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Not time to sit Favre, fire Childress

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Posted Nov. 15, 2010 @ 1:37 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

The hot seat under Brad Childress has not cooled, nor has talk that QB Brett Favre should step aside and let the Vikings evaluate what they have in Tarvaris Jackson.

But that time is not here. Not quite yet.

After the game, the Vikings' locker room kept a common message alive. The players still openly talked about going 10-6, which would require ripping off an unlikely seven consecutive victories. And you know what? Good for them.

It almost certainly won't happen, but there's no sense in ending things prematurely. The Vikings are paying Favre an awfully high salary, and it does them no good to sit him when there remains a chance, however slim, of making a run. That a decision that's far easier for an owner to make when he's writing the checks and only wants the best return for his team.

The same goes for Childress. It's not a situation like in Dallas where the team is toast and a change had to be made. They had the luxury — if that even can approximate what is going on — of folding the tents and punting for the 2011 season, to see what they have in Jason Garrett. Although Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, like Garrett, is a highly regarded coaching candidate who one day might get his chance to run a team, this is not it. Last time we checked, his stop unit did not have a very good afternoon on Sunday, either.

Now, if the team goes out and lays an egg in Week 11 against the Packers, the story changes some. Then they'll be up to seven losses. At that point, you can start to put your exit strategy in place if you are Zygi Wilf.

But not now, strange as that seems. Childress was actually right, and not just deflecting media heat, Sunday when he said after the game that "it's too crazy of a league to get in the prediction business." He knows that things can turn on a dime, especially in this bizarre season with pretenders and contenders flip-flopping on a weekly basis.

There's no magic wand that is going to make Favre start playing at his 2009 level or get Childress back to happy land. We've come too far for that. But having a healthy Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice against the Bears likely would've resulted in a different story. Instead — especially after Percy Harvin tweaked his ankle — we watched Greg Camarillo, Greg Lewis and Jeff Dugan on the field in regular packages. No disrespect to those gentlemen, but that's not how it was meant to be drawn up for this team.

Of course, as it always is with Favre, there's the injury specter hanging over the whole deal. He told ESPN after the game (after not mentioning it during his postgame press conference) that his arm was hurting, and it could be related to his biceps tendon that was — remember then? — all the rage in the summer of 2009 when he first was deciding whether to join the Vikings after an injury-plagued second half of the '08 season with the Jets.

Clearly, if Favre is hurt, he should sit. And it would put Childress again in the interesting situation of having to decide his QB's fate, which could be directly tied to his own status with the team. We know how it ended up prior to the New England game, when Favre was hanging in the balance with his since-forgotten ankle injury, and the QB was one of the few bright spots in the loss to the Patriots.

This time, though, everything is at stake with the Packers coming to town. The division. The season perhaps. The careers of two men.

Forget for now, if you can, the weird poetry that could happen if the Vikings lose and Favre ends up making his final NFL start, be it because of injury or ineffectiveness, against the hated Packers. For now, he has to play if he can and Childress has to keep coaching as if there's a chance.

Which, slim or not, bad as the Vikings appear to be, there is.

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