Vikings fire coach Brad Childress after falling to 3-7

By Dave Campbell

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 22 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Later, wide receiver Greg Lewis used Twitter to call the NFL a "what have you done for me lately league."

"And lately we have stunk. Coach Childress took the fall," Lewis tweeted.

Childress took over in Minnesota after spending seven years with Philadelphia, including four as the offensive coordinator. He was chosen by Wilf to instill discipline and demand better off-the-field behavior from a team that was embarrassed the year before by a bye-week boat party gone bad and a number of other legal problems for players.

However, Childress stumbled in his first year and never fully gained the faith of the fans — or some of his players. The Vikings went from 6-10 to 8-8 to 10-6 to 12-4 in his first four seasons, but this year's mess grew too big to salvage. According to an ESPN.com report last week, Childress's contract — extended in November 2009 — had $6.6 million remaining on it for 2011 and 2012.

This season almost seemed destined for doom, given how smoothly it all went in 2009 until the very end and how well Favre played last year by taking care of the ball and making age-defying throws into the end zone. With Favre failing to commit until August and injuries throwing the wide receivers out of whack, the offense has never been never truly in sync.

The relationship between Favre and Childress, tense at times in 2009, seemed to sour further when Favre threw three ill-fated interceptions in the Oct. 24 game against the Packers, lost to his old team and was sharply criticized afterward by his coach.

Then the situation really worsened following a loss at New England when wide receiver Randy Moss, acquired in a trade for a third-round draft pick just four weeks earlier, went out of his way to praise the Patriots and criticize Childress in a post-game rant.

Childress got rid of him the next day, leaving Wilf reportedly angry that wasn't in the loop right away. There were anonymous reports of growing dissatisfaction in the locker room, and Childress and Harvin got into a heated argument one day over an MRI test Harvin didn't want on his sprained ankle.

Fans made no secret about their frustration, either, with thousands of "Fire Chilly" signs distributed on Nov. 7 outside the stadium before the Vikings played Arizona and several chants breaking out from the seats during the Packers game on Sunday.

"The challenge I have before me is to make sure that we're going in the right direction and at the end of the year we're not a 3-13 team," Frazier said, adding: "I don't think there's anybody on our team that can stand back and say, 'You know what? I've done my part. I'm not the reason we're 3-7.' And if we have a guy like that, that guy has been a selfish individual."

Wilf said he's not currently considering any structural changes to the front office, which has operated without a true general manager for years.

The lack of clarity about who makes the calls about the roster has been an issue many times since Wilf bought the team, most recently when Childress dumped Moss.

"There wasn't one component that factored into this decision, just that we felt we made the best decision for the organization moving forward," Wilf said. "We have high expectations for this team and wanted to capitalize on what is left for this season."

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