Part II: 2,000 Yards For Peterson?

Posted by cjsiewert on October 10, 2010 – 10:24 am

Vikings All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson’s first reaction to the news of the team acquiring Randy Moss from the New England Patriots had him surprised as anybody else.

“What!” Peterson explained of his reaction during his weekly press conference prior to Friday’s practice.

The trade for Moss brings an obvious improvement to a Vikings offense that has been feeling the effects of WR Sidney Rice’s absence. The benefits of Moss’ addition will not only help the receiving unit, but also the Vikings potent rushing attack.

Despite facing 8 and 9-men fronts in the box on defense, Peterson has still managed to put up impressive numbers, averaging 130.7 YPG. But with Moss now out wide, how will defenses approach the star-studded Vikings offense?

“Defenses have to pick their poison,” Peterson acknowledged. “To make the offense more dynamic, definitely give us that deep threat and open up the run game.”

Back in late August, I mentioned the possibility of Peterson reaching 2,000 rushing yards this season – a bold prediction, as many of you exclaimed to me – but now with the addition of Moss, which may force defenses to spread the field to accommodate the deep threat, is that milestone more realistic?

According to my Minnesota math, at the pace he’s going at right now – averaging 130.7 YPG – Peterson would finish the season with 2,091 yards. Those numbers come with defenses loading the box; so imagine what type of numbers “All Day” will put up against a standard 3-4 or 4-3 defensive front.

The combination of Moss and Peterson on the same offense comes this Monday night against the NY Jets. And the blitz-heavy defense of the Jets may provide a nice gauge as to how this All-Pro RB-WR tandem will fare for the Purple over the next 13 regular season games.

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More Moss Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 8, 2010 – 2:57 pm

Hey, it’s been 10 hours since we’ve had a Randy Moss-related post here on the blog. So here are a few more notes on Minnesota’s newest WR…

– Moss has been a key player on the NFL’s top 2 scoring offenses of all-time, hauling in 17 TDs for the 1998 Vikings when they scored 556 points and then totaling an NFL record 23 TD catches for the 2007 Patriots, who set the league record for points scored in a season with 589. The ’98 Vikings went 15-1 and the ’07 Patriots went 16-0.

– Since entering the NFL, Moss has 151 receiving TDs, more than any other player over that span. He caught 50 TDs with the Patriots from 2007-2010, also the best in the league over that span. If you include rushing and receiving TDs, Moss has 152 TDs since entering the league and that mark ranks behind only RB LaDainian Tomlinson’s 154 over that span.

– Over his 13-year NFL career, Moss has averaged 1 TD for every 6.19 receptions, a total that is the best in NFL history among any receiver with at least 500 receptions. Moss has caught 151 TDs out of 935 career receptions.

– In NFL ranks, Moss ranks 10th all-time with 935 receptions, 5th with 14,604 receiving yards and 2nd with 151 receiving TDs.

– Moss has more TD receptions (50) since 2007 than any other player; Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. is next with 37.

– In 7 seasons with the Vikings, Moss has earned 5 Pro Bowls.

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Moss V. Revis, Part II

Posted by cjsiewert on October 8, 2010 – 6:30 am

The Vikings made their biggest acquisition since signing QB Brett Favre prior to the 2009 season by trading for WR Randy Moss on Wednesday.

The timing of the trade couldn’t come at a better time, with the Vikings booked for a Monday night showdown against the NY Jets – a team that prides itself on an unrelenting defense. And one of the integral parts of that imposing Jets defense is the play of CB Darrelle Revis.

Having played against each other in the AFC East for the past 3+ seasons, both Moss and Revis are quite familiar with one another. The 2 have matched up at the line of scrimmage 7 times dating back to Revis’ rookie season in 2007. During their 1st bout on September 9, 2007, Moss provided the then-rookie CB knowledge of what playing in the NFL is all about. The perennial deep threat hauled in 9 receptions for 183 yards and a TD with Revis on the other side of the ball, but that would be the last of gaudy numbers Moss would put up on the Jets CB.

In the 6 games since their inaugural matchup, Moss has averaged 3.5 receptions and 37.2 yards per game with Revis as his defender. The 13-year veteran recorded 3 TDs in those 6 games while Revis nabbed 2 INTs – which is not be an indication of Moss’ play on the ball, but rather a sign of Revis’ ball-hawking abilities.

Revis has dealt with a strained left hamstring over the past 3 games and may not even make it on the field for Moss’ 1st game back with the Purple, but that hasn’t prevented him from trash-talking the WR. Moss was limited to 2 receptions for 38 yards in his 1st game against the Jets this season, but he did grab an impressive one-handed TD late in the 1st half – the play that resulted in Revis’ injury.

The newly acquired Viking WR has taken the high road by avoiding the banter with Revis, but maybe Moss is intending to do his talking on the field Monday night. I guess we’ll find out what the 2nd installment of Moss v. Revis in the 2010 season has in store for us on MNF.

Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 24 Comments »

He Can Still Bring It

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2010 – 2:39 pm

It’s been a blur around Winter Park the last couple of days with the Vikings acquisition of WR Randy Moss still setting in for the organization and its fanbase. But after Moss’ 1st practice and press conference back in Minnesota, one thing is clear – he can still bring it.

And if Moss brings even half as much spark to the offense that he brought to his press conference on Thursday, the Vikings will be in great shape. The media contingent gathered at Winter Park for Thursday’s press conferences was the largest since perhaps Brett Favre’s 1st press conference as a Viking. Several times while speaking with the media, Moss had the gallery of reporters laughing after comical – and also candid – answers.

The general message from Moss was clear, though. He was enthusiastic about being back in Minnesota and he certainly looks forward to reinvigorating the tremendous relationship he had with the Vikings fanbase.

“I’m very fortunate to be back home where it all started,” Moss said. “It’s been a hectic last 48 hours and I didn’t really know what to expect. But I’m back home and it kinda feels weird knowing that I was just in New England trying to make things happen and then over night just get traded back home.

“I thought about this time and time again about how this thing was going to play out and ‘Is the love for me still here in Minnesota?’ But all I’ve been seeing is nothing but positive. So to all the Vikings fans that’s coming to that Metrodome, pull your 84 jerseys out. I think this is going to be a fun ride.”

As for his on-field experience on Thursday, Moss said it felt good to be out with his new teammates and that he’s kept an eye on this Vikings team in recent seasons.

“I’ve paid attention to the team and the success they’ve had over the years,” Moss explained, “and by bringing me back here I just want to see if we can get this thing done.”

Vikings fans have missed Moss and his playmaking abilities ever since he was traded to the Oakland Raiders after the 2004 season. And Moss indicated there was a part of him that missed Minnesota, too.

“I have strong faith,” Moss responded when asked if he ever envisioned being back in Minnesota as a Viking again. “I have a lot of faith in God that he’d put me in the right situation. I think me being traded from New England to here, I guess this was his plan. So I’m going to embrace it, take it in stride and hopefully bring it home.”

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Setting The Table For Vikings-Jets

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2010 – 9:50 am

The Vikings acquisition of WR Randy Moss has consumed the headlines over the past 2 days and will likely remain a hot-button topic throughout the rest of the week, but let’s not forget that there’s a game to be played on Monday night.

And it’s a high-profile game.

ESPN has a ratings bonanza for their Week 4 Monday Night Football matchup, as a pair of teams who played in conference championship games last season meet in the Big Apple (actually they’ll play in New Jersey). The Vikings and Jets matchup is a much anticipated one for many other reasons, too. Let’s take a look at a few of them…

Great Expectations: Both the Vikings and Jets entered the 2010 season with great expectations and they enter this matchup in different situations. The Jets are 3-1, having scored 3 consecutive AFC East wins, and have looked progressively impressive during their winning streak. The Vikings are 1-2 and enter the matchup coming off a bye, which should’ve helped several players recuperate from some early-season ailments.

The Jets have control of their division and have an opportunity this week to continue their surge. The Vikings have a chance to rebound from a couple of early-season losses and begin a tough month of October with road victory over one of the AFC’s hottest teams.

Adrian Peterson and LaDainian Tomlinson: Remember the last time these 2 great RBs played in the same game? Peterson set a new NFL single-game record by rushing for 296 yards. Certainly we can’t expect a similar output from Peterson on Monday night, but given his success so far in 2010 (averaging 130.7 yards per game) it’ll be fun to watch Peterson run against a talented and vicious Jets defense.

Tomlinson left the Chargers via free agency this past offseason and was courted heavily by both the Vikings and the Jets. He eventually chose to sign in New York and cited his familiarity with Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. So far in New York, Tomlinson has proved both the Jets and Vikings right for pursuing him. He’s 7th in the NFL in rushing, is averaging 6.1 yards per carry and has 3 TDs.

WRs Return: Both teams will welcome a fresh face to their WR corps on Monday night, with the Vikings rolling out Moss for the 1st time since acquiring him via trade on Wednesday and the Jets rolling out Santonio Holmes for the 1st time.

Moss will become just the 2nd player in NFL history to play in back-to-back games and he’ll be doing it against his former team’s biggest rival. With the New England Patriots, Moss matched up against the Jets twice a year for 3 seasons and has recently been linked to Jets CB Darrell Revis. Both players are elite at their positions and they’ve gone up against each other on numerous occasions. They’ll do so again on Monday night and many an eye will be on them.

Holmes was also acquired via trade and he’s coming off a 4-game suspension to make his 1st appearance for his new team. He’s a well-rounded player with good speed, terrific hands and versatility that allows him to stretch defenses outside and also use the middle of the field.

Brett Favre: We can’t build hype for a MNF game without mentioning Favre, right? So here it is, Favre returns to the MNF stage, where he’s performed well in the past. And he also returns to New York. Favre was the Jets QB in 2008 and got the team off to a great start before the season unraveled.

Also, Favre is just 1 TD pass away from his 500th, a feat no other QB has accomplished. I’ve got a feeling Vikings fans would love to see Favre connect with Moss to reach the milestone.

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Roster Maintenance

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2010 – 7:52 am

The big news of the week is of course the trade for WR Randy Moss. But the Vikings completed some other roster business this week as well.

Before the deal for Moss, the Vikings traded DE Jayme Mitchell to the Cleveland Browns for an undisclosed draft pick.

After the deal for Moss, the Vikings waived WR Logan Payne from the practice  squad and signed T Andrew Gardner to the practice squad.

Gardner played college football at Georgia Tech and was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 2009 NFL Draft. Miami cut Gardner and then Baltimore signed the 6-6, 305-pound T to their practice squad. He was a 2-time First-Team All-ACC performer (2007, 2008).

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Statistically Speaking: Where Moss Ranks In Vikings History

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2010 – 6:51 am

By the time Randy Moss was traded away from the Vikings in February of 2005, his name was etched in the Vikings record books. Fortunately, that etching was not in stone because Moss has returned to the club that drafted him in 1998 and now he’s poised to add to his already-accomplished Vikings career and resume.

Let’s take a look at where Moss ranks in the record books…

– Moss was selected by the Vikings with the 21st overall pick in the 1998 draft and it took him no time to make an impact. In his 1st regular season game as a Viking, Moss had 4 receptions for 95 yards and 2 TDs. He went on to have a record-breaking rookie campaign, hauling in 69 receptions for 1,313 yards and 17 TDs, all franchise rookie records. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

– Among Vikings WRs, only Cris Carter ranks ahead of Moss in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs. Moss has 574 receptions as a Viking for 9,142 yards and 90 TDs. Carter had 1,004 receptions with Minnesota, so Moss has a long way to go to catch him in that category. But Moss is 20 TDs and 3,241 receiving yards behind Carter.

– Moss posted the top 3 single-season receiving yardage marks in team history – 1,632 in 2003, 1,437 in 2000 and 1,413 in 1999. His 204 receiving yards against the Chicago Bears in November of 1999 ranks as the 2nd-best single-game performance in club history behind Sammy White’s 210 yards against the Lions in November of 1976.

– No Vikings WR has more 100-yard receiving games than Moss. He has 41 so far in his Vikings career, 1 ahead of Carter’s 40.

– Moss is the Vikings 4th all-time leading scorer with 552 career points, behind Fred Cox (1,365), Carter (670) and Fuad Reveiz (598).

– No player has led the Vikings in receiving yards for more seasons than Moss. He’s done it 6 times (1998-2003), with his best campaign coming in 2003 when he recorded 1,632 yards on 111 receptions; he also had 17 TDs. The reception and receiving yardage totals were career highs for him that year and the TD reception mark ties his career high.

– Moss and Carter share the team record for most TDs in a season with 17 (Moss in 1998 and 2003, Carter in 1995) and they also share the franchise record for most consecutive games with a TD catch (7 – Moss in 1998 and Carter in 1999).

– Carter has the franchise’s top 2 single-season reception totals, but Moss has the #3 and #4 efforts of all-time. In 1994 and 1995 Carter had 122 receptions, while Moss put together a fine stretch of back-to-back seasons with 106 grabs in 2002 and 111 in 2003.

– Moss recorded 8 100-yard receiving games in 2000 and 2003 and he registered 7 such games in 1999 and 2002. Carter did it 6 times in 2000.

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Childress: Acquiring Moss A “Rare Opportunity”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 6, 2010 – 4:05 pm

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.”

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Vikings Reaction To Moss Addition Pours In

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 6, 2010 – 12:52 pm

Reaction to the Vikings acquisition of Randy Moss will likely continue to trickle in, so rather than come up with creative paragraphs to introduce each quote, we’re just going to compile a working list of quotes.

We’ll begin with a new one from RB Adrian Peterson, and then include the thoughts we’ve already placed on other parts of the site. As new players chime in, we’ll add their quote to the top of this list.

Mark Wilf: “This is an exciting day for the Vikings organization and our fans. Randy has a special place in this organization’s history and we’re looking forward to his contributions going forward. It’s important to add good football players to the roster whenever possible, and with Randy we feel that’s exactly what we’ve done. We welcome him back to the team.”

Jared Allen: “Awesome. That’s the only way to describe it. He’s a heck of a player. That guy is a beast.”

Antoine Winfield: “I’m excited. I played one year with him here (2004) and he’s a great teammate. He’ll be great for our locker room. And he still has the skillset to get the job done.”

Adrian Peterson: “It’s a great move getting Randy Moss in here. We’ve just been missing something and I think he can give us another threat down the field. The opportunity to play with a guy like Randy Moss, one of the best wide receivers to ever play the game, that’s a chance that doesn’t come along every day. I’ve always been a fan of his and still am to this day. To have a chance to perform on the field with him and the talent that we have gathered here is pretty amazing.”

Brett Favre: “This is an exciting move, I think everybody feels that in the locker room. It’s rare you get to play with a future Hall of Famer and get to appreciate their talents up close. Randy Moss is a great player and his career speaks for itself. I’ve admired him from a distance for a long time and you can’t help but be impressed by the guy.”

Kevin Williams: “I think everybody was a little surprised when they heard the news, but I think it’s a good move. It will give us a spark and open some things up. Randy’s a guy who has always worked at his craft and I think that has showed over his whole career. He’s been successful and been a part of winning a lot of games. He’s one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever played with and I’m happy to have him back with us.”

Brad Childress: “We feel very good about the opportunity to add a player of Randy Moss’ caliber to this football team. He is a tremendous competitor and was an integral member of the Vikings organization from 1998-2004. Once again, ownership was completely supportive of our efforts to add a valuable football player to our team. I know the entire organization is thrilled to welcome him back to the Twin Cities and look forward to his contributions.”

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Vikings, Moss Reunite

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 6, 2010 – 9:59 am

For the last several years, fans have wished for it. For the last 15 hours the entire sports world has buzzed about it.

And now it’s official.

The Vikings have reached a deal with the New England Patriots to acquire WR Randy Moss, a 6-time Pro Bowler who began his career and took the NFL by storm with the Vikings in 1998.

The acquisition of Moss is a sensational move for the Vikings. But the addition is as much about substance as it is about style. Moss will be a good fit with the Vikings because of his ability to stretch defenses and haul in downfield passes from QB Brett Favre.

Inserting Moss into the lineup immediately provides Favre with a downfield target who has made a career out of burning defenses over the top. The Vikings passing offense has been slow-to-go so far in 2010, but the Vikings will look for Moss to change that quickly.

It didn’t take Moss long to make an impact when he first joined the Vikings in ‘98. A key element in the Vikings record-setting offense that season, Moss hauled in 17 TDs and 1,313 receiving yards along the way to earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Expecting an impact that dramatic in 2010 might be a bit ambitious, but the Vikings don’t need Moss to provide such gaudy numbers. The offense features superstar RB Adrian Peterson as well as pass-catchers such as TE Visanthe Shiancoe and WRs Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin. Each of those players has a niche in head coach Brad Childress’ offense, but Moss brings that downfield element which has lacked so far this season.

Much has been made about the Vikings challenging stretch of games in October, where they will hit the road to play at the Jets this week, return home to play the Cowboys and then head back out on the road for back-to-back games against the Packers and, yes, the Patriots.

So the addition of Moss comes not a moment too early and it’s just another example of the Vikings commitment to bringing a Super Bowl victory to Minnesota.

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