Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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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.
I wrote about Favre (duh) for the Monday paper, wrote that I'm stunned by the precision of his passes and decisions.
It's remarkable that a guy known for arm strength most of his career suddenly is playing better than ever by relying on his brains and intuition, not velocity.
We are in a golden age of quarterbacks. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady might be the two best of all time, and Favre is now complementing his statistical greatness with a display of efficiency that none of us could have expected.
He's great to cover, too. He gives one of the best press conferences in the business, constantly dropping revelations into his sentences the way some people use commas.
We got into the lockerroom quickly after this game, quickly enough to see Brad Childress walking around congratulating each individual player, quickly enough to sense that this is a pretty happy group _ and not all winning NFL teams are happy groups.
Guard Steve Hutchinson told me this team has unusually good chemistry, and I believe him. Favre also admitted that after he arrived, he and Childress both had to overcome the feeling around the team that Childress had given Favre a pass on training camp, that he had bent his own rules for Favre.
Of course, now that they're 9-1, nobody really cares anymore.
Favre acted like he didn't know about Childress' contract extension, and I told him, ``We thought you had to approve it.'' He waved his hand, put on a fake bashful smile and said, `You guys.''
There aren't many all-time greats who are as interesting to cover as Favre. He finds a way to narrate his own career.
As someone who always roots for a good story, I hope Favre keeps playing this way. He's thrown 21 touchdowns and three interceptions, and set a team and personal record by completing 88 percdent of his passes on Sunday.
Sorry to put it this way, but this is a lot more fun than covering Gus Frerotte.
Upcoming: I'll be on with Reusse on am-1500 at 6:40 a.m. Monday, then on WJON at 7:14. You can follow me on twitter at SouhanStrib.
Some people seem confused by my stance on Childress' contract extension. I think I made it clear _ I didn't see any need to get it done during the season, but once it was done, I acknowledged that he's done a fine job with this team, that I'm happy for him because I think highly of him, and I adopted a slightly new view of the deal _ that the worst thing that could happen is the Wilfs have to buy him out before his contract is up. And that's just not that big a deal in a business this big.
One other note on the game: During Childress' first two years on the job, the Vikings typically looked impressive on their first drive, then fizzled. Sunday, the Seahawks' stunts and games up front confused the Vikings and thwarted their offense for the first quarter. As I tweeted (gawd I hate that word), once the Vikings figured out the Seahawks' approach, they were going to start scoring.
Give partial credit to Favre, of course, but this coaching staff has become much better at in-game adjustments.
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