- The Washington Times - Friday, December 25, 2009

Blame Bryant McKinnie for being unable to slow down Julius Peppers.

Blame Adrian Peterson for stumbling his way to 35 rushing yards.

Blame a secondary for allowing Steve Smith to catch nine passes for 157 yards.

Instead, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress tried to blame Brett Favre for his team’s struggles last week against Carolina.

Wrong move.

A bad decision considering Minnesota was leading 7-6 at the time, not losing 27-7. A bad decision considering Favre, despite having taken several big hits, wasn’t injured. And a bad decision because confronting Favre… on the sideline… during a national television game… only can produce controversy.

Although he denied ordering him out of the game, all indications are that he wanted to save Favre from additional punishment instead of giving McKinnie help on Peppers. Reports surfaced this week that Childress has wanted to bench Favre because of the quarterback’s habit of changing plays at the line of scrimmage.

Just like that, the Vikings’ season is unraveling.

Rolling along at 10-1 a few weeks ago, an impressive win over Cincinnati was sandwiched by stinkers at Arizona and Carolina.

All of a sudden, the Vikings can’t coast to the finish line and give Favre, Peterson and Jared Allen additional rest. They travel to Chicago on Monday night just one game ahead of Philadelphia for a first-round bye.

Blame Childress, who heisted a contract extension from owner Zygi Wilf at midseason because of Favre’s play.

Jason Campbell has the ability to change out of a play he doesn’t like - it happened two weeks ago in Oakland and resulted in a 30-yard pass to Santana Moss - and Favre gets ripped by Childress for doing it so often?

For his part, Favre said Wednesday: “I think it’s all resolved, first of all. The fact that we’ve lost two of the last three - the frustration is going to show. It should.

“I think the team as well as the coaching staff knows where I stand and what I stand for, as I do them. We’re trying to do this thing together.”

If Favre did in fact privately scoff at the limitations of the game plan, Childress shouldn’t be surprised. Brad Johnson, Kelly Holcomb and Gus Frerotte all became frustrated with how Childress wanted the quarterbacks to operate.

Wilf tiptoed around the story this week, but he has to be steamed if this derails the Vikings’ season because there is a much larger issue at stake.

The Vikings desperately want a new stadium and desperately don’t want to pay for it.

A Super Bowl appearance and certainly a title would help the Vikings’ cause. The state’s top sports team already feels jilted that the Twins and University of Minnesota have received new facilities, and Los Angeles would be a natural landing spot if that city ever gets its act together.

If the Vikings beat Chicago on Monday night, Favre and Childress probably will be spotted singing “Kumbaya” on the Solider Field sideline. If not and the Vikings need a Week 17 home win against the New York Giants to secure a first-round bye, Favre likely won’t have much left in the tank for a playoff run.

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