A couple things here. First, I think I'm warming to Brad Childress, and it's from a commercial on NFL Network. He talks about doing things right all the time, even when no one is looking. On to my point...
I HATED...I mean HATED 2006-2008 when it came to the Vikings offense, with the exception of Adrian Peterson. I really thought that the offense Childress brought in was the most unimaginative, bland, lifeless offense I had ever watched in my lifetime. Fast forward to this year, and the Minnesota Vikings offense is...kick ass. Yeah, you heard me, it IS a kick ass offense. Well, why?
The obvious answers are Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre, but it goes deeper than that. Let's look at the skill players the Vikings had from 06-08 and what they have now. Well, screw that, let's start with Favre and look what the Vikings had prior to 2009. Brad Johnson, Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Tarvaris Jackson, Gus Frerotte, and then...say it with me...Tarvaris Jackson again. Johnson, Holcomb, and Gus were smart veteran QB's that just couldn't execute all the throws in the offense. Brad had a weak arm but knew the offense inside and out, Holcomb matched his weak arm with an uncanny inability to hit an open receiver, TJ has a cannon for an arm but is wildly inconsistent, and Gus, God Bless Him, was the closest thing to Tommy Kramer the younger kids will ever see. How do I describe Two Minute Tommy for the little ones?
He was sit on the edge of your seat exciting to facepalm ugly to watch, and then back again several times a game. He'd make a great throw and then throw three picks; he'd win a game in the last minute and then stand in front of a TV camera with a dip the size of a bathroom vanity in his lower lip and then say "aw shucks, we just took what the defense gave us today." Gus didn't have a flair for the game ending dramatics like TK did, but his game resembled Kramer's in the maddening, lovable, kick-a-puppy-he-makes-you-so-mad in a lot of ways. Why, when you compare Kramer's career to similar players over at pro-football-reference.com, two names pop up--Brad Johnson and...wait for it...GUS FREROTTE!!!
And a guy that's so inconsistent like Gus and TJ have been makes Chilly conservative in a Jim 'it's okay to punt' Tressel kind of way. Why? He knew he didn't have a QB that could overcome mistakes and play from behind, and his WR's weren't game changers and guys that could swing momentum in one play. Travis Taylor, Bobby Wade, Marcus Robinson, and Robert Ferguson are nothing but a bunch of...meh when it came to making big plays.
Enter Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. In 2008, Sidney Rice was really starting to emerge late in the year, and made some clutch, move the chain catches late in the years...and then hurt his knee, pretty much wasting his sophomore season. He is healthy, and is becoming a force. Percy Harvin is explosive, and TE Visanthe Shiancoe is a threat.
Chilly has opened up the playbook because he finally has the weapons to run all the plays in all the down and distance combinations, and the results are tangible.
And if Favre does finally retire at the end of this season, I'll start the Tommy Kramer Comeback Petition.