What would we do without Brad Childress?

How would we entertain ourselves during the NFL offseason if the coach wasn't willing to play linguistic Twister, if the Sultan of Serpentine Speechifying didn't occasionally utter a line that made you drop your newspaper (or laptop, which can get expensive).

The man who brought you the phrase "Kick-Ass Offense" following a season in which Chester Taylor turned left more often than a NASCAR driver, Childress this week gave us another declarative sentence ingeniously filled with irony.

In the foaming wake of "Kick-Ass Offense," Childress actually said, "That's how I put food on the table."

In an interview with Star Tribune reporter Judd Zulgad, Childress tried to explain how he makes difficult decisions at the quarterback position.

"You do what you do," Childress said. "That's how I put food on the table."

At most positions, Childress prefers filet mignon. At quarterback, the most important position in football and the focal point of Childress' expertise, he serves gridiron gruel.

An NFL head coach with a blind spot for QBs is like a pilot with a blind spot for runways.

While it's difficult to discern exactly who makes what decision in the Vikings' front office, Childress knows NFL talent. He should get at least some of the credit for bringing in Chester Taylor, Visanthe Shiancoe, Bernard Berrian, Jared Allen, Madieu Williams, Ryan Longwell, Ben Leber and Steve Hutchinson. Compare that list of prime NFL players with the quarterbacks Childress has acquired or coached: a past-his-prime Brad Johnson, Mike McMahon (no relation -- to any functional NFL quarterback), Brooks Bollinger, Tyler Thigpen, Drew Henson, Kelly Holcomb, Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson, with a cameo by Koy Detmer, one of the five best Detmers ever to play the game.

When it comes to quarterbacks, Childress has trouble telling the difference between Spam and Honey Baked Ham.

Thursday, the Vikings continued their starvation diet, watching the Bears trade for Jay Cutler, a move that might haunt the Vikings for a decade.

Cutler embarrassed himself by whining about the Broncos' willingness to trade him. Remember, though, that Brett Favre started his career as a beer-swilling underachiever who became addicted to Vicodin and ended his career as a selfish egotist, and he's headed to the Hall of Fame.

During his rookie season, Troy Aikman hated his coach, Jimmy Johnson. That relationship worked out pretty well. Eli Manning refused to play in San Diego, John Elway refused to play in Baltimore. Just because a quarterback is a prima donna or whiner doesn't mean he won't win.

When Cutler started and the Broncos held opponents to 21 points or fewer, he went 13-1.

He would have constituted a dramatic upgrade from Rosenfels and Jackson. Today, the Vikings don't know who their starting quarterback is. If Cutler had walked through the front door at Winter Park, the debate would have ended.

In the NFL, finding the right quarterback is how you put food on the table. The Vikings still are serving scraps.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. • jsouhan@startribune.com