EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -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 Philadelphia, and the challenges they'll face probably won't be any greater than what they've already endured.
``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 four years.
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 eight years.
Still, Childress' conservative approach to offense, game management and the below-average production from his quarterbacks since his 2006 arrival have created more detractors than supporters.
That doesn't seem to include his players, who relish his even-keel demeanor.
``The thing that he does well is maintain the level of consistency every week,'' linebacker Chad Greenway said Monday. ``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.''
That's taking it one game at a time.
``To not have an emotional coach that kind of rides with the tide makes it easier on yourself,'' Greenway said. ``He's really good at stating the obvious and allowing us to think we're still in it, or we're not as good as we think we are and we need to get better.''
The season has been a struggle.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was out of whack in the first two games, both losses, and was swiftly benched. And the offense was broken for most of the first half of the season. Then middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, last year's defensive MVP, needed surgery on a badly broken foot in early October and was placed on injured reserve.
Jackson's greatly improved, but he's never played in January. And plenty of questions linger about his ability to thrive in high-pressure situations.
But it's U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson who's had perhaps the greatest impact on the Vikings' playoff hopes.
Earlier this month, Magnuson ordered the NFL's four-game doping suspensions of defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams tabled until the offseason to allow proper time to evaluate a lawsuit brought against the league by the players. The NFL has asked an appeals court to reconsider Magnuson's decision, but there has not yet been a response.
Pat Williams was dearly missed while he recovered from a broken bone in his right shoulder and sat out the last two games. But the leader of the league's stingiest defense against the run three years in a row is planning a return this week.
Even so, the Vikings have the second-worst odds to win the Super Bowl among the 12 teams still alive, at 35-to-1, opening the week at 2 1/2-point underdogs at home against Philadelphia.
``I think we have a lot of confidence about it, and I think that if anyone can do it, it should be us,'' wide receiver Bobby Wade said, when asked about winning it all. ``We've got to be able to do it one game a time, obviously, but we did that for the last part of our regular season. I think we're going to be OK.''
ered 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.''

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