EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Darrell Bevell won’t reveal the changes he’ll make in the post-Brad Childress era. This much is certain: the Minnesota Vikings’ offense finally is Bevell’s baby.
The Vikings fired Childress on Monday and replaced him on an interim basis with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who will play a far smaller role than his predecessor on Bevell’s side of the ball.
“Every play went through coach Childress and everything was finalized through him,” Bevell, the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, said Friday. “So, this week, it was a little bit different. I still kept coach Frazier informed, told him what we were doing, how we felt like we should attack them. But it wasn’t like, ‘I don’t like that, throw that out’ or ‘I like this, put that in.’ There wasn’t any of that.”
Childress called the Vikings’ offensive plays in 2006 before turning over those duties the following season to Bevell, a former college quarterback who broke into the NFL as an offensive assistant with the Packers in 2000.
However, Childress, who favored a run-first version of the West Coast offense, only partly relinquished control. He was heavily involved in game-planning meetings, held a play sheet on the sideline and communicated constantly with Bevell on game days, at times relaying the precise play he wanted to call.
“As long as it’s sound and I can present it to coach Frazier and he likes the logic behind it, then I don’t believe he’s going to veto anything at this point,” the 39-year-old Bevell said. “I think he has confidence in what our offensive staff is able to put together.”
That doesn’t mean Frazier will ignore the Vikings’ offense. He met with his offensive assistants shortly after accepting the interim position and made clear the adjustments he wants, beginning Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
“We have to continue to hammer some things, because it’s a little bit different than what we have talked about in the past,” said Frazier, who declined to elaborate. “I do feel like they are buying into what we are trying to get accomplished. It should bode dividends for us.”
After ranking fifth in total offense and second in scoring in 2009, the Vikings have plummeted to 18th in yards (336.8 per game) and a tie for 29th in scoring (17.2) during the team’s 3-7 start. They’ve also committed 25 turnovers, including Brett Favre’s NFL-worst 17 interceptions and five lost fumbles.
Favre, who is close with Bevell from their days in Green Bay, on Wednesday said he preferred to strip down the playbook and focus on executing a smaller number of plays. But it’s up to Bevell, with Frazier’s guidance, to decide how to fix the offense for the final six games.
“I’m not worried about (people) saying, ‘Hey, this is Bevell’s offense now,’ and ‘Let’s see what it’s going to look like,”‘ Bevell said. “All those things, those are good questions. I just want to be able to win. I don’t care if we run it 50 times or (pass) 50 times, whatever it is. I just want to be able to get a win.”
Notes: WR Sidney Rice (hip), WR Bernard Berrian (groin), CB Chris Cook (knee) and backup S Eric Frampton (hamstring) all were listed as questionable on the injury report. Frazier said Rice should be “fine,” while Berrian’s status probably will be determined Sunday.
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