A day after the Vikings moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC North with a victory over Chicago, Brad Childress was in fine form at his Monday news conference. Asked if he allowed himself a moment to enjoy his team’s place in the standings, Childress said: “Yeah, I had a vodka as big as your head last night.”
Childress was referring to my head and I’ll tell you right now it isn’t all that small. An attempt to turn the question serious — remember, fans were chanting for Childress to be fired as recently as November — only got this answer. “I haven’t had a chance to glance at anything,” he said. “I’m aware of [being in first place] but that’s about it right now.”
Players are off today and Tuesday and Childress’ primary concern is keeping them focused for Sunday’s game at Detroit. The Lions are 0-12 and seem to have a real shot at not winning a game this season. But that’s exactly the type of thing that keeps a coach up at night.
Safety Darren Sharper knows the concern of playing a team that has absolutely nothing to lose — no matter how bad they might be. “It’s scary, it can be scary because you know they’re going to come out fighting,” Sharper said. “That old adage of a dog backed into a corner. It’s kind of like that because they are playing at home, too, which is going to make them feel more comfortable. They’re going to know that we’re the first place team now in the NFC North and they’re going to give us their best shot. We have to make sure we come out fast and answer their intensity early on. If we do that, we’ll be fine. If we play as consistent as we did against Chicago and have the same mentality that this is a big game for us and we’re still playing for first place. It’s not sewn up yet.”
There wasn’t much news to come out of Childress’ presser today. One point of interest is that while Ryan Cook got the start for the injured Artis Hicks (right elbow) at right tackle on Sunday, that doesn’t mean Cook has won the job back. “If Artis is able to get healthy and come back, then he’ll go back in there,” Childress said.