Vikings jumped the gun on Childress extension

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.

Vikings’ stadium situation heats up

The Minnesota Vikings are not happy about a Metrodome lease proposal, and they weren’t afraid to let their landlord know about it.

The Vikings sent a letter to Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission saying that a new lease proposal is not something they’re interested in, saying that such a proposal threatens the team’s future in the Twin Cities.

Words were not minced in this letter, which I found on the Star Tribune’s Web site. The team said it was "shocked" and "extremely disappointed" by the proposal.

To sum it up, the Metrodome proposal would have allowed the Vikings to continue to play rent-free for two more seasons after the current lease expires in 2011. Apparently, the MSFC has allowed the Vikings to play rent-free at the Metrodome for the last seven seasons despite their lease. If the Vikings refuse the current proposal, the team would be force to start paying $4 million per year in rent again.

This stadium debate is getting ugly, and the timing could not be worse considering the team’s 8-1 start. It’s been a while since interest was this high in a Vikings season, probably dating back to at least 1998.

I will say time and time again that I just don’t see how the Vikings can get a new stadium in this current economic climate. To me, if they’re really committed to staying in Minnesota, they’d be better off signing a short-term lease extension like this and waiting out the recession a little while longer.

I can’t blame the Vikings for not wanting to do this right now, because there is no rush. But judging from their reaction, this is not something they’re interested in doing now or at any point in the future.