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We’ve tried to give Vikings coach Brad Childress every possible benefit of the doubt through two-plus NFL seasons as the man in charge in Minnesota. But it’s over. We’re done. There will be no more leeway for the guy who looks like he should be filling out tax returns, not preparing game plans. Our epiphany came earlier tonight, when we saw the coach’s explanation for his decision to punt the ball while trailing by two scores with roughly two minutes to play in Tennessee. The Vikings faced fourth and 13 from their own 18. We assumed that Childress opted to punt due to fears that the Titans would then try to score another touchdown on a short field. We were wrong, as usual. On Monday, Childress explained his decision with this quote: “Based on the way we were playing defense, I thought we’d have a chance to get it back.” But the Vikings had zero time outs. So the Titans took a knee three times, and the game was over. A good coach can do the math on the fly and realize he’s not getting the ball back. A good coach knows that, even if he had 10 time outs, giving the ball to the other team with 120 seconds left in the game isn’t the best way to put at least 13 points on the board. Maybe the truth is that Childress feared backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who replaced Gus Frerotte after his hand split open and gushed blood like watered-down gravy spilling from a ladle, would convert the long fourth down, and then perhaps would get a few more of them, and then perhaps would lead the team to a touchdown, requiring Childress to then perhaps revisit his decision to bench Jackson. A good coach is smart enough to realize that a quarterback who regains lost confidence can only help the team, even if it requires the coach to deal with internal or external voices clamoring for another change. Childress claimed after his press conference that he simply didn’t like the team’s chances at converting fourth down and 13 yards to go. And thus we wonder how he felt about the Eagles’ chances when facing fourth and 26 during the 2003 playoffs, when Childress was serving as Philly’s offensive coordinator. So, regardless of the reason for his decision to punt, we’ve concluded that Childress isn’t a good coach. And we think that, barring a dramatic turnaround, it’s time for him to go. We don’t spout off opinions like this lightly, and we realize that the removal of a coach profoundly affects a lot of men and their families. But each NFL team is a private business that thrives on widespread public interest, and the folks in Minnesota deserve much more from their local football franchise. Especially if said local football franchise wants the folks in Minnesota to foot a big part of the bill for a new stadium.