For now, Vikes' Childress off firing line

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The "Fire Childress!" chants have been silenced, at least at the Metrodome.

The Vikings have some momentum heading into Sunday's wild-card game against the Eagles, and the challenges they'll face probably won't be any greater than what they've already endured.

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Childress

"This is a fun team to coach. It's a team that knows how to grind, have fun and compete," said coach Brad Childress, who likely increased his job security by leading the Vikings to the NFC North title and their first postseason appearance in 4 years.

Owner Zygi Wilf was still beaming the day after his team beat the New York Giants to clinch the division. He dodged questions about whether Childress has secured himself for 2009 and beyond but offered some measured praise.

"The job of a head coach is real tough as you can see throughout the league," Wilf said. "For him to be able to work together with the coaching staff and with the players and to get everybody on the page over all these years is a patient work . . . It's up and down, but certainly reaching our goal of winning the division was a milestone that we set for ourselves."

After taking a 3-4 record into November, the Vikings won five of their last six games to finish 10-6, their best record in 8 years.

In the process, he's impressed his players with his even-keel demeanor.

"The thing that he does well is maintain the level of consistency every week," linebacker Chad Greenway said yesterday. "He turned the ship around, and that's a credit to the staff and himself for really allowing us to believe in what they're preaching and coaching and trying to get us better every week." *