Vikings owner Zygi Wilf spent a second day at Winter Park on Thursday attempting to gauge the temperature surrounding his 2-5 team.
This came three days after coach Brad Childress put his job in jeopardy and upset Wilf by breaking franchise protocol and deciding to place Randy Moss on waivers without consulting with the owner, according to NFL sources. Interestingly, Wilf might have been on board with Childress' decision to let Moss go after four games had the coach gone through the proper channels.
Wilf is believed to have seen just how volatile Moss could be. After catching only one pass for 8 yards in the Vikings' 28-18 loss to the New England Patriots, Moss walked into the visitors' locker room where Wilf and other executives stood. According to an NFL source familiar with what transpired, Moss told the Vikings owner in no uncertain terms that Childress wasn't a good coach and should be fired.
Moss, who was acquired from the Patriots on Oct. 6, went into the postgame interview room a while later and gave a rambling statement in which he praised the New England franchise and criticized the Vikings coaching staff for not listening to his advice on game-planning matters.
Wilf, who has declined interview requests this week, has gone to great lengths, along with Childress, to try to get quality players in his locker room, and Moss' actions weren't consistent with that. However, the Vikings have a structure in place that requires Childress to make it known when he plans to make a move as drastic as waiving Moss. This was done to avoid an incident like the one on Christmas Eve 2006 when Childress decided to jettison wide receiver Marcus Robinson and angered players and fans.
Moss was placed on waivers Tuesday and claimed by Tennessee a day later.
Wilf, who returned to his New Jersey home after the Patriots loss, arrived at Winter Park on Wednesday and has been meeting with staff members and players to discuss a variety of issues surrounding the struggling team.
He met with several veterans, including quarterback Brett Favre, guard Steve Hutchinson and defensive linemen Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams on Thursday. An NFL source said the topic of Childress has been brought up in some of the conversations.
Asked Thursday if his relationship with Wilf had been impacted, Childress said: "Not as far as I've seen, but you could ask him. It takes two to tango."
Wilf watched Thursday's practice and talked with Childress during a portion the media was able to watch. Childress is aware Wilf has talked to some players but said he did not know whether those discussions were productive, adding, "You'd have to talk to those people."Sorry to see Moss go
Adrian Peterson is among the Vikings players who was excited to see Moss arrive and disappointed to see him go.
"Personally, he was a good teammate," the star running back said. "He was a cool guy. He was just a guy that was himself. It was tough to see him go, but you got to understand the business and you got to continue to do your job and move forward."
Peterson, who leads the NFL in rushing with 776 yards, also knows that with Moss gone opposing defenses will be able to again load up the box to stop the run.
"It helped the offense a lot and as a whole, with Percy Harvin and in the running game," Peterson said of having Moss around. "He was a guy that adds a double coverage. ... I am pretty sure teams won't hesitate to put an extra guy in the box."Gerhart more involved
Rookie running back Toby Gerhart has seen his role expand the past two weeks after getting minimal playing time early in the season. Gerhart had a season-high five carries for 24 yards against Green Bay two weeks ago. On Sunday, he took over the third-down role and caught five passes for 67 yards.
Gerhart's emergence is important because the Vikings need someone to help Peterson carry the workload the second half of the season.
"I tell Toby all the time, 'Hey, make sure you know exactly what you're doing and when you're out there you're taking advantage of those opportunities because we're going into the second stretch and we're going to need you,' " Peterson said. "I feel like he has taken that challenge."Etc.
• Gerhart likely will return kickoffs Sunday if Harvin (ankle) can't play. Childress said Peterson could be used if needed "in a pinch."
• Favre (foot, ankle, chin) did limited work in Thursday's practice. Ben Leber (knee) and Pat Williams (elbow) remained limited.