The League

Leonard Shapiro
Columnist

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

Vikings bleeding?

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The yapping back and forth between Vikings head coach Brad Childress and his quarterback, Brett Favre, the man he convinced to come out of yet another phony retirement last summer for one more shot at Super Bowl glory, was bound to happen.

Favre and Childress definitely had words on the sidelines when the coach wanted to pull his mostly ineffective quarterback, Sunday early in the third quarter against a Carolina team that was threatening to break Favre in half, even if the Vikings held a one-point lead at that point in a game they eventually lost.

Favre declined to take a seat and somehow managed to finish the game in one piece. But both men acknowledged they definitely had their differences. Childress has been bothered by Favre's frequent decisions to audible out of a running play and throw the football. Childress would prefer he stick with the play call unless there is an obvious reason to throw when Favre reads the defense at the line of scrimmage.

On Wednesday, Favre said at his weekly news conference that he and Childress were now back on the same page, that he fully understands his coach's concerns and that with a running back like Adrian Peterson on his side, maybe it would behoove him to allow one of the best backs in the league to carry the ball more often.

It was all sunshine and roses in the Vikings camp two days before Christmas, with Favre and Childress blowing each other kisses and insisting their Sunday dust-up had been "blown out of proportion." Oh please.

Let's see, a Hall of Fame quarterback essentially defies the head coach and makes it appear that he's calling the shots, not Childress. That can't be playing very well in the Vikings' locker room, where there were rumblings in preseason that Favre's presence had caused something of a rift. As the Vikings tore off to the best start in team history, time and winning healed all wounds, but after laying an egg in Carolina on Sunday and losing two of their last three, clearly there is some trouble in paradise.

This may well be a viewed as a speed bump in the road to Miami if the Vikings can get themselves to the Super Bowl. But if this recent mini-slump is a portent of ugly things to come, critics all around the league will point out that Favre's 40-year-old bones are simply not spry enough to survive a 16-game regular season, let alone a playoff run. They will point to his decline with the Jets at the end of the 2008 season and say we told you so, so there.

The Vikings have the perfect cure-all to stop the bleeding and bickering this weekend against an under-achieving Bears team, and they will face a playoff-like atmosphere in the final week when the N.Y. Giants come to town for what likely will be a must-win game for the visitors to make the playoffs.

At the moment, Childress and Favre are pooh-poohing any notion that the Vikings are about to implode. Favre said he'll be a good boy and do what he's told and Childress was in typical coachspeak mode when he said it was time to focus on the Bears. What else would you expect them to say at this point? But definitely, stay tuned.

By Leonard Shapiro  |  December 24, 2009; 7:35 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I'll admit I have a dog in the fight, was kinda hoping Sean Glennon could stay around as the 4th QB. The guy may never be a starting QB but has the smarts to coach maybe in the NFL, time would have been well used if for no other reason than looking around.

But Favre wanted to play again. To his credit, the Vikes weren't going anywhere so any success they had might be considered a freebee. But still, who couldn't predict an old guy getting worn down late in the season. I sure as heck did. The Vikes were going to have one of those season like when the Wizards had Michael Jordan: it becomes the Michael Jordan show team/Brent Favre show team but don't set your heart on making the playoffs. It's all about them.

The Vikes got the sugar rush but "later" eventually comes. They'll have no developed skill at QB next year and it looks like that destiny is starting now.

Sean Glennon is only the first guy in line who should be po'd.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | December 24, 2009 11:02 AM

Please. The guys in the locker room and all the coaches must be laughing in disbelief when (or if) they read these ridiculous articles, including the talking commentary from all the sports pundits. Favre and Childress are both honest and competitive men that intensely want to go all the way with the Vikings. Can't stand you guys jumping all over Favre as soon as something remotely seems negative. It's all jealousy if you ask me. You guys all wish you could be out there doing what Favre is doing at his age. Lighten up and enjoy.

Posted by: kad7777 | December 25, 2009 1:06 AM

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