Vikings coach Brad Childress said Monday he did not receive any clarity on his job status before owner Zygi Wilf left Mall of America Field on Sunday. Wilf has returned to his New Jersey home and unless something drastically changes there is no reason to believe Childress is in jeopardy of losing his job before Sunday's game at Chicago.
In fact, Wilf seemed ecstastic after the Vikings' come-from-behind victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals in overtime. After the victory, players made it clear they had won the game for themselves and their teammates. Childress said Monday that's the type of answer he wants to hear.
"The big thing is I preach that to them -- you play for each other, for your brother on your right and your brother on your left," Childress said. "That’s the way it is. That you’re doing the right thing, that you’re competing, that you’re doing everything for the guy on your right and the guy on your left. We talk about that all the time -- play for each other, that’s the big thing. Yeah, for the fans, for the … But you play for the guys you’re playing with. You play for each other."
As for whether the players would like to know if Childress is going to be their coach for the long term, linebacker Chad Greenway said he doesn't need to hear a definitive statement from ownership.
"I think you guys want that, obviously, because you continue to prod at me," Greenway said. "But it’s not what it’s about. It really isn’t. What it’s about in this league is stringing a couple, two, three, four, five wins together to be in a position at the end of the season to make the playoffs. That should be the focus. It shouldn’t be anything else. Hopefully, that’s all in the past and we can continue to move forward now.”
Interest in Harris?
Cornerback Al Harris was released by the Packers today and will be on the waiver wire until Tuesday afternoon. Harris is coming off a major knee injury and it's unlikely he will be claimed. However, teams could show interest in him as a free agent.
Asked if the Vikings might be among those clubs, Childress said: "I'm sure we'll end up going through and looking at tape. Al's had a great, great career. I don't know if there's a spot right now for us in that area."
Rice's return unknown
Wide receiver Sidney Rice did extensive work before Sunday's game against Arizona but he still hasn't been put on the active roster and it's not certain when he will return after having hip surgery in August.
Childress gave no assurances that Rice will play Sunday at Chicago.
"I’m going to try to take that with a grain of salt," Childress said. "He’s had some good practices out here -- it’s just a matter of, can you play wide open and play in an NFL football game? It’s one thing to practice. It’s another thing when you’re going to get tackled to the ground, and what you’ve got to rely on is he’s on that PUP list for a reason. He’s practicing. You’ve got to listen to him a little bit in terms of where he is. He’s going to be sore, but he’s the guy that’s got to sift it out and know if he can get in and go, because we’re not going to tackle him to the ground here. We just don’t do that in-season."
Childress said he thinks Rice is "very close," but added, "Whether he’s close enough to play, whether it’s another week, it’s hard to say right now."
As for the potential workload Rice could see upon his return, Childress said: "I think it’ll probably have to do with his conditioning and his stamina. There’s no downside to spreading fresh legs around in there. This last game was a 70-some snap game for us offensively. Would he be a 60-snap guy? I don’t think so for starters. But certainly there’s things that he can do in 30 or 35 snaps, or 20 or 25 snaps -- whatever it is he’s able to do when he comes back."
- Childress said safety Jamarca Sanford pulled a hamstring on Sunday. "We'll just see how he comes along," Childress said. "He’s had a nag here and there before that he’s come back from, but we’ll just have to see how he makes it through the week. I’ve seen him strain that thing before and make it be the end of the week, but he’s got to be able to play wide open." .... Right tackle Phil Loadholt injured his leg in the fourth quarter but was able to return. Childress expects Loadholt will be "just fine."