Childress Accentuates The Positive


Viking coach Brad Childress has given his list of the six things he’s happiest about after a few weeks of off-season activities. His fisherman’s hat (which we still haven’t seen a picture of, by the way) was not among them. These things were (via

"1. Leadership of new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.“Having played a position, having played his career on the edge … that gives Leslie a lot of knowledge to add to our pressure defense,” Childress said. “He was a corner on the Bears’ Super Bowl team [in 1985], so he’s not afraid to blitz.”“Everything I anticipated from Leslie, as a teacher and a communicator, we have seen on the field,” Childress said.2. Greater impact of center Matt Birk.“Birk’s a full year removed from injury,” Childress said. “He’s bigger and stronger. Matt played last season at 295. He’s 316 now, and he’s moving just fine.“Hard as it is to believe, 295 is small for an NFL center. We’ll see if Matt can maintain his weight, his mass, in training camp. I’m confident that he will.”3. Potential impact of receiver Troy Williamson.“Troy’s an elite athlete, or he wouldn’t have been a seventh pick in the draft,” Childress said. “And now, the things I have seen after his work with the Nike vision people make me optimistic.”The cynic interviewing the coach responded: “He hasn’t been looking for Neptune in the night sky. It’s a football. Who can’t see a football?”Childress said: “I had some of those thoughts myself, until I saw for myself the things that Dr. [Alan] Reichow and his staff at Nike are doing to study and to assist athletes with vision. There’s a difference between looking at an eye chart, and keeping your eyes in focus when you’re running and your head is bouncing around.“Troy was skeptical, too, but he’s now 100 percent on board. He does his vision exercises every day. He has used these techniques with the 13-, 14- or 15,000 balls he has caught in this offseason.”Yeah, but those hands?“Troy has great hands,” Childress said.4. Linebacker Chad Greenway‘s and safety Tank Williams‘ recoveries from injuries.“Greenway is a football player,” Childress said. “He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s relentless. Forty minutes after practice is over, you might see him fielding punts.“Tank’s healthy. He’s playing all-out. He’s going to make us deeper and better on the back end of the defense.”5. Progress of quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger.“This offseason has been so much better for Tarvaris,” Childress said. “Remember, a year ago he couldn’t be here working out before May 17. This year, he has been at it every day, and there’s no comparison to the player we saw last season.“He’s a good player. We know that. Is he going to be good right now as a starting NFL quarterback? We all want that. … What we do know with Tarvaris — when he plays — is that you will see a much different player than in two games at the end of last season.”Childress also said Bollinger is a more capable quarterback than seems the popular opinion among the team’s followers.“He’s a throw-to-the-spot guy, but that works for him,” Childress said. “He’s sharp enough about what’s going on with a defense to do that.”Childress said Bollinger has been promised the chance to compete with Jackson for the starting job in training camp and the exhibitions.6. The arrival of running back Adrian Peterson.“He’s a 220-pound man who plays the game very fast,” Childress said. “He can run between the tackles or to the outside. He can catch the ball short or down the field.“He has the ‘wow’ factor, and that’s something our offense needs.”"

The offense definitely needs a “wow” factor. Or maybe just a few first downs.

On Williamson: I’ll believe it when I see it.

On Jackson and Bollinger: See “On Williamson.”

On Greenway and Tank: Well, I hope Greenway is a football player, Mr. Childress. Cause if he turns out to be a ballerina we could have a problem. And that line about Tank making the defense deeper. Does this mean he won’t be starting?

On Birk: As long as he doesn’t have to have another hernia operation, things should be okay.

On Frazier: Mike Tomlin was widely credited with infusing energy and enthusiasm into a defense that often looked lost and lethargic in the past. It still sometimes looked lost against the pass last year, but at least guys were trying. One hopes Frazier is able to develop the same rapport with his players Tomlin had. And one also hopes that he is able to devise a way for this team to get some pressure on the QB – otherwise there will be more games like the New England debacle last year, in which Tom Brady looked like he was picking apart a defense made up of Special Olympians.