VIKINGS: Brad Childress still has some big problems
ST. PAUL - Vikings coach Brad Childress acted alone, so now he stands alone in the Randy Moss fallout.
Childress, who has contractual authority to shape the 53-man roster as he sees fit, did just that in unilaterally deciding Monday to waive Randy Moss, much to the chagrin of ownership.
He did not consult with owner Zygi Wilf or team President Mark Wilf, who returned to their commercial real estate business in New Jersey following Sunday's game at New England.
Nor did he consult with anyone outside football operations, which rankled the Wilfs, according to a person familiar with the situation.
"They were not happy with the decision but more so the process," said the source, who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity. "These guys are lawyers. They're process people. Part of the confusion is that there is no clear conformity within the organizational structure. And that's flawed."
Accountability in the Moss affair rests with football operations, but the power lines are blurred. Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman lacks a general manager's title and authority. His responsibilities generally start and stop with the draft. Rod Brzezinski, vice president of football operations, has the primary duty of managing the salary cap.
That leaves Childress totally in charge of personnel and making the decisions about which players to acquire and which to jettison, with virtually no accountability to management or the public.
"The structure we operate under is flawed, and when you have a flawed structure you get the kind of Keystone Kops atmosphere that's out there now," the source said.
Childress is signed through the 2012 season, and there is no buyout clause in his contract. If he is fired, the Vikings would owe the balance on his deal, which is valued at between $4 million and $5 million per season.
Ownership isn't the only Vikings branch with qualms about Childress.
According to three people close to the situation, Childress has issues in his locker room because of his rigid ways of running a franchise. That might explain the departure of Moss, who is not one for controlling after outstaying his welcome at four different stops during his 13-year career.
Childress did not elaborate on Moss when appearing Tuesday on Sirius NFL Radio's "Movin' the Chains: with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan."
"(I'm) not going to get into anything with that," Childress said. "You always make a decision based on your short-term interests here and your long-term interests. And I really do wish him the best as he moves forward."
When asked about how the decision was made, Childress referred to the "internal process."
Dropping Moss was contrary to the trade that brought him back to Minnesota, where he played from 1998-2005. Childress said he consulted with the Wilfs to sign off on Moss' $6.4 million salary in order to acquire him from the Patriots for a third-round draft pick.
In Moss' Oct. 6 news conference, he told Vikings fans to "pull out your No. 84 jerseys." Less than a month later, the Wilfs could be eating $3.39 million of Moss' remaining salary without a return of investment if another team doesn't claim him off waivers today. Teams have until 3 p.m. to claim Moss.
Childress is scheduled to speak to the media today and could decline comment once again. But the timing also symbolizes the chance for the Vikings to alleviate the woes of a 2-5 start with preparation for Sunday's game with the Cardinals.
Herm Edwards, former coach of the Jets and Chiefs, said winning is the only remedy for a drama-filled organization.
"Right now, it seems like it's something every week as far as distractions," Edwards said. "Everyone looks for someone to blame, and each issue compounds each other. But for the head coach, all you can do is fix the problem on the field. Being 3-5 would look a lot better to everyone in that locker room than 2-5."
Green Bay (5-3) leads the NFC North but has not run away with what seems like a winnable division. Chicago (4-3) has lost three of its past four games, while Detroit (2-5) hasn't had a contender in years.
Becoming a player in the division would shift the Vikings' focus while the spotlight continues to be fixed on Childress.
Edwards said Childress can still send a positive message to the locker room despite the rocky start.
"Don't let perception become reality," Edwards said. "He has to stay true to who he is. For a head coach, all you can do is fix the problem."
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.