Late in the fourth quarter at Mall of America Field, the Vikings trailed the Cardinals by two touchdowns, and the home fans were chanting "Fire Childress!" They were also waving signs like the one pictured above, courtesy of FireChilly.com.
Less than an hour later, Minnesota head coach Brad Childress was calmly addressing the media, discussing his team's overtime win, praising the crowd's "positive energy."
So yeah, things can turn pretty quickly in the NFL.
Thanks to stellar efforts from Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre(notes) in the comeback win over Arizona, Childress seems likely to remain a Vikings employee for another week. (His contract runs through 2013, which helps his cause). Peterson gained 144 total yards on 19 touches and scored two touchdowns; Favre passed for a career-high 446 yards, and he connected with Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) on a game-tying score inside the final minute.
The Vikings are just a three-win team at the moment, but the upcoming schedule is relatively friendly. Chicago is up next, then Green Bay, then Washington and Buffalo. There's a path to a 9-7 season for Chilly's squad, incredibly enough, and Sidney Rice(notes) is expected back soon.
Over the past seven days, Childress has launched Randy Moss(notes) from the roster — reportedly upsetting Zygi Wilf in the process — and he nearly came to blows with Percy Harvin. But still, Brad is charge. Consider him day-to-day. He appreciates all your positive vibes. Keep 'em coming. The next botched challenge flag is dedicated to you, MPLS.
• Just to be clear, I have no rooting interest in the AFC West, and only modest fantasy investments in Oakland and Kansas City. But it's really nice to see those two teams play a meaningful game this late in the year. They followed the script beautifully in Week 9; when the Raiders are involved, a 27-penalty game doesn't seem so bad. Darren McFadden(notes) was outstanding again, gaining 114 yards on 21 touches, finishing runs with authority. Dwayne Bowe(notes) caught his usual touchdown and had his usual game-changing drop.
But the breakout player of the game — and of the week — was Oakland's Jacoby Ford(notes), a rookie receiver with mutant speed. (Check out the clip of his return TD below. It's going to take you longer to read this parenthetical than he needed to sprint 94 yards. And you're a solid reader. He's just crazy-fast). Ford caught six passes for 148 yards against KC. In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, he turned what should have been a Brandon Flowers(notes) interception into a 29-yard gain. Highlight here. In overtime, he beat Flowers again on a 47-yard catch that set up the game-winning kick by Sea Bass. Oakland has a bye in Week 10 and a road game at Pittsburgh the following Sunday, but I'm nonetheless contemplating a Ford add.
• Here's some unfinished business that I should have taken care of in an earlier quarter: Matt Schaub(notes) deserved a much better day against the Chargers. He threw a late interception that should have been caught by Andre Johnson(notes), but ricocheted into the hands of a San Diego DB. Schaub also lost a first-half touchdown pass on a replay review, because Arian Foster(notes) only took four steps with the football in his possession, not the mandatory 25. (And yes, I'll almost certainly lose at least one fantasy match-up because of those plays).
• Jeremy Shockey(notes) reportedly suffered a rib injury in the win over Carolina, but Sean Payton says that X-rays were negative, and the ambulance ride was merely precautionary. No need to fret. The tight end curse of 2010 has not necessarily claimed another victim.
• Here's a story we weren't paying much attention to earlier in the week because Washington was on a bye, and McNabb-vs.-Shanahan dominated the headlines: Clinton Portis(notes) made a cameo appearance at practice for the first time since suffering the groin injury in Week 4. This is clearly a good sign, though we don't yet know when he'll return to fantasy relevance. You'll recall that Ryan Torain(notes) tweaked a hamstring in the Week 8 loss at Detroit, briefly opening the door for Keiland Williams(notes).
• Indianapolis tight end Jacob Tamme(notes) had another huge game in relief of Dallas Clark(notes), hauling in 11 passes for 108 yards and one TD (against a Philly defense that's notoriously TE-friendly). He may not completely replace the contributions you would have received from Clark, but it appears he might pay 90 cents on the dollar. There's no benching him. Donald Brown(notes) paid only 75 cents on the dollar as a Joseph Addai(notes) stand-in. Brown gained 97 total yards, but Javarris James(notes) stole the goal-to-go work, and thus the touchdowns.
• Michael Vick(notes) didn't quite reach triple-digits in rushing yardage against the Colts, but he did manage to gain 74 yards on just 10 carries and he scored on a 1-yard plunge. Based only on his rushing stats versus Indy, Vick would have been this week's ninth highest-scoring fantasy RB. (Posted at 10:55 pm ET)
Early waiver plays for Week 10…
QB David Garrard(notes), vs. HOU (27 percent owned)
RB Keiland Williams, vs. PHI (4 percent)
RB Chester Taylor(notes), vs. MIN (12 percent)
RB Mike Goodson(notes), at TB (3 percent)
RB Tim Hightower(notes), vs. SEA (39 percent)
WR Blair White(notes), vs. CIN (7 percent)
WR Jacoby Ford, bye (2 percent)
WR Roscoe Parrish(notes), vs. DET (5 percent)
WR Greg Camarillo(notes), at CHI (1 percent)
WR Sidney Rice, at CHI (45 percent)
DEF Tampa Bay, vs. CAR (18 percent)
• In Seattle, the Giants and Seahawks are building a convincing case that the NFL needs a mercy rule. New York held a 35-point halftime lead, as Eli Manning(notes) passed for three early TDs (Nicks, Smith, Boss) and Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) ran for two others. It's worth noting that both of Bradshaw's scores were from short range. At the break, he had a 12-to-5 edge in carries over Brandon Jacobs(notes). Also worth noting: Hakeem Nicks(notes) limped off the field near the end of the third quarter. The Giants still had their varsity team on the field and were still throwing, leading 38-0.
The best thing we can say about the Seahawks is that Charlie Whitehurst(notes) has not yet been injured, and Marshawn Lynch(notes) had at least one very impressive run. (It only gained six yards, but still. Impressive).
• OK, someone needs to take a stopwatch to Jacoby Ford's 94-yard return touchdown. That dude is fast. Ford ran a 4.28 at the NFL Combine, which explains why the Raiders selected him. He was an absolute blur while torching the Chiefs' coverage team. The worst unit on the field in Oakland is clearly the officiating crew; they somehow got the down incorrect after a replay review. Todd Haley had to remind the refs that it was 1st-and-1, not 4th-and-1.
• Austin Collie(notes) was immobilized and carted off the field in Philadelphia, following a frightening shot to the helmet by safety Kurt Coleman(notes) in the second quarter. The initial reports suggest that he's only concussed. That seems like the best-case scenario, all things considered. Collie was completely motionless on the field following the hit. Blair White's name is next on the Colts' depth chart at receiver; you'll recall that Anthony Gonzalez(notes) has been placed on IR.
• Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson(notes) needed less than two minutes of clock time to connect for a 9-yard score. Later in the game, they combined on a slightly more spectacular play, with Vick throwing from his own end zone. He could easily finish with 100 rushing yards against the Colts defense; Vick picked up 64 on six carries through three quarters.
• Every week, people seem to ask start/sit questions involving Tampa Bay rookie Mike Williams. Just so we're clear: That guy is sensational. Video evidence here. Bench Williams at your own risk. Tampa gave Atlanta all they could handle on Sunday, but the Falcons survived, thanks to a late goal line stand. LeGarrette Blount(notes), denied.
• New Orleans running back Christopher Ivory(notes) reportedly suffered a separated left shoulder in the Week 9 win over Carolina. The Saints have a bye in Week 10 and Reggie Bush(notes) is expected to return the following Sunday, so Ivory's services won't be need anytime soon. Theoretically, Pierre Thomas(notes) could also return at some point this season. But theoretically, so could Deuce McAllister, George Rogers and Chuck Muncie. (Posted at 7:25 pm ET)
• Philip Rivers(notes) spent his afternoon throwing to second-stringers, third-stringers, and guys you probably thought were retired. But it didn't matter. Rivers was brilliant on Sunday, passing for 295 yards and four touchdowns. He completed throws to eight different players; his leading receivers were an undrafted rookie (Seyi Ajirotutu(notes)) and a pair of 31-year-old vets (Patrick Crayton(notes), Randy McMichael(notes)).
We should never underestimate A) Rivers' value to his team, or B) the disaster that is the Houston secondary. San Diego receivers managed to get crazy separation on several completions. (Not this one by McMichael, though. That was just an exceptional catch). The Texans' defense entered Week 9 ranked last in the NFL against the pass, and they gave us a signature performance on Sunday. Here's the upcoming schedule for Houston, for those looking to play match-ups: at JAC, at NYJ, vs. TEN, at PHI, vs. BAL, at TEN, at DEN, vs. JAC.
• Hopefully you didn't spend much time in front of the Bears-Bills game, because it wasn't a clinic. Not much of a showcase game for the Canadian audience. They'll just stick with the Argonauts, thanks. Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) attempted 51 passes, 11 of which were caught by Steve Johnson(notes). For the first time since Week 2, Johnson failed to visit the end zone, but he still finished with 145 receiving yards (and he was a YAC machine). Roscoe Parrish caught seven passes for 60 yards and a score, and you shouldn't regard that performance as a fluke. Parrish had received 20 targets over the previous two weeks.
• Matthew Stafford(notes) re-injured his throwing shoulder in the overtime loss to the Jets — brutal news for those of us who were relying on him to replace Tony Romo(notes) on our imaginary teams. Stafford put up unexpectedly useful numbers against the Jets defense before checking out (20-for-36, 240 yards, 2 TDs, rush TD). Here's the play that resulted in the injury; there's really not much there. However, earlier in the game the broadcast team had mentioned that he appeared to be experiencing discomfort in the shoulder. In any case, awful news. This means we're spending a waiver claim on David Garrard, which is never satisfying.
• We should perhaps mention that if Ndamukong Suh(notes) didn't doink the extra point attempt following Stafford's rushing score, then maybe the Lions get a win. Yup, that's right: Suh had an extra point attempt. Jason Hanson(notes) was sidelined with an injury at the time, though he later returned to action. (We should note that Hanson was hurt while kicking a lay-up field goal. The Jets were flagged for roughing the kicker on the play, a foolish penalty that setup a touchdown).
• The Patriots were punished by the Browns on Sunday, outscored by 20 points, outgained by 121 total yards. Peyton Hillis(notes) was an unholy beast, picking up 220 yards from scrimmage on 32 touches. Hillis broke the plane twice. Aaron Hernandez(notes) hauled in a pair of receiving TDs, both of which were preceded by failed carries from BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes). (If BJGE scores on either attempt, I'd be a much happier blogger right at this moment. Alas).
• It was a familiar story for the Ravens, as Ray Rice(notes) had a huge yardage day (83 rushing, 97 receiving) and Willis McGahee(notes) visited the end zone. Miami's defense couldn't stop the screen game, which allowed Joe Flacco(notes) to pile up some cheap after-the-catch passing yards.
• Brett Favre threw for an obscene 446 yards, as six different Minnesota receivers had at least four catches. Percy Harvin(notes) led the way, with nine receptions for 126 yards. According to virtually all of the pregame reports, Harvin was barely ambulatory during warm-ups. Adrian Peterson gained 144 total yards for the Vikes and reached the end zone twice. Minnesota miraculously rallied for an overtime win against a terrible team, so Brad Childress survives another week. Not really sure if congratulations are in order or not. (Posted at 5:40 pm ET)
• Important late-game notes: Zach Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha(notes) are INACTIVE for the Raiders; DeSean Jackson and Austin Collie are both ACTIVE, as expected. Mike Hart(notes) did not travel to Philly with the Colts, so Donald Brown should get a full workload.
• New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey suffered a rib injury early on Sunday, and he left the stadium via ambulance. Never a good sign. The Saints have a bye in Week 10, and they're cruising today against Jimmy Clausen's(notes) Panthers. (Posted at 3:30 pm ET)
• Jonathan Stewart(notes) owner, maybe it's not your year. Stewart's day began reasonably well (5 carries, 30 yards), but he was carted off following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Darren Sharper(notes). (More accurately, facemask-to-facemask). Mike Goodson and Tyrell Sutton(notes) will take over rushing duties for Carolina.
• The first play from scrimmage in the Saints-Panthers game was a Julius Jones(notes) carry that went for 54 yards. Pretty sure Julius hadn't rushed for 54 yards in any game since 1988, but I haven't looked that up just yet.
• If you're an AFC East apologist who expected the Jets and Patriots to roll to easy wins in Week 9 … um, no. The Lions and Browns are not impressed. The gimmick play of the day has to be Chansi Stuckey's(notes) 11-yard rushing TD near the end of the first half in Cleveland. The Browns' entire offensive line was still standing when the ball was snapped, selling confusion. Watch it right here.
• Incredibly (or perhaps not), San Diego had a punt blocked on Sunday for the fifth time this season. The play quickly led to points for Houston, as Arian Foster went untouched on an 8-yard score. The Chargers answered the TD on their next possession, as flavor-of-the-day receiver Seyi Ajirotutu hauled in a 55-yard touchdown off a bootleg. The field was just littered with open receivers on that play, and Rivers hit the deepest option, in stride. Houston's defense continues to be a mess.
Not a mess: Foster. He rushed for 99 yards and two scores in the first half, and he lost a third TD to the NFL's ridiculous rule that requires a receiver to possess the football for eight minutes on any touchdown reception. It was the Megatron play, essentially. Matt Schaub owners were not amused.
• Roddy White(notes) limped to the locker room in Atlanta in the first half with an apparent right knee injury. He was considered questionable to return, but he's back on the field in the third quarter. It appears his owners (and his real-life employer) have dodged a bullet.
• In other injury news, rookie Ryan Mathews(notes) suffered (or re-suffered?) an ankle injury at Houston. Mathews had gained 60 yards on 11 touches prior to the injury. Mike Tolbert(notes) obviously figures to benefit. We've had this drill before.
• Greg Camarillo basically made the play of the year for Minnesota early in the first quarter, forcing a fumble just before Arizona's Kerry Rhodes(notes) could cross the goal line on an interception return. Highlight here. The end result of the play was a touchback, and the Vikes kept possession; massive loss of yardage, but no points given away. Nonetheless, Minnesota trails the Derek Anderson(notes)-led Cardinals at half, 14-10. As you can probably imagine, Brad Childress and his squad received a lovely ovation as they went to the locker room.
• This Chicago-Buffalo tilt in Toronto has a strong preseason vibe: Lifeless crowd, empty seats, neither team in double-digits. Chester Taylor had six carries for seven yards, and Matt Forte had five for seven. Not such an impressive committee. We'll remind you that Buffalo ranks dead-last in defending the run, allowing 188.7 yards per game on the ground. (Posted at 2:45 pm ET)
Pre-FFL updates: Antonio Gates (feet) and Owen Daniels(notes) (hamstring) are reportedly INACTIVE this week. Tight end is a cursed position. Take evasive action, gamers. Elsewhere, Beanie Wells(notes) (knee) and Percy Harvin (ankle) are ACTIVE. Behrens is dealing with left knee inflammation, but he'll self-medicate and attempt to blog through it.
Huge news today from the Bay Area: Sunday's K.C.-Oakland game is a sellout, which means it will be televised locally. If the guy pictured above wants to stay home and watch the game with his one good eye, he can. Oakland's last 11 home contests have been blacked out in the local market, so this is kind of a big deal. Well done, Nation.
If you're looking for last-minute fantasy advice, please join us for an hour of chat over at Fantasy Football Live beginning at noon ET. You can find the Week 9 position ranks right here, and a thorough post-practice injury wrap here.
As usual, I'll spend my day in Sunday Scene, posting updates approximately 45 minutes after you want them. Please check back later in the day. We open for tailgating at 10 am ET; beer pong competition begins promptly at 11:30. Please register in comments.
Photo via Getty Images (Raiders fan) and US Presswire (Stewart, Rivers, Nicks)