Vikings' Childress quiets talk of rift on team

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2006 - 9:33 PM

A day after safety Darren Sharper called for the Vikings to make changes on offense following a 23-13 loss at Chicago, coach Brad Childress attempted to downplay any talk of dissension in the ranks.

"It's a volatile situation after a game," Childress said Monday. "I mean, there are emotions that are on edge, and I understand that. We're not trying to hide anything from anybody. ... The only thing you say is -- and they're clear on this, they understand this -- it's a team game.

"As long as they've played, you win and lose together."

But the Vikings defense has outplayed the offense for much of the season, and there clearly was frustration on the part of the defense Sunday after a loss in which it gave up a season-low 107 yards and held Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman to a 1.3 quarterback rating. "Everybody gets paid to do a job," Sharper said. "If you're not executing your job, changes need to be made."

Fellow safety Dwight Smith attempted to quiet such talk Monday, saying, "There is none," when asked about the frustration level. Smith pointed to the fact the Bears returned one of their four interceptions of Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson for a touchdown.

"We have one credo we try to live by in our room and that's, 'Outplay the other team's defense,' " Smith said. "If the other team's defense is scoring with its turnovers, then we need to score with turnovers. Until we match the other team's defense we can't sit around and point fingers at our offense. It's not like every game this year we've held up our end of the bargain."

Center Matt Birk, who is in his ninth season with the Vikings, has seen plenty of seasons when the roles were reversed. "For a long time, at least on this team, offense carried the day," he said. "It's not about offense, it's about winning games. It's about finding ways to win games no matter how you do it. And we haven't done it."

Taylor hurting

Running back Chester Taylor, who suffered bruised ribs in the second quarter Sunday and left for good late in the third, underwent a CT scan Monday.

"It's in that cartilage area," Childress said. "I don't know that much about the ribs, I just know it's extremely painful. ... We'll continue to treat that and he'll be day-to-day." Taylor has not missed a game this season.

Childress said on his weekly radio show Monday night on KFAN (1130-AM) that if Taylor plays Sunday he will have protective padding for his ribs.

Childress also revealed Birk continues to be bothered by a neck stinger and said the veteran will be examined by doctors today. "He has been off and on with treatment, and it's ongoing," Childress said.

Right guard Artis Hicks, who has sat out the past two games, did some work Monday at Winter Park and is expected to return to practice Wednesday when preparation for the Detroit game will begin.

'Call to arms'

After giving up kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns in back-to-back games, Childress said the special-teams coverage units would be making "a call to arms there in terms of all hands on deck."

While he did not get into specifics, Childress indicated he plans to have more regulars on special teams.


• Punter Chris Kluwe suffered a sprained right wrist and thumb trying to make a tackle Sunday, Childress said.


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