Vikings' offense finally belongs to coordinator Darrell Bevell
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Darrell Bevell doesn't want to reveal the changes he'll make in the post-Brad Childress era, but this much is clear:
The Minnesota Vikings' offense finally belongs to its coordinator.
The Vikings fired Childress on Monday and replaced him on an interim basis with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who is expected to 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 said on Friday, in his first session with reporters since Childress' dismissal.
"So, this week (in game planning), 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 Green Bay Packers in 2000.
However, Childress -- who espoused 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," said Bevell, 39. "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 to make beginning Sunday against the Washington Redskins, who are allowing an NFL-worst 411.1 yards per game.
"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 legendary quarterback Brett Favre's league-high 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 offense and focus on executing a smaller number of plays. But it's ultimately up to Bevell -- with Frazier's guidance -- to decide how to fix things for the final six games.
That means that, like Frazier, Bevell can do a lot to help his cause if the Vikings improve down the stretch. Childress' dismissal put the future of all the Vikings' assistant coaches in limbo, particularly if Frazier isn't eventually named to the full-time post.
"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."