Childress prods team with questions and gets answers

  • Article by: KEVIN SEIFERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 11, 2007 - 12:29 AM

Rookie Adrian Peterson has a dazzling debut, rushing for 103 yards and scoring on a 60-yard swing pass, and the defense supplies two touchdowns on interception returns by Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield.

The questions have been flowing for months. You don't get picked to finish at the bottom of a weak division for nothing, after all. Knowledgeable observers don't make you No. 31 in their power rankings because they think they're wrong. You don't get Fox's fifth-string announcing crew -- and you don't need corporate help to sell out your stadium -- because everyone believes you're going to the Super Bowl.

Yes, plenty of people found reasons to doubt the Vikings as the 2007 season opened. So as he gathered players for one final meeting Saturday night, coach Brad Childress joined the skeptics. On a screen, Childress displayed 20 questions about the team -- "There were probably more if I would have kept on writing," he said afterward -- and challenged players to answer them in Sunday's season opener against Atlanta.

The Vikings solved enough problems to earn a sturdy 24-3 victory over the hapless Falcons, beginning and ending the scoring with two defensive touchdowns and celebrating a breakout game for budding star Adrian Peterson.

But an injury to tailback Chester Taylor, along with a mostly dormant offense, left Childress with a few unanswered questions.

"Some you're able to tick off and cross out," Childress said, "and some continue to need work. But it's always good to start to find out those answers."

Players absorbed a rocky introduction to Childress last season, but he spent much of the offseason building relationships with key pillars of the locker room. They witnessed his sense of humor in practice and meetings, but Saturday evening "was a pretty serious deal," cornerback Antoine Winfield said.

In some cases, players were called out individually. One of the questions was whether defensive end Kenechi Udeze would get a sack this season after registering zero in 2006. (He did, on the last play of Sunday's game, to earn a game ball.)

Another: Who, if anyone, would step up as an offensive playmaker? Peterson answered that one, replacing Taylor (bruised hip) in the first quarter and rushing for 103 yards on 19 carries. Peterson also took a swing pass from Tarvaris Jackson 60 yards for a touchdown, giving the Vikings a 17-3 lead with 7 minutes, 19 seconds remaining.

"It was just me talking to our team," Childress said. "When you deal in honesty, everybody knows they're asking the same questions."

Indeed, Childress not only expressed his concerns but also exposed the fears of many in the meeting room. The truth hurts, it has been said before. How did it feel Saturday night?

"Everyone has an opinion," Winfield said. "That's how I look at it. The only thing that matters are that the guys have a lot of confidence in this locker room and that we are going to play for each other every time we get on that field."

The Vikings certainly fulfilled that expectation Sunday afternoon, as the defense once again rescued the offense, outscoring it just as it did in two of their four preseason games. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams started it midway through the first quarter, tipping a Joey Harrington pass to himself and returning it 54 yards for a touchdown.

Winfield, meanwhile, clinched the game with 2:37 left by intercepting Harrington at the Vikings 14 and dashing into the end zone. In between, the offense managed only a 49-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell before Peterson's long score.

In fact, the Vikings had gained only 203 yards entering the fourth quarter; they finished with 302 yards and 15 first downs.

"We're still getting a feel for this offense," said receiver Bobby Wade, whose 28-yard reception helped set up Longwell's field goal. "Obviously when your defense plays that well, it's pretty easy. ... But we can't let our defense beat us in touchdowns. So we'll be back next week and take it as a personal challenge to get it in the end zone."

Postgame discussion, in fact, focused so tightly on defensive scoring and rookie running backs that perhaps the No. 1 question on Childress' list -- Jackson -- seemed almost a nonfactor. Jackson completed 13 of 23 passes for 163 yards, throwing one interception and missing receivers Troy Williamson and Sidney Rice when they broke open on deep routes.

And yet, thanks to Peterson and the defense, the Vikings never had to worry about it.

"It speaks well for us," Winfield said, "but it's a long year. This is just the first game. It's not time to start patting ourselves on the back."

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  • WEEK 2: VIKINGS AT DETROIT • NOON • FORD FIELD • CH. 9 • 1130-AM, 100.3-FM

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Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 0 1st Qtr 10:05
Miami 0
Baltimore 0 1st Qtr 10:28
Houston 3
Detroit 0 1st Qtr 9:48
Chicago 0
Cleveland 0 1st Qtr 9:12
Carolina 0
Atlanta 3 1st Qtr 11:15
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 0 1st Qtr 10:30
Tampa Bay 0
Kansas City 0 1st Qtr 9:10
Pittsburgh 3
New England 0 1st Qtr 9:44
NY Jets 0
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Seattle 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 2:30 PM
Memphis 3:30 PM
Boston 5:00 PM
Detroit 5:00 PM
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Indiana 6:00 PM
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Dallas 5:00 PM
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Harvard 12 2nd Half 15:48
Virginia 48
Maine 6 1st Half 15:58
Army 2
Ferris State 3 1st Half 17:01
Bowling Green 5
San Francisco 8 1st Half 16:42
Cleveland State 3
Oregon State 17 1st Half 11:12
Quinnipiac 12
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
FIU 1:30 PM
Goshen 1:35 PM
Bryant 2:00 PM
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
ULM 2:00 PM
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Troy 3:30 PM
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 29 2nd Half
Denver 37
St Marys-CA 33 2nd Half 16:18
George Washington 44
TX-San Antonio 39 2nd Half 12:45
Nicholls 32
Portland State 30 2nd Half
Columbia 37
Tenn Tech 39 2nd Half 11:13
Morgan State 42
SMU 18 2nd Half
Auburn 35
Quinnipiac 46 2nd Half 18:39
Hartford 35
Hofstra 34 2nd Half
Boston College 26
Eastern Washington 38 2nd Half 13:40
Georgia Southern 29
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Liberty 6 1st Half 15:12
(1) South Carolina 9
Fairleigh Dickinson 16 1st Half 13:12
Brown 14
Buffalo 9 1st Half 14:18
Long Island 8
Bucknell 4 1st Half 16:39
Mount St Marys 8
Stony Brook 6 1st Half 14:52
Wagner 7
FIU 7 1st Half 16:22
Wofford 4
Duquesne 2 1st Half 17:09
Providence 5
Maine 15 1st Half 12:46
William & Mary 7
Alabama State 2 1st Half 15:53
Samford 8
TX-Pan American 3 1st Half 15:26
VA Commonwealth 4
South Dakota St 5 1st Half 17:42
Marist 9
Saint Josephs 10 1st Half 13:27
(5) Notre Dame 9
Radford 6 1st Half 16:33
Virginia Tech 7
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
Evansville 1:00 PM
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Princeton 1:00 PM
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Rider 1:00 PM
SC State 1:00 PM
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
South Alabama 1:00 PM
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
NJIT 1:00 PM
Davidson 1:00 PM
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Wright State 1:30 PM
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Dayton 2:00 PM
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Idaho State 3:00 PM
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
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2014 preseason     
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