One of the first thoughts that came to mind when reading Vikings coach Brad Childress' remarks about the Patriots being "the all-time great signal stealers" was how it would be received by Bill Belichick.
Without hearing the context of Childress' remarks, one could interpret them in different ways. One Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter who was present during Childress' remarks believes that he was trying to pass along a compliment.
On a conference call Tuesday, Belichick ducked the question by saying his only focus was on preparing for the Vikings. Asked his connection to Childress, he said, "Brad and I have never coached together. Like a lot of other coaches in the NFL, you see everyone at the combine and owners' meetings and stuff like that."
The two have been linked in the past.
In a 2007 radio interview, Childress detailed a conversation he had with Belichick about the Vikings' plans to claim 2006 Patriots fourth-round draft choice Garrett Mills on waivers. Belichick was apparently trying to talk Childress out of it, but the Vikings still claimed Mills. In turn, the Patriots claimed Vikings linebacker David Herron on waivers in what looked like retaliation (the Patriots released Herron a few weeks later).
Couple that story with Childress' most recent remarks -- and then factor in how word of the Randy Moss-to-Minnesota trade leaked out early and Childress saying that the Patriots had privately worked out 2009 Vikings first-round pick Percy Harvin a few days before the draft -- and it would be easy to see why the tight-lipped Belichick might roll his eyes at Childress allowing behind-the-scenes business to become so public.
That's certainly not Belichick's style.