-time Pro Bowl pick who is back from a season-long absence caused by a series of injuries to his midsection.

It apparently wasn't possible, though, to completely escape the stench left behind from last season. Twice since training camp began, new coach Brad Childress has been forced to answer questions about off-the-field trouble involving his players, most notably receiver Koren Robinson's charges on fleeing police and drunken driving.

Then, starting safety Dwight Smith was cited for indecent conduct with a woman last weekend in a stairwell outside a downtown Minneapolis nightclub.

"Just because you are here for six months or eight months, that culture does not change immediately," Childress said. "But that is certainly the goal, and we are not going to stop trying to get that right."

One of the reasons owner Zygi Wilf and his partners decided to fire Mike Tice was the litany of non-football problems that plagued the Vikings during his four-year tenure as coach. Arrests for assault. Scalped Super Bowl tickets. The Original Whizzinator. The Love Boat party.

Tice's teams were just as unreliable on the field, and ultimately a 33-34 record with just one playoff win prompted his departure.

So while Childress has been charged with cleaning up Minnesota's public image, one that was tarnished by lawbreaking and boorish behavior long before Tice was hired, he also is responsible for re-establishing the Vikings as a perennial post-season team -- let alone leading them to that elusive Super Bowl trophy.

Childress has not arrived quietly, either. He let all of Tice's assistants go, even getting rid of popular trainer Chuck Barta after 21 years in the organization. Eric Sugarman, the trainer when Childress was offensive co-ordinator in Philadelphia, was the replacement.

He let 15 free agents go, retaining only Robinson and backup safety Willie Offord. And Robinson, facing a possible season-long suspension for a third violation of the league's substance abuse policy, was cut last week.

"Change is tough. It's hard. There's nothing easy about it. You don't change for change's sake, but you don't stand pat because change is hard, either," said Childress, who has never been a head coach before. "When there's change, there are people that are uncomfortable. This is not a comfortable business. It's not all squishy. You just want people that kind of know what to expect."

Much of Childress' coaching philosophy was forged during his days with the Eagles, where he learned the version of the West Coast offence he has installed in Minnesota and also gained useful experience dealing with conflicts during the Terrell Owens saga.

In addition to stressing personal accountability both on and off the field, Childress is a firm believer in a single voice and a flat line.

He's wary of entrusting people to important positions who are prone to emotional highs and lows, part of the reason why Daunte Culpepper was traded during the off-season. He also wants everyone underneath him to speak the same language, whether it's the offensive co-ordinator describing a pass coverage scenario to the quarterback or a linebacker discussing defensive strategy in a newspaper article.

"You can get mixed messages," said Childress, who has followed the trend of many other NFL teams by cutting back on information provided to the media and reducing availability to reporters.

The Vikings went 9-7 last year, but there were several deficiencies that needed to be addressed -- resulting in a spree of spending on new players.

"I think we have the talent. I think we have the coaching staff that can put us in the right direction," tight end Jermaine Wiggins said. All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, running back Chester Taylor, kicker Ryan Longwell, fullback Tony Richardson, linebacker Ben Leber and most recently Smith were the notable additions. Whether they'll turn out to be the pieces Minnesota needs to make the playoffs again is anybody's guess, but this much is clear: The Vikings are a totally different team than they were just two years ago.


A quick-strike offence that led the league in total yards in 2003 and excelled again in 2004 was led by Culpepper, receivers Randy Moss and Nate Burleson and running backs Michael Bennett and Onterrio Smith. All five of them are gone now.

Brad Johnson, the steady, soon-to-be-38-year-old, is the quarterback of a low-risk, spread-it-around offence. On the other side, 34-year-old defensive co-ordinator Mike Tomlin has brought the Cover 2 zone scheme with him from Tampa Bay.

He'll be banking on a frenzied pass rush by a defensive line that features three first-round draft picks and a defensive tackle, Pat Williams, coming off a career season. Smith and Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper will be lurking behind cornerbacks Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot, an experienced secondary that should help relieve pressure on a linebacking corps that has been a weakness for years in Minnesota.

"I think we could really catch a lot of people by surprise," Smoot said. "They really don't know what to expect from us."

09-06-2006, 07:52 AM
That was posted 4 days ago also. Under a different title.

New Look Vikings (http://www.purplepride.org/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=150&topic=26686.0)

Please click anywhere on me that you so desire…
http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a83/RPM40/Ali_Landry_wallpaper_madnessmed.jpg (http://www.linuxbench.org/Posting.html)

09-06-2006, 07:55 AM
Damn it!
I'm staying out of your turf.

Please click anywhere on me that you so desire…
http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a83/RPM40/5.jpg (http://www.linuxbench.org/Posting.html)

09-06-2006, 08:00 AM
Ohhhhhh! I like that one. Almost worth a duplicate thread just to see her.

I predict a rash of duplicate threads now from people wondering what pic yo'll come up with next.

Plus it doesn't get moved to the "Two Beers Minimum" forum.

09-06-2006, 08:20 AM
that is one of the best informational videos ever. they should show it in schools