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Childress on Peterson, McKinnie 'tips'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota coach Brad Childress addressed two inside-football questions Wednesday, both of which have been circulating around cyberspace in recent weeks.

1. Childress admitted he has heard previous suggestions that tailback Adrian Peterson tips plays based on the direction he looks before the snap. (Yukonjack, among many other readers, have been hitting the mailbag about it.) Childress said “I don’t think” it’s the case but added it would be impossible to know based on coach’s tape.

“I can see the stripe on the helmet,” Childress said. “But I would be lying to you if I said I could see the eyes.”

Asked how reliable an indicator eye direction would be, Childress acknowledged that teams are always looking for those kinds of pre-snap “tells.” The only way it could happen, Childress said, is by “word of mouth” during games.

In Childress-speak, that was a pretty neutral answer. It seemed he was leaving open the possibility that defenses are at least paying attention to Peterson’s eyes.

2. Childress seemed unconcerned about Westwood One analyst Tony Boselli’s suggestion that left tackle Bryant McKinnie’s is tipping off defenders that a pass is coming. Childress agreed that McKinnie was in a two-point stance for “a good bit” of Sunday’s game at Arizona. But McKinnie, who is 6-foot-8, often uses a two-point stance in obvious passing situations to help him be in better position to pass-block.

Technically, the two-point stance is a “tip.” But it’s so obvious that every NFL offense knows it carries a strong implication of a pass. It’s similar to the shotgun formation. You choose to have your quarterback further away from the pass rush at the price of eliminating the run-pass guessing game. It’s the same thing with a two-point stance. You choose maximum blocking over maximum guessing.

Update: McKinnie said after practice Wednesday that he is aware of some inconsistencies in his three-point stance and is working to fix them. McKinnie, however, has no such concerns about his two-point stance.