From the Vikings' perspective, all outward appearances would be that the main benefit of the Childress hiring is that he finally comes off the books for some his contract – the Vikings will still have to pay the difference in salary as Cleveland's offensive coordinator. But, it may go much deeper than that.
What was Chilly's calling card when he came to Vikings? It was that he had developed Donovan McNabb, an athletic college quarterback at Syracuse that ran a freeze-option offense and needed to have his game refined and his talents harnessed to become an effective NFL quarterback.
As is the case with any coaching staff, credit is shared and taken by many. As the saying goes, success has a hundred fathers, while failure is an orphan. McNabb was a blue-chip draft pick. Tarvaris Jackson was not. In the first draft conducted on Childress' watch, the Vikings selected Jackson in the second round, trading up to get him and giving Childress the opportunity show his development skills again. However, Jackson never panned out as the diamond in the rough the Vikings expected and, in many ways, his lack of development was closely tied to Childress.
When Chilly was in his third season as the Vikings' head coach and Jackson was as erratic as ever, Childress threw T-Jack under the bus after two games and benched him permanently. At the time, it was for Gus Frerotte. The following year, it was Childress who was in hot pursuit of Brett Favre, which eventually became his undoing.
So what does that have to do with Childress' hiring in Cleveland? It would seem to clarify the position that the Browns have a plan in mind. Connect the dots. Childress was successful in developing McNabb and, to a far lesser degree, Jackson. Who is potentially waiting for Chilly in Cleveland? Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III – another athletic quarterback that needs to be harnessed and molded into an NFL talent.
Coincidence? Don't bet on it. The Browns would appear to have a plan in mind and Childress is part of that process. His hiring would seem to be a clear indication that the Browns want RG3, which is good news for the Vikings. Whether that plan pans out or not – the Browns currently sit at No. 4 on the draft pecking order and the only way to assure that they will get Griffin would be to swing a deal with St. Louis to move into the No. 2 draft slot. But the Rams have already sent out clear indications that they are willing to trade out of the No. 2 spot and Cleveland would be the ideal trade partner.
Word out of St. Louis is that they are enamored with wide receiver Justin Blackmon. But trading the No. 2 pick and dropping to No. 4, odds are they would still be able to land Blackmon – with Cleveland taking RG3 and the Vikings snapping up offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the third pick. The deal would allow the Browns to get the player they want and let Childress get back to what made him a success in the NFL in the first place.
When Vikings fans heard the Browns hired Childress, many were wondering what was in the Kool Aid at their team headquarters. Now it would appear the rationale is coming out and it makes a lot more sense.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.