on June 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Childress wig lightens up Vikings minicamp

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Ch-ch-ch Childress!

Brad Childress, the typically straight-laced football coach, showed up to the final session of the three-day Minnesota Vikings minicamp on Sunday with spiked brown hair popping out of a black visor on top of what has for years been a bald head.

How did the coach get all that hair so fast?

Hairclub For Men? Nope.

Chia Head? Try again.

Hair In a Can? Getting warmer.

The football coach purchased the visor-wig combo during a trip to Florida this offseason, and it was the talk of the minicamp on Sunday.

“I didn’t even know it was him at first,” quarterback John David Booty said with a hearty chuckle. “I thought it was a ball boy or something. Then he turned around and there was coach.”

The coach’s bald head and bushy mustache make him readily recognizable when he leaves the privacy of the team’s Winter Park headquarters. So after seeing a man in Florida with one on that had platinum blonde spikes, Childress said his wife went and purchased one for him with brown hair.

He wore the same disguise with a beard to the Senior Bowl practices in January and proudly said that some people on his own staff didn’t even recognize him at first.

“I looked probably 15 people that I know pretty well in the face and was able to fool them,” Childress said. “They didn’t know who it was.”

Childress broke it out again on Sunday in honor of a Web site that mullet-wearing defensive end Jared Allen has dedicated to the business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back hairstyle.

The coach said some of his players’ reactions could not be printed.

“Probably some of their thoughts were: The guy’s in crisis right now, mid-life problem,” Childress quipped.

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BOOTY’S DEVELOPMENT:@ John David Booty has been lost in the quarterback soap opera all offseason that’s starred Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.

Booty, a second-year quarterback from USC, was the third-stringer last year and showed up to this minicamp noticeably fitter and trimmer.

“It’s a big difference,” Booty said of his comfort level now as opposed to a year ago. “I’ve still got a long, long ways to go. But really I feel I’m improving and getting a better understanding of the offense and also what the defense is trying to do.

“I feel much more comfortable this time around.”

Booty has sat back and watched all offseason as the Vikings have flirted with the currently retired Favre, traded for Rosenfels and brought back Jackson to compete for the starting job. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for him, but he has taken it all in stride.

Playing college ball in glitzy Los Angeles helped prepare him for dealing with all the drama that has circulated this year. For now, he is concentrating on improving and proving that he belongs here.

“I feel really good,” Booty said. “Conditioning-wise I feel great. My body feels good, no problems. So I’m really looking forward to this year.”

Childress said he has noticed Booty has a firmer grasp of the offense and his responsibilities, which is expected entering his second season as a developing player.

“I just think he’s seeing things better, as opposed to where am I looking, what’s the snap count, all the mechanical things, all the things you take for granted,” Childress said. “So he’s able to be more of an anticipatory thrower.”

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ROSENFELS’ TAB:@ Rosenfels has been working hard to get himself up to speed in Minnesota.

The offense is very similar to the one he ran with the Texans in Houston, but the supporting cast is 100 percent new. So Rosenfels is following the age-old adage — “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

“Leadership is multifaceted, and before you can tell a guy what to do or have him believe in what you’re maybe trying to teach to him you’ve got to have a good relationship with the guy and the quickest way to have a good relationship with a guy is to fill their stomach with a steak. Especially these guys,” Rosenfels said. “So I try to do things, and it’s all part of the position of playing quarterback.”

He has also lined up at receiver a few times when the Vikings go to their version of the Wildcat offense that features Percy Harvin, Chester Taylor or Darius Reynaud taking the snaps.

Watch out, Rosenfels joked.

“The receivers don’t want to see it, because they might be out of a job and I might be changing positions,” Rosenfels said. “People talk about Ed McCaffrey and those types of things with me. No, I enjoy playing quarterback and I’m going to stick with it.”

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WINFIELD UPDATE:@ The Vikings begin a “optional” set of practices on Tuesday called organized team activities. Unlike the minicamp this weekend, which was mandatory, coaches are not allowed to require that players attend the OTAs.

But after inviting only a select number of veterans to the first set of OTAs earlier in May, Childress said he has extended an invitation to every player to be there this week. Reading between the lines, it means the coach very much wants to see all 85 faces on the field.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield missed the mandatory minicamp to attend the funeral of a close friend’s mother. Winfield is entering the final year of his contract and his agent said earlier this month that talks of an extension have reached an impasse.

When asked if he thought he would see Winfield here this week, Childress said he expected to talk with him before Tuesday about it.

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Jon Krawczynski can be reached at jkrawczynski(at)ap.org.