Vikings fire Brad Childress after falling to 3-7

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EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. (AP) - Brad Childress is gone, one season after he famously picked up Brett Favre at the airport, got a contract extension and came within a field goal of reaching the Super Bowl. The Vikings fired Childress on Monday, ending an eventful and often tumultuous run with the team marred recently by player unrest, livid fans and a boss angry over everything from his abrupt personnel decisions to a 31-3 loss at home to rival Green Bay on Sunday that dropped Minnesota’s record to 3-7.

Owner Zygi Wilf read from a script and would not get into specifics after he and team president Mark Wilf, his brother, met with Childress early Monday.

“It’s often difficult to articulate one reason why change is needed,” Wilf said.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who has interviewed seven times for NFL head coaching jobs, will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season and he wasted no time in answering a big question: Favre is still the starting quarterback despite a subpar year.

“There’s no hesitation from me in that regard,” Frazier said.

Frazier wore a suit and a solemn look at the podium during a news conference, looking like he was already auditioning for the permanent job. He said he expected Favre to limit his turnovers and a full effort from his players for the rest of the season, which is all but over after the latest loss.

“The challenge our players have is to understand that other people around the league are taking a look at that tape, and you owe it to your teammates and your family to go out there and play hard every single snap,” Frazier said.

Childress is the second NFL coach to be fired this season after Wade Phillips was let go by Dallas.

“I am proud of our accomplishments and believe the foundation of this football team is stronger today than when I became head coach,” he said in a statement released by the team.

The loss to the Packers was the final blow to Childress in his fifth season in charge of the team. His most-lopsided home defeat as head coach dropped his overall record to 40-37, including 1-2 in the playoffs.

Childress went all in with Favre, riding his incredible 2009 season to the NFC championship game and then going down this year under the weight of his 17 interceptions. But the team’s problems transcend the shaky performance by the 41-year-old quarterback.

And the players, for all their frustration with Childress and his style, put the blame on themselves after getting beat up by the Packers.

“We’re grown men. He’s not out there playing with us,” tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said when asked on Sunday about Childress’s status. “You’ve got to look in the mirror sometimes. We’re 3-7. You go 3-7, you always want to blame somebody else. Sometimes you can’t blame somebody else. Sometimes you have to focus on yourself and what you’re doing wrong.”

Childress took over for the fired Mike Tice in 2006 after spending seven years with the Eagles, including four as the offensive coordinator. He was chosen by Wilf to instill discipline and demand better off-the-field behavior from a team that was embarrassed the year before by a bye-week boat party gone bad and a number of other legal problems for players.

However, Childress stumbled in his first year and never fully gained the faith of the fans _ or some of his players.

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