Coach Brad Childress long ago made it clear that he has final say over the Vikings' 53-man roster. On Monday, he used that authority by making a decision that could come back to bite him in a big way.
Already fed up with Randy Moss' antics only four games into his second tenure with the Vikings, Childress informed his players at a team meeting that he would be placing the wide receivers on waivers. But there was one important issue.
Childress hadn't first told owner Zygi Wilf that he was going to jettison a guy the Vikings had acquired less than a month ago for a third-round pick from New England. Wilf was extremely upset, according to NFL sources and other reports, and he had good reason to be mad.
Not only had the Vikings traded away a piece of their future to get Moss, but they also took on a contract with a $6.4 million base salary for 2010. Wilf has been willing to spend money whenever he's asked but the Vikings don't generate enough revenue to be acquiring big-name players and then releasing them.
Obviously, Childress didn't want any push back from Wilf or others in the front office and so he decided to go forward with the plan to place Moss on waivers. The old act first, ask questions later. That's a move, however, that could cost Childress his job and definitely puts him on a very hot seat. The Vikings 2-5 start doesn't help matters and neither does the icy relationship between Childress and quarterback Brett Favre.
There are some of the Vikings coaching staff who are concerned this actually might be their last week of work. Because of Childress' attempt to get rid of Moss on his own, he was not placed on waivers by the 3 p.m. deadline Monday. The Vikings did issue a release from Childress on Monday night confirming the sides will be parting.
This is all interesting because one would think Childress had learned his lesson about making moves without telling ownership. In Childress' first season in 2006, he cut wide receiver Marcus Robinson on Christmas Eve and created a public relations disaster. Childress has since admitted he could have handled the situation much better and still gotten the same result.
The case of Moss is an interesting one. There are reports that some Vikings players really liked him, but it's known that feeling wasn't universal. At 33 years of age, Moss is still an extremely talented player but he isn't the guy who wowed fans during his first stint in Minnesota from 1998 to 2004. He had 13 receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns in four games with the Vikings, who went 1-3 in that stretch.
Moss caught only one pass for 8 yards and no touchdowns in the Vikings' 28-18 loss on Sunday at New England. The upside was Moss' presence -- and the attention paid to him -- helped create favorable matchups for wide receiver Percy Harvin.
After Sunday's game, Moss broke a media silence that earned him a $25,000 fine by giving a rambling statement in which he praised his former team, the Patriots, and criticized the Vikings for not listening to his ideas on how to scheme for New England.
Childress said Monday that he had allowed Moss to stay in Boston after the game for a few days but an NFL source said it was Moss who informed the team he would be staying out East.
That likely didn't sit well at all with Childress. Neither did the fact that, according to those around the team, Moss treated few people with respect and last Friday when the Vikings had food brought into their locker room he loudly announced in front of the people who had prepared it that he wouldn't feed it to his dog.
While Childress' realization about Moss' character appears to be behind the reason for the move, one does have to wonder how on earth the Vikings coach didn't do his due diligence beforehand and realize what a high-maintenance person Moss is before he signed off on the trade for him. Moss has been like this for years and so no one should have been surprised by the off-the-field issues he brought.
The fact Childress evidently was surprised -- or couldn't handle Moss -- likely isn't going to be viewed in a favorable light by his employer.