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I'm *this* close to becoming a Packer fan

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I'm *this* close to becoming a Packer fan
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson 56482

Gentle reader, please place your index finger and your thumb in front of your eyes, then bring them to within a quarter inch of each other.


See that? That's how close I am to becoming a Green Bay Packers fan.

It's not like it would be that hard. I mean, I've already taken to cheering loudly for Brett Favre, and I make a fist pump movement every time Ryan Longwell tacks an extra point onto a Favre touchdown. And when I watch the Packers, I see everything I wished the Vikings were: tough, tenacious and mentally strong. They play outdoors, and their fans are tough.

I'm not a fair-weather Vikings fan. For 38 years, I've tuned in nearly every Sunday since I was a little kid. I know the roster up and down, and I am very familiar with all of their plays. Maybe the fact that I can usually tell what play is about to be run says more about our coaching staff than me as a fan.

And there we go. I'm not a big fan of the coaching staff, or at least Brad Childress. When the Vikings rushed to sign him, I thought, "Why? Who is he that we have to lock him in so quickly?"

But since he was replacing one of the dimmest coaches in Vikings' history, Mike Tice, I was ready for a change. Any change.

I'm ready again.

Childress has "lost" his locker room. That's half his fault and half the players' fault. The performance is probably more the players' fault than Childress, but he hasn't helped matters. And some of his personnel decisions -- trading for Moss, dropping Moss, trading for Camarillo, forgetting Camarillo on the bus, trading Sage Rosenfels, assuming Tarvaris Jackson is anything but a failed prospect -- they've compounded Childress' own problems as coach.

I also can't overlook that Childress has massaged the facts at times. Or another way of putting it is he's a liar -- he has been caught in several lies to the media, and by extension the fans, just this season alone. Perhaps a "no comment" could come in handy rather than finding it so easy to lie to people's faces. No wonder the players don't trust him.

Childress should go. I am not so naive to think all of the team's problems will go with him. We still have zero plan for 2011 at the most important position in football: quarterback. We still have a team that's basically quit -- although I'd argue they never started, so it's hard to quit. They've looked flat to uninterested since they took the field in the first game against an opponent in New Orleans they should have been psyched up to go after.

What does it solve to fire Childress now, in the middle of the season? It gives the Vikings an immensely important commodity: information.

It would answer the question, "Is Leslie Frazier, the defensive coordinator, ready to be a head coach?"

If the Vikings could audition Frazier for the job for these remaining games in 2010, they would have a plan going in to 2011. If Frazier turns this team around to any degree, he could win the job and we wouldn't be starting fresh in 2011 (though some personnel tweaks are definitely needed.) If the team doesn't respond to the change, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf could keep championship coaches Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden on speed dial.

Why would coaches of that caliber come? "Hi, Bill? We have Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, two of the most explosive young talents in the NFL today. See you Monday? Sounds good."

Either way, we could go into 2011 with a plan, with some momentum, with either designs on a major overhaul to the coaching staff and personnel, or minor changes and a familiar face with renewed expectations.

That would be enough for me to mentally sign on for a 39th year as a Vikings fan. Short of that, I may need to declare my free agency, order a Clay Matthews jersey and paint a yellow stripe down the center of my green car.

Yes, I bleed purple, but I'm hemorrhaging here. Time to send in the medic.