When Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked about the ``heated discussion'' between himself and quarterback Brett Favre during the third quarter, he didn't deny it took place, but he didn't elaborate much.
My column for the Monday paper (not the early column that some of you got, the one without quotes, but the one I wrote for our later deadline) contains all of the quotes Favre offered on the subject on Sunday night. To summarize: He wasn't happy that Childress considered benching him, for whatever reason.
Again, my column on the subject delves into the subject and contains all of Favre's quotes on the topic. It's in the Monday paper.
My short take: Favre wasn't the problem Sunday night. His offensive line (particularly Bryant McKinnie) was awful. The Vikings' defense got ripped in the fourth quarter, but even when it was limiting the Panthers in the first three quarters, it wasn't making enough big plays. As a couple of defensive starters said after the game, there's nothing wrong with a defense scoring some points, too.
Steve Hutchinson and Jared Allen, in particular, sounded mildly disgusted by the team's performance, although they didn't say anything too harsh.
My short take No. 2: The Vikings have lost three of their last four games on grass, with the only victory in that stretch coming at Green Bay, in a game Favre was desperate to win, a game that the team wanted to win for Favre.
Since they moved into the Metrodome, the Vikings have struggled on grass. Even their good teams have struggled on grass. Their lone regular-season loss in 1998 came at Tampa, on grass.
I wouldn't be surprised if the last two losses, at Arizona and Carolina, are the product of an overconfident team playing on an unfamiliar surface.
Here are the two real problems with the loss:
1) Favre is incredibly strong-willed, for better and worse. If he senses a lack of trust on the part of Childress, their relationship could go south in a hurry, and with it the season. I don't think that will happen, but that possibility was raised Sunday night.
2) The Vikings no longer are assured of a first-round bye, because they are only one game ahead of the Eagles, and neither of their remaining games look like gimmes. The Bears stink, but the Vikings just lost a cold-weather game on grass to a mediocre team, so they shouldn't exactly be cocky about this one. And the Giants, for all of their problems, are talented and well-coached.
To me, the elite teams in the conference _ the Saints and Vikings _ no longer look all that much stronger than the teams they may have to face in the playoffs _ the surging Eagles, the talented Cowboys, the mercurial Cardinals, the intriguing-if-flawed Packers.
This is going to be quite interesting the rest of the way.
Upcoming: I'll be on with Reusse at 6:40 on am-1500 to recap the Vikings game. I'm on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14. Flying home tomorrow, taking a few vacation days from the paper, although I'll continue to do the radio spots.
I have a big piece running in the Friday paper on the Star Tribune Sports Person of the Year.
You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.