Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


A question of when to replace the regulars

Posted by: under Off the field, Vikings, Brad Childress, Vikings defense, Vikings fans, Adrian Peterson, Ben Leber, Brad Childress, Brett Favre, Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson, Percy Harvin Updated: December 10, 2009 - 6:29 PM

While answering questions Thursday during a Vikings chat on www.startribune.com, one topic that came up was whether coach Brad Childress had considered taking out some of his regulars in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's 30-17 loss at Arizona.

Quarterback Brett Favre, who has been rested for portions of six games this season when the Vikings had comfortable fourth-quarter leads, played the entire game against the Cardinals and so did running back Adrian Peterson. I'm sure some Vikings fans weren't happy at all when Peterson hobbled off the field after one play late in the contest. Also, keep in mind the Vikings were down 30-10 before Favre connected with Percy Harvin on a 31-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute, 20 seconds left.

Childress has addressed this topic in the past but not recently and I'm not sure he's been asked specifically about his philosophy on lifting guys from games when his team is way behind.  

Asked that question Thursday, Childress said: “You give it some thought. Just like you give thought to taking one of those guys out to rest them [when you are way ahead] which we’ve done this year. But that wasn’t foremost in my thinking at that point and time. I don’t know that there’s any ... like there's a two-minute or four-minute chart . I don’t know if there’s a chart for that. That’s just something you do with feel.”
 
On another note, Childress said that former Vikings linebacker Napoleon Harris called the team after E.J. Henderson broke his leg on Sunday. Harris was the Vikings' starting middle linebacker in 2006 and returned last season after Henderson was lost for the year early on and played middle linebacker in the base defense. However, Childress seems satisfied with the team's current situation at linebacker.
 
"We were all right with the six [linebackers] we have and then we brought J. Leman in as a practice squad guy," Childress said.
 
As for how the defensive calls will be made, here's how I understand it: Jasper Brinkley, who will play middle linebacker in base situations, will set the defensive alignment when he's in the game. However, veteran Ben Leber will wear the helmet with the radio that receives the defensive calls from the sideline. Leber will then either relay information to Brinkley, or if the Vikings are in the nickel package it likely will be Leber in the middle with Chad Greenway as the only other linebacker on the field.
 
Childress said that Brinkley also will get a helmet with a radio in it, but that model will be kept on the sideline because only one player on defense is allowed to have the communication device in his helmet. Brinkley will wear an ordinary helmet most of the time but if something happens he will be able to switch. 
 
Got all that? Now, that's inside football stuff.

 

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