By Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Quarterback Brett Favre did not hold back Sunday night when talking about coach Brad Childress' attempt to pull him from the Vikings' 26-7 loss at Bank of America Stadium. But it turns out this is not the first time Favre has been down this path with Childress this season.
Childress also tried to remove Favre early from the Vikings' 27-10 victory over Detroit on Nov. 15 at the Metrodome, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Childress has pulled Favre from six games this season because the Vikings had a big lead late -- that includes the victory over the Lions -- but in two of these cases Childress wanted to make the move well before Favre saw fit.
In both cases, Favre has remained in. It was clear he was extremely unhappy Sunday night about the fact Childress wanted to take him out with the Vikings leading 7-6 in the third quarter.
"Yeah, there was a heated discussion, I guess you would call it," said Favre, who finished 17 of 27 for 224 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. "We were up 7-6 at the time. No secret, I was getting hit a little bit. I felt the pressure on a lot of plays. We had seven points. So I think everyone in the building was like, ‘They’re not moving the ball, they’re not getting points.’ Brad wanted to go in a different direction and I wanted to stay in the game.
"We were up 7-6. Yeah, it’s not 70-6, but we’re up 7-6. So I said, ‘I’m staying in the game, I’m playing.’ I don’t know if it was exactly to protect me, or we had seven points, I’m not sure. That’s his call. But we talked it out. We didn’t have time, I didn’t have time to sit there and say why or what. My response was, we’ve got to win this ballgame and I want to stay in and do whatever I can. Now, unfortunately, I didn’t do that, but that was my intention."
When the Vikings lured Favre out of retirement in August, there were many who wondered how he would co-exist with Childress. Favre has long been known as a gun-slinger and labeling him as head strong might be an understatement. Childress, on the other hand, has some very definite ways that he feel things should run, especially when it comes to his offense.
But as the Vikings rolled to an 11-2 start there seemed little reason to believe that Favre and Childress weren’t on the same page. The aftermath on Sunday, however, will change that perception quite a bit. So what was Childress thinking?
That’s going to have to be a question for today because Childress held his news conference before Favre and wasn’t nearly as forthcoming when asked about the discussion.
"We were having a conversation about how the game was heading at that point in time and what we needed to do to head it the other way," Childress said.
Evidently, Childress thought he could get it to head another way by bringing in Tarvaris Jackson.
"As I look back on this game and watch the film, I think there are some plays I could have made, don’t get me wrong," Favre said. "Now some of my best performances throughout my career I could have said the same. I could sense we were struggling, and there were a lot of reasons for that, and I’ve got no problem taking that on my shoulder. That’s what I’m here for.
"But in no way being up 7-6 and being banged around a little bit, would I consider coming out. I don’t even know if I would consider that being down 70-6. But winning the ballgame. I don’t know. ... But believe me, I wanted to get something going, I wanted to score points. I don’t know the answer to that question of what his reasonings were."
Winfield has a night to forget
Antoine Winfield said the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers is one he’d rather forget.
The Vikings Pro Bowl cornerback gave up a long touchdown pass and missed several tackles that led to big plays in a fourth-quarter meltdown by the defense at Bank of America Stadium. “Very disappointing,” Winfield said.
Things went south on the second play of the quarter when Carolina’s Steve Smith got behind Winfield on a 42-yard touchdown catch. Winfield got tangled up and fell to the ground on the play.
“I have to go up there and make that play,” he said. “I have no excuses. I was in position. I need to make that play. Whether my feet got tangled or anything.” Winfield also missed a tackle on Smith’s 45-yard catch in the fourth quarter and had another missed tackle later in the quarter.
“I missed a few, which is very uncharacteristic,” Winfield said. “That needs to be corrected. Trust me, I’m going to work hard this week to get that corrected.”
Winfield played his second game Sunday after returning from a right foot injury that sidelined him for six games. He showed no signs of rust in a terrific performance against the Cincinnati Bengals last week.
But defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier saw some mistakes from Winfield on Sunday that makes him believe he’s not 100 percent. “We have to take a look at where he is physically because you could see his ability to close wasn’t there,” Frazier said. “When he needed to jump that one time with the tight end he didn’t have it. So we have to take a look at that and see what we can do to help him get back to 100 percent because he’s not 100 percent.”
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