On Sunday night, Brett Favre was talking about a “heated” sideline conversation with Brad Childress. On Wednesday, Brett Favre waxed about his relationship with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Consider Darrell Bevell the mediator between the quarterback and head coach.
“I think that’s part of the job of being the offensive coordinator. You’re the go-between between the head coach and the quarterback,” Bevell said on Thursday. “Obviously there’s a hierarchy and you want things to go through the chain of command and that’s what I’m there for.”
Bevell has a lot of experience in working under Childress, long before he was being paid as a Vikings coordinator. Their working relationship started when Bevell was a quarterback at the University of Wisconsin from 1992-95 and Childress was the Badgers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. More than 10 years later, they were joined again when Childress hired Bevell as his offensive coordinator in 2006 when Childress became the Vikings head coach.
“I’m fortunate to come from a family that my father was a coach. Growing up in that atmosphere, my father was a lot harder on me than he was on any of the other players, so I kind of learned that, got used to that,” Bevell said. “With Coach Childress at Wisconsin, he was the same way. He was obviously harder on his position, as he was the coordinator and the quarterback coach.”
Favre experienced some of that tension on the sidelines Sunday night when the Vikings were struggling with a slim 7-6 lead against the Carolina Panthers. Despite the slight advantage, Childress considered pulling Favre, but the quarterback stayed in the game.
After the game, Favre expressed his frustration in his press conference.
“There’s frustration at times, there’s excitement at times,” Bevell said of the sideline discussions between players and coaches. “There’s a lot of things that are going on down there. I think if you really dove into it and started covering every team and had everything on the sideline mic’d up, you’d probably take exception to a lot of things that are being said. You’re trying to fix problems, you’re trying to make corrections. There are mistakes being made. There’s all kinds of things and dialogue that’s going on. Everybody is on the same page in getting it in the right direction.”
After starting the season 10-1, the Vikings have lost two of the last three games. Losing has frustrated coaches and players alike, but Childress and several players have talked about keeping in mind their 11-3 record.
“We’re not going to let this thing stop us – a loss stop us – from getting to where we want to go,” Childress said. “It’s rare that you are in the last couple of games in the season, you can count them probably on one hand, and still be able to reach all the goals that you set at the beginning of the year.”
With Childress-Favre sideline discussion caught on tape during a nationally televised NBC game and the Vikings playing on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” against the Bears, the incident has received plenty of attention this week, both locally and nationally.
Bevell said the personalities of Childress and Favre contributed to the situation.
“You’re working with a bunch of competitive guys. Just first and foremost, that’s probably the reaction that you’d want out of them,” Bevell said.
Although they have struggled lately, Favre said winning is the most important thing.
“Sometimes I do wear my frustration on my sleeve. So what? So what? A lot of our players are that way and our coaches are that way,” he said. “In the end, the only thing that matters, regardless of what you think, is winning. That’s it.”
Vikings players voted on several awards this week. They elected linebacker E.J. Henderson the recipient of the Ed Block Courage award. Henderson, who was placed on injured reserve two weeks ago with a fracture femur, was at Winter Park on Wednesday.
The team also selected their MVPs for the season. Favre got that honor on offense, DE Jared Allen on defense and kicker Ryan Longwell on special teams.
Bears coach Lovie Smith had high praise for a couple of Vikings defenders. While he said he looks first at their defensive front, he also praised a couple of defenders who have dealt with injuries this year. “Losing E.J. Henderson, he is one of the greatest defensive players in the game,” Smith said.
Losing him of course hurts. Getting one of the toughest players pound-for-pound in the NFL, Antoine Winfield, helps as well.”
The Vikings had no changes from Wednesday to Thursday on their injury report. CB Antoine Winfield (foot), G Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), DT Pat Williams (elbow) and DL Brian Robison (quadriceps) were all limited.
For the Bears, S Al Afalava (knee), S Kevin Payne (ankle), RB Adrian Peterson (illness) and CB Charles Tillman (not injury related) did not practice Thursday. LB Lance Briggs (back), DT Tommie Harris (knee), OT Orlando Pace (groin) and TE Desmond Clark (illness) returned to practice fully. T Chris Williams (ankle) and WR Devin Hester (calf) were limited.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.