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According to a recent report, Brad Childress is nearing a contract extension with the Vikings. Associated Press File Photo

Childress extension an unwise move

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A new contract extension is reportedly in the works for Vikings coach Brad Childress.

Clark Judge, NFL columnist on CBS Sports.com, broke the news on his blog Tuesday.

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"A contract extension is in the works," he wrote. "With a new deal possible in the next two or three weeks."

Interesting time for the story to break considering the Vikings opponent this Sunday. Pittsburgh is a team where good coaches go to die, or at least never leave.

The Steelers have had only three coaches since 1969 and their current coach, Mike Tomlin, is a part of the long list of Vikings assistants that got away.

The timing worked out perfect for Tomlin. Pittsburgh's ownership family, the Rooneys, stayed with their formula that has worked for nearly 40 years when Bill Cower retired in 2006: Look for a young defensive-minded gem and hang on.

Tomlin was the Vikings defensive coordinator for only one year prior to the hiring.

He was brought in to perfect the Tampa-2 defense following his five-year stint as defensive backs coach for the Buccaneers. It was the same defense installed by Tony Dungy, another lost Vikings assistant.

In his short stay in Minnesota, Tomlin improved a defense ranked in the bottom half of the league to eighth overall and first against the rush.

Tomlin was one of Childress' first hires.

"Brad has always been a good friend to me," said Tomlin on Wednesday. "I will always appreciate the opportunity that he afforded me."

Vikings fans haven't been too appreciative of the past three Minnesota coaches, though.

Dennis Green quit before the end of the 2001 season, good riddance they said as Mike Tice was promoted from offensive line coach to finish the season. He was named as head coach the following season even though he never served as a coordinator, a cost saving move by the franchise-killing owner Red McCombs.

Tice is one of my favorite coaches, though. Of course he had his problems with clock management, challenging plays and the infamous Randy Ratio.

I appreciated his willingness to actually answer questions. But he was too emotionally invested with the team which clouded his ability to make good decisions.

My favorite Tice moment happened inside the convoluted tunnels of Lambeau Field on November 14th, 2004.

Down 31-24 with 2:18 remaining, the Vikings tied the game. But they did it too quickly using only three plays and less than a minute.

Antoine Winfield forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but after a controversial replay Green Bay was awarded the ball on their own 46-yard line.

Favre moved the Packers into field-goal range and Ryan Longwell kicked the game-winner with no time remaining.

In the locker room afterwards, Tice was in no shape to talk about what had happened.

"What are you supposed to do," he muttered hitting his fists on the podium. "Guy (Winfield) makes a play and you have the ball, then you don't have the ball, you can see he has the ball, but they don't give you the ball. What are you supposed to do?"

Asked about the play again Tice fell apart.

"Darn it," he said angrily. "Don't do this stuff to me now." Except those weren't the same two words he used.

Tice eventually got his revenge though, leading the Vikings to their first road playoff victory in franchise history when they upset the Packers 31-17 in the first round.

Fans never warmed up to Tice though, unable to get past his inexperience. But he did well considering McCombs refused to invest any money in the coaching staff or players.

It was the ownership, more so than Tice, which held the team back.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has been a blessing for this franchise, though he made the wrong choice when he hired Childress, and now history repeats itself.

Again the state is stuck with a coach the collective followers do not like.

Brett Favre has exceeded all expectations, making this team an actual Super Bowl contender, but he's just a band-aid. And when that bandage gets ripped off next year, it's going to be painful to be stuck with Childress' new contract.

Hopefully Zygi has a chance to sit down with the Rooney's on Sunday and rethink his coaching investment.

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Pioneer staff reports
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