Former Vikings coach Brad Childress is back in the NFL, having just been hired by the Browns as their offensive coordinator, according to

It's uncertain whether Childress will call plays for coach Pat Shurmur. Shurmur went without an offensive coordinator while calling his own plays during the 2011 season, his first as an NFL head coach.

Shurmur and Childress worked together on Andy Reid's Eagles staff for seven seasons. Shurmur said after the season that he's open to giving up his play-calling duties. The only year Childress called plays was 2006, his first season as Vikings head coach. Reid called them when Childress was offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.

Childress improved from 6-10 to 8-8 to 10-6 and 12-4 in his four full seasons. He won the NFC North his last two full seasons and reached the NFC Championship game at the end of the 2009 season. He was fired after starting 3-7 in 2010.

Childress still has one year left on his contract with the Vikings. It's worth about $4 million. Whatever the Browns pay him will be deducted from what the Vikings owe him.

The Browns have struggled since returning to the league as an expansion team in 1999. They've made one playoff appearance in those 13 seasons. The franchise's last playoff victory came during the 1994 season, a year before the original Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens after the 1995 season.

The Browns strayed from their power running game behind Peyton Hillis while going 4-12 in 2011. Childress will at the very least play a role in game-planning. He'll no doubt help return the Browns to their running roots. 

The Browns aren't sold on Colt McCoy as their long-term answer at quarterback. It's possible they'll look to upgrade the position this offseason, but they also have several other needs to take care of.

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