Because the Vikings passing attack was ranked 8th in the NFL a year ago with WR Sidney Rice and now ranks just 24th in the NFL without Rice, many are concluding that Rice’s absence is a critical component to the slow-to-go passing game.
Consequently, many are also wondering if the acquisition of Randy Moss on Wednesday is an indication that Rice’s recovery from a hip injury that has bothered him since last year’s NFC Championship Game is going a bit slower than anticipated.
Speaking with an assembled group of reporters for the 1st time since his team acquired Moss, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress indicated the move to bring Moss back to Minnesota is a product of trying to improve the quality of the roster and not a response to the progress of Rice’s recovery.
“I can’t say that we’ve been wringing our hands about where Sidney Rice is at (in his recovery),” Childress explained on Wednesday. “He’s about where we thought he’d be; exactly as they advertised, that he was going to be on crutches for six weeks. That was a given. It was a rare opportunity for us to be able to take advantage of a guy who is arguably a Hall of Fame player and still has pretty good tread on the tire.”
The Vikings will look to utilize the tread remaining on Moss’ tires to stretch the field. Moss remains one of the game’s most lethal deep threats and possesses an uncanny combination of size, speed and ability to out-work defenders to the football. Minnesota fans fell in love with Moss’ skillset when he broke into the league in 1998 as a Viking and won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Aside from his physical abilities, though, Childress told reporters that another attractive attribute of Moss’ is his football IQ. Moss is in his 13th season and he’s seen every defensive tactic in the book.
“I think the other thing is he’s not a rookie,” Childress said. “He’s been to handling school. He gets coverages. He’s an extremely smart guy when you watch what he does. By all accounts he’s a pretty good student of the game.”
Childress was also asked how he felt about the manner in which Moss would be welcomed back into the Vikings locker room. Moss was traded away from the Vikings following the 2004 season.
“Good players are generally accepted very well in the locker room,” the Vikings head coach said. “I just saw Antoine Winfield in there. There are six or seven guys that played here with him and are tickled to death. I know Antoine’s got a grin from ear-to-ear.”
Judging by what Moss’ new teammates have been telling us in the last few hours, Childress is correct in that the Vikings newest offensive weapon will be welcomed to the locker room with open arms.
“We’re always looking for an opportunity to make this football team better,” Childress said. “Our organization and our ownership is committed to that. You try to be as resourceful as you can and I’m happy that obviously they supported this move.”
A few other notes from Childress’ press conference…
– Moss signed a 3-year contract extension with New England a few years back and that deal expires following the 2010 season. Childress was asked if an extension of Moss’ contract was in the offing, but he declined to delve into the details and said the Vikings would “cross that bridge when we get there.”
– Childress, who spoke with Moss early Wednesday while the WR was taking his daughter to school, said Moss was “in a good frame of mind.”
– Because the Vikings have already had their bye and the Patriots will have theirs this week, Moss is slated to play in 17 games this season.
– Moss will become just the 2nd player in NFL history to play in a Monday Night Football game in back-to-back weeks. Last week the Patriots played at Miami on MNF and this week the Vikings will travel to New York for a MNF showdown with the Jets.
– Childress downplayed any role QB Brett Favre may have played in the process of acquiring Moss. Favre and Moss have been linked together repeatedly in the past with trade rumors.
– I thought one of the best statements Childress made during his presser was in response to a series of questions that surrounded some incidents Moss has had with coaches, teammates or others in the past. Childress said, “I’m just satisfied to judge him, not backwards, but judge him going forward and what he does with us here at the Vikings now.”
Tags: Randy Moss, Sidney Rice
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