It likely doesn't behoove Viking head coach Brad Childress that his name isn't something like, "Brad Hotcocoadress," or "Brad Fuzzystuffedanimaldress." Alas, "Chilly's" name is what it is and his moniker unfortunately echoes fan reception to his coaching skills as the Purple stand at 3-4, and Childress sports a career coaching mark of 17-22.
The Bye week has become the Bile week. Childress was brought here from Philadelphia with a reputation for offense, and, at least statistically, he hasn't wholly disappointed in that effect. While the Vikings ranked 26th in league points and 23rd in total yardage in Childress' nascent year of '06, he brought them to numerical respectability in said categories last year, scoring the 15th most points in the NFL and accruing the 13th best yardage tally. Through the Vikings first seven games of '08, they presently rank a digestible 18th in points (at 22.0 per) and 6th in yardage.
Of the Vikings first seven opponents this year, 5 are .500 or better, and those teams collectively posses a .540 win percentage. Of our remaining 9 opponents, 7 are .500 or better and the teams own a mirrored winning clip of .540.
Owner Zygi Wilf is both smart enough and classy enough to realize that there is rarely any salvation found in quitting on a coach mid-season. Yet, if Childress can't formulate an actual identity for this talented group and put together an ardent playoff push, he'll be gone.
And the top replacement would be former Pittsburgh Steeler head coach Bill Cowher. Out of coaching and working as an NFL analyst for CBS the last two years, Cowher is just 51 years old, and it would be a shock should he not return to coaching in the next season or two. His résumé includes the following:
-14th all-time in NFL coaching wins with 161 -11th best win percentage (.619) among coaches with 100 or more wins -.500 or better record in 12 of his 15 season with Pittsburgh (1992-2006), including 9 seasons with double-digit wins and 10 playoff appearances -2 Super Bowl appearances; won Super Bowl in 2005
Nice. Cowher last worked with a contract just over $4 million, although he'd likely command a raise to be paid among the league's six highest-paid coaches. That wouldn't be a problem for the Wilf family, which has evidenced their willingness to open the check book to acquire quality (or simply acceptable, at times) personnel.
Cowher would supply the Purple with what they seem most desperate for: A personality. And a hard-ass one at that. This campaign is far from over, and even at 3-4, the Vikings remain just a game removed from first in the NFC North. But on a week-to-week, we just never know what we're going to see -- and that's a confusing facet of fandom that usurps any statistic. Here's how Chilly stacks up with the respective win percentages of head coaches from Minnesota's other Big 4 pro teams:
Gardy: .549 win percentage
Jacques: .470 percentage points earned, divided by maximum points
Childress: .436 win percentage
Wittman: .274 win percentage