Childress Signs Contract Extension

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 19, 2009 – 6:19 pm

Following a 10-6 record and division title in 2008, Brad Childress has the Vikings off to an 8-1 start this season. He also has a 13-9 record against the NFC North as head coach of the Vikings and he’s led the franchise to 17 wins in the last 21 games.

And now he has a contract extension.

The Vikings announced Thursday evening that they have extended the contract of their head coach. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“My family and I are very fortunate to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings organization,” Childress said. “I value the opportunity to continue to lead this team over the next several years as we work toward our ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl for our passionate fans everywhere.”

The Vikings have improved steadily during the 4 seasons Childress has led the team, going from 6-10 in 2006 to 8-8 in 2007 and then 10-6 with a Division title and home playoff game in 2008.  The Division title in 2008 was the 1st for the Vikings since 2000.

During Childress’ tenure, the team has been successful on and off the field, raising the level of community involvement to include every player on the roster in 2008, sending 9 different players to the Pro Bowl and having 12 different players earn NFC Player of the Week awards.

Childress is in his 32nd season of coaching overall and 12th season in the NFL.

“Brad has done a tremendous job leading this football team and we value the positive environment he has created for the Minnesota Vikings on and off the field,” said Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf. “He has continued to positively impact this team and create a strong foundation for future success.”

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Only Minor Changes In Vikings Thursday Injury Report

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 19, 2009 – 4:28 pm

The Vikings and Seahawks have released their Thursday injury reports and there weren’t many changes to what was listed in yesterday’s report.

DT Fred Evans, who was listed with an illness yesterday, was a full participant today. But CB Karl Paymah (ankle), who wasn’t on the report yesterday, was on it today. There were no other changes and Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress was not asked about CB Antoine Winfield today after practice.

For the Seahawks, C Chris Spencer (thumb/back) was a full participant yesterday but was limited today. CB Marcus Trufant (concussion) was out yesterday but practiced in full today while CB Josh Wilson (concussion) was out of practice for the 2nd straight day. DT Craig Terrill (shoulder) also sat out of practice for the 2nd straight day.

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Submit Your Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 19, 2009 – 3:28 pm

Do you have a question or comment about the Vikings-Seahawks game coming up on Sunday? Or a question about the Vikings in general? Send them to the Mailbag.

You can submit your questions/comments to me by sending an email to I can’t post every question/comment, but I’ll answer them all.

The Mailbag is published ever Friday during the regular season.

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E.J. Henderson Named 2009 Vikings Man Of The Year

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 19, 2009 – 2:19 pm

It was announced this morning that LB E.J. Henderson has been selected as the 2009 Vikings Community Man of the Year.

Since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2003 Draft, Henderson has been an active member of the team’s community outreach.  E.J. has volunteered his time with several local organizations, including United Way, Police Athletic League, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Arc Greater Twin Cities and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

But Henderson took his volunteerism to a new level in June of 2007, when he established the E.J. Henderson Youth Foundation to benefit underserved Twin Cities urban youth, an effort that was aided by a $100,000 personal donation.

The Foundation program centers on the mind, body and soul by providing academic enrichment, intensive physical workouts, and life skill sessions at Henderson’s GameSpeed Sports Academy in Eden Prairie.

“I’ve been blessed to witness first-hand the impact E.J. is making with local urban youth as far as providing education, fitness and life skills opportunities,” Vikings Executive Director of Community Relations/Youth Football Brad Madson said. “We’ve had the kids down at training camp, we had the chance to go out to GameSpeed and see E.J. work with the kids and had them out to a practice as well.”

E.J. is a strong spokesperson for the NFL’s “Play60” message, which encourages youngsters to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.

Henderson is one of 32 team representatives, one of which will be named the Walter Payton Man of the Year at this year’s Super Bowl.

“I think it’s pretty special,” Henderson said of the honor. “Since I’ve been here, Matt Birk always won it. And I know the type of community work he used to do; he was really involved.

“As I said, it’s an honor to be considered one of the guys from the 32 teams, especially the Vikings because there are a lot of guys doing good things in the community.”

As the Vikings’ representative for the NFL Man of the Year award, Henderson will receive a $1,000 check for the E.J. Henderson Youth Foundation through NFL Charities.

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Veteran Favre Enjoys Playing With Sullivan

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 19, 2009 – 11:25 am

Old dogs might not be good with new tricks, but veteran QBs can certainly have success with new centers. Look to Vikings QB Brett Favre as proof.

For 11 seasons from 1992 to 2002, Favre played in Green Bay with C Frank Winters. Together they went from young starters to crafty veterans, guiding the Green Bay offense to top 10 rankings 7 times and a #1 ranking once, while also having zero losing seasons and winning 1 Super Bowl.

Eventually, Winters retired and Favre played with Mike Flanagan, Grey Ruegamer and Scott Wells as his centers the rest of his time in Green Bay before being traded to the NY Jets before the 2008 season.

While with the Jets, Favre played with C Nick Mangold, who at the time was entering his 3rd season, and the QB had an MVP-caliber 1st half of the season before seeing his production tail off due to injury.

Now in Minnesota, Favre is experiencing success once again with a young center – Vikings 2008 6th round selection John Sullivan. Together, Favre and Sullivan have led an efficient and productive offensive attack. The Vikings rank 7th in total offense and 2nd in scoring offense, and Favre is the league’s highest-rated passer at 107.5.

“He’s done an excellent job,” Favre said of Sullivan. “I have been pretty fortunate to play with him…today’s offenses, so much is asked of the center as opposed to years ago for the calls they have to make. You get so many different looks on defense that you can’t just go up and run a run to the right and say that’s it.

“For me to have two different young centers the last two years – Nick Mangold is an outstanding player who will be a great player for many years to come. I was fortunate to play with him. Sully is a lot like him, young and very, very smart. It is kind of ridiculous how smart he is. You almost go with every call he goes.”

Favre said Sullivan is a lot like Mangold in that he is young and smart, and that many times he goes with whatever call his young center makes.

“The thing that impresses me the most about him is that he’s got the right attitude,” Favre explained. “For us two, we are kind of the quarterbacks of the whole deal and he does a really good job of it.”

Favre and Sullivan’s head coach, Brad Childress, agreed.

““He’s (Sullivan) kind of directing the show,” Childress said. “He and the quarterback have a good relationship directing the show as well.”

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Trio Of Young Seattle Defenders Impress

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 19, 2009 – 10:47 am

Much has been made about the rash of significant injuries the Seahawks have dealt with over the past couple of years and specifically this year. The injuries have especially stung not because of the sheer number of them but because of who has actually missed games.

This year future Hall of Fame LT Walter Jones has been missing and so has starting middle LB Lofa Tatupu. Both are multiple-time Pro Bowlers whose loss has greatly impacted Seattle. There have also been other injuries, such as CB Marcus Trufant, WR Deion Branch and C Chris Spencer.

But the shining light in all of the injury mess for Seattle has been the opportunities gained by young players because of holes in the lineup, particularly a trio of young defenders who will develop into a solid core group of players for Jim Mora, Jr.’s club down the road.

Here’s a brief look at 3 young Seattle defensive players who’ve impressed me this season…

LB David Hawthorne: In just his 2nd season out of TCU, Hawthorne leads the Seahawks in tackles with 56 and he’s added 3.0 sacks. He’s been a starter in the last 3 games because of his impressive play early, and since entering the starting lineup he’s picked up his production even more. Over the past 3 weeks, Hawthorne has tallied 28 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 1 forced fumble. His most-impressive effort was in Week 3 against Chicago, when he registered 16 tackles.

LB Aaron Curry: Another impressive LB, Curry is in his rookie season and is 3rd on the team in tackles with 46. He also has 2.0 sacks and has started every game this season. Curry’s best game was in Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars when he had 10 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 pass defensed and 1 forced fumble. Add Curry to the LB duo of Hawthorne and the injured Tatupu next year, and Seattle will boast a very talented LB corps.

DE Lawrence Jackson: Maybe some credit goes to Jackson for taking up blocks of offensive linemen and shuffling tackles to Curry and Hawthorne. Jackson is in his 2nd season out of Southern Cal. and began this season with a boom, rounding up 7 tackles, 3.0 sacks and a forced fumble in the first 3 weeks. Seattle put him in the starting lineup after that and now the 6-4 DE has 4.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

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Vikings Display Offensive Balance

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 19, 2009 – 7:43 am

Football teams spend the 6 days they typically have between games trying to figure out 2 primary things. What’s the best way to attack our upcoming opponent? And how will our upcoming opponent try to attack us?

It boils down to devising a game plan and then being able to execute that game plan better than the opponent is executing its game plan. The more your opponent doesn’t know what you’re going to do ahead of time, the more your chances for success increase.

So far in 2009, it’s been pretty tough for the Vikings opponents to figure out what the Purple is going to do in any given week. Sure, the Vikings have RB Adrian Peterson, the best player in the game at his position. But they also have Brett Favre at QB, and he can hurt you, too.

Through 9 games this season, the Vikings have attempted 293 passes and scored 17 TDs through the air. And they’ve balanced that production out with a propensity to run the ball, too. The Vikings have 260 rushing attempts with 12 rushing TDs.

“I think the balance that we have here, or at least the threat of one or the other, is as good as any team I’ve been on,” Favre told reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve been on some good teams. Just the threat of Adrian getting the ball and scoring every time, now he’s not going to do it, but it’s pretty great.

“We know we can throw it short. I’ve always done that, but now being able to throw the ball deep and having some success offers another dimension.”

When you break the previous 5 games down, the offensive balance is even more distinct:
Rush Att.-Yards                                 Pass Att.-Yards
31-152                   vs. Detroit               29-344
32-111                   at Green Bay           28-244
23-89                     at Pittsburgh          51-334
31-167                  vs. Baltimore          29-278
24-89                     at St. Louis              27-300


“I think each one of those games kind of takes on its own flavor,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. “It’s nice to be able to do both, but for instance, going into the Pittsburgh game, you have to be able to adjust. It’s nice to be able to swing one way should it be necessary.

“Sometimes there are games where you come out and you like to throw ten passes in row, just to kind of back people away. It’s just nice to be able to be adept at both of those.”

At this point the Vikings rank 10th in the NFL in rushing and 12th in passing, which comes together and gives them a ranking of 7th among all teams in total offense. And the Vikings have been efficient, turning their 7th-ranked offense in terms of yards per game into the NFL’s 2nd-highest scoring team at 30.1 points per game, behind only the New Orleans Saints.

And ultimately, it’s the points per game statistic that really matters because that is what’s allowed the Vikings to win 8 of their first 9 games.

“I think the key to any good team, and I’m talking specifically about an offense, is, first of all, it’s about winning,” Favre said. “That’s the only thing that matters. We all get blinded by statistics and how they scored, how they won, all of those things. The bottom line is it’s about winning and winning only.”

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