While they were busy firing Brad Childress on Monday morning, I wonder if the Wilfs were aware that local broadcasting legend -- just ask him -- Don Shelby was signing off on Monday night. How DARE they upstage Shelby's big day?
Firing Childress was a mistake, but not for the reason(s) you might think. Even though the players are far from blameless for this season's debacle, a more positive vibe now clearly exists. If the Vikings had kept Childress, they would have finished the year 4-12 or 5-11. With interim head coach Leslie Frazier, unfortunately they won't be nearly that bad. Now, they'll probably win at least three more games, which upsets their draft position.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the best pro prospect since John Elway. The Vikings now have zero shot at landing the No. 1 pick, and very little chance in moving up for it. Remember, one nice bargaining chip -- next year's third round pick -- now belongs to New England thanks to the Randy Moss deal. Even at 4-12, it is doubtful that Carolina will win more than three games, but the higher you are, the more power you possess. It is even possible the Vikings will be so good in the final six games that they won't even secure a spot to grab their second choice at quarterback -- Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, Auburn's Cam Newton, or Washington's Jake Locker. The right quarterback can galvanize a town. In the Wilf's case, the right quarterback may be enough to get a new stadium. So, who will be the quarterback next year? Michael Vick will stay in Philadelphia, the free-agent class stinks, and the trade options are minimal.
The worse you are for the rest of the year, the much better chance you have to fill the most important position for the next 5-10 years.
Now, the players will be motivated to make Frazier look good. Good luck finding anyone who doesn't like him. He is a commanding presence, who is able to strike the right balance between disciplinarian and friendly figure. Manging alpha-personalities is just as important as X's & O's (do X's & O's even exist on offense with Brett Favre?). In recent weeks, word has it that wide receiver Percy Harvin went to Frazier, not Childress, with his problems. The players love Frazier. The Wilfs knew this all along. If you're wondering why Frazier didn't land any of the seven head-coaching jobs he's interviewed for, it was not over doubts about his ability to lead. Fair or not, it was about the likelihood that he could assemble a winning staff. I'll take the good leader and let him decide who to surround himself with.
In a non-playoff season, draft position trumps everything else. The Wilfs should have kept Childress and hired Frazier in January.