Sidney Rice out until midseason – are the Vikings in store for a fall?

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Sidney Rice #18 of the Minnesota Vikings makes a reception against Randall Gay #20 of the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in overtime. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

It’s only one player – a receiver, mind you. And even though this particular receiver caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns last season, he’s still only a receiver.

The Vikings can get by without Sidney Rice, who has elected to undergo hip surgery and is expected to miss half of the regular season. They still have Adrian Peterson, a solid offensive line, an excellent defense and an above average linebacker corps. And even though Rice was a huge part of their offense last season, Brett Favre has a habit of turning previously no-named receivers into Pro Bowlers.

Just look at Rice himself.

But even though the Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game last season with practically the same roster, does anyone else get the sense that this team is in store for a freefall this year?

Favre is another year older and is coming off ankle surgery. Rice is out until midseason. Percy Harvin’s migraines are already holding him back. Peterson presumably still has fumbling issues. Versatile backup Chester Taylor is in Chicago. The secondary still has question marks. Etc.

Oh yeah, and Brad Childress is still in charge.

Even before Rice was hurt, I liked the Packers’ chances more than I did the Vikings. Assuming their offensive line holds up, they seem to be a more complete football team right now than the Vikings, whom everyone will be gunning for this season after they ripped apart the competition last year. That’s not to say that Minnesota isn’t a playoff contender because it is. I just don’t get the sense that this team is built to hold up for an entire 16-game season.

Again, Rice is only one player and I’m certainly not suggesting that because he’s out that the Vikings will crumble. But does anyone have more confidence in them right now than the Saints, Cowboys or Packers? I could see the Vikes racing out to a decent start but fading down the stretch. And I have zero faith in Childress to keep everything together.

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Report: Brett Favre thinks Brad Childress is clueless

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Head coach Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings looks on against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

According to a report by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, one of the reasons Brett Favre contemplated not returning this season was because of Vikings’ head coach Brad Childress.

Multiple sources told Cole that Childress doesn’t have much respect from his players, particularly from Favre. “Brett thinks Childress has no clue about offense,” a Vikings player told Cole.

The sources told Cole that the mere existence of Childress was one of the reasons Favre might not have returned this season. Favre told some of his teammates in early July that he was probably going to return, Cole reports, but then his interest went down after Childress visited him July 19.

“Brett just doesn’t trust him,” a player told Cole.

It’s been a widespread rumor that Childress doesn’t have respect from his players and this report strengthens that case. While it’s important to remember that this was an anonymous source within Minnesota’s locker room and therefore it should probably be taken with a grain of salt, this news runs parallel to other reports that have stated that players aren’t fans of Childress.

Here are a couple of nuggets to chew on:

– Favre and Childress went toe-to-toe on the sidelines last year in a very public shouting match, so it’s not surprising to read that Brett doesn’t trust his head coach.

– It’s been widely speculated that the reason long-time center Matt Birk left Minnesota last year to sign with Baltimore was because of his disdain for Childress, who put together a tacky press release upon Birk’s departure.

– Childress has taken flack for the way he has handled the Favre situation as it pertains to Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.

Yesterday I wrote an article titled, “Two reasons why Brett Favre and the Vikings won’t win a Super Bowl.” One of the two reasons I listed was Brad Childress, who I feel as though will never be a Super Bowl-winning head coach and who will always hold the Vikings back.

Apparently I’m not alone in that sentiment.

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