Happy time in the Land of Purple just keeps on rolling. This time, the beneficiary was head coach Brad Childress.
Thanks to an 8-1 start to the season, the Minnesota Vikings coach got a contract extension which will reportedly pay him between $4 and $5 million per year through 2013.
Without question, the Vikings are off to a great start. The Favre addition has been phenomenal. The selection of Percy Harvin in the draft has worked out great. Past acquisitions of Jared Allen and Visanthe Shiancoe have been as good as could be hoped for.
But I just don’t understand the rush. Why did Childress need an extension now? And Heaven forbid, what happens if he leads the Vikings to a 13-3 start and they lose their first playoff game? Vikings fans will be calling for his head.
Childress’ previous contract ran through the 2010 season. Those around me who support giving him an extension say that they need to do it now because, "What if the Vikings win the Super Bowl? He’ll price himself out of Minnesota." That sounds like a good problem to have. Even if he did, I think Vikings fans would gladly take a Super Bowl title, even if it meant losing their head coach after the following season.
One colleague of mine today said, "Well, (Chicago Bears coach) Lovie Smith makes $5 million a year, and he’s terrible."
The difference between Childress and Smith is that Smith got his extension after the Bears made a Super Bowl appearance. At the time, Smith in three seasons had led the Bears to a 29-19 record and won an NFC championship. He was coming off back-to-back double-digit win seasons. In the 12 seasons prior to his arrival, the Bears had just one season with 10+ wins.
Yes, contracts like that can blow up in your face, even if the coach has had success, which further illustrates why you don’t give a coach a big extension just because his team is off to an 8-1 start.
The Vikings would have been much better off waiting until Childress wins his first playoff game – something he has not done yet – before giving him a massive extension.