After starting the 2008 season 1-3, the Vikings have somewhat quietly gone 16 – 4 over their last 20 regular season games, or 16–5 if you include the Eagles Wild Card game last January. I say quietly because I haven’t heard the national media demonstrate any awareness of this gaudy record. We all know that the Vikes have been on a roll. In the back of my mind I was cognizant that it extended to last season. However, I didn’t realize the full extent of it until this week.
A statement attributed to Ted Thompson currently posted on the Acme Packing Company’s blog site started me thinking. Ted apparently said: "I’d say we (the Packers) have an excellent shot at the wild card or even if the Vikings have their annual collapse even maybe the division…". I started to think about historic Vikings collapses that are too painful to go into here, and then it hit me. I couldn’t remember a collapse in the Brad Childress era, so I started digging. Sorry Ted, but I found just the opposite of what you are hoping for… there aren’t any.
Childress has been much maligned since arriving here in Minnesota. He brought most of it on himself early on with his stealth secrecy and some early personnel moves that didn’t seem wise at the time. His game day coaching skills were also suspect especially early on. I have criticized him myself on many occasions, but now it’s time for me to give him his due.
The Vikings front office has been masterfully built by the Wilfs, Rob Brzezinski and Childress. Rick Spielman, Scott Studwell and the scouting team have done a great job of assessing talent and filling roster holes using both the draft and free agency.
They have been built from the ground up. Having the courage to draft Adrian Peterson in spite of injury concerns obviously almost alone has propelled the Vikings from a decent team to a playoff team. But since 2005 there have also been many key free agent acquisitions like Brett Favre, Steve Hutchinson, Jerad Allen, Chester Taylor, Bernard Berrian, and Madieu Williams. Each one of these acquisitions addressed a specific roster need and made the team stronger.
The Vikings have also made some incredibly good draft choices 2006 – 2009. Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffin, Tarvaris Jackson, Ray Edwards, Sydney Rice, Brian Robison, Tyrell Johnson, John Sullivan, Percy Harvin, Phil Loadholt and of course Adrian have really solidified the team. Most are starters now, and all have made big contributions.
The Vikings have the elements of a championship team. Most people have attributed the addition of Favre as the single most important change that has contributed to this season’s record of 7-1. That’s a fair point. However, the nucleus was there last year when the Vikings finished 2008 going 9-3. Hats off to Childress and the front office for building this Vikings team the right way.
Hopefully the Vikings talent will lead them to a Super Bowl win and the Lombardi Trophy. Enjoy the ride!