Recalling the head coach of the ’84 Vikes, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Mark Craig writes, “Les Steckel (above) is a fine man. He served his country in Vietnam, was a strong NFL assistant and has been an inspirational president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.But old Les remains the one man in NFL circles that no head coach wants to be compared to. In any way. EV-er.” Wow. Sucks to be Brad Childress.

Childress isn’t a close, personal friend, and I still was one of the lonely voices arguing to give him a full season to groom Tarvaris Jackson. But after four preseason games and nine more in the regular season, all we know is Jackson likes to wear his baseball cap backwards and Childress couldn’t possibly have messed up his quarterback situation any worse than it is right now.

Either Jackson lacks any ounce of grit that all good quarterbacks must have, or Childress has babied him to the point that it looks as if an entire preseason and regular season will pass without the team definitively answering the No. 1 basic question that has faced the future of the franchise every since he was drafted in the second round in 2006: Can Jackson ever play quarterback in the National Football League?

Jackson barely played in the preseason and has missed all or parts of six regular-season games this season. So, basically, at every key point of the season, either Jackson has shrunk from the extra responsibility that goes with playing quarterback or Childress has overprotected him.

On Sunday at Lambeau. Jackson was coming off yet another injury (concussion), but was healthy enough to serve as the No. 2 quarterback. He never stepped on the field as the Vikings were getting whipped in the worst loss to the Packers in franchise history.

What the heck is going on?

By the way, an announced 54,949 fans watched Steckel and the Vikings beat the Bucs 27-24 on Nov. 4, 1984. Steckel didn’t win another game, finishing his one NFL head coaching season at 3-13.

Bud Grant came out of retirement for one season in 1985.

It’s too early to make any predictions. But it might be time to tell Bud to start warming up.