Commentary: You gotta have heart

The days leading up to today's first-round playoff game between the Packers and the Vikings have been filled with more images of Randy Moss walking off the field than Javon Walker catching a pass, and more discussion of Moss' merits than of last week's Pack sack attack.<p> What's the best way to put a stop to Moss hype of any kind? Just win.<P>

The scene of Moss punching the clock early as his team still had a play to run and a glimmer of hope remaining as they trailed the Redskins by just three points has now been witnessed by practically every sports fan in America with a television.

Moss' latest stunt made news largely because of the appropriately angry reactions of a veteran teammate and coach Mike Tice.

But it wasn't news to me.

Moss has been a big a part of the Vikings problems as he is part of their production. He's the reason that on a pre-game show Sunday Morning, Boomer Esiason declared a belief I've held for years: "The Vikings have no heart."

The Packers beat the Vikings twice by the same score, 34-31, with and without Moss. The second go-around came with the receiver in the lineup, in the Metrodome, with the division on the line. The rematch silenced the critics who discredited the first Packer win because it came sans Moss in the cold at Lambeau.

Now the Packers, especially the defense, have the perfect opportunity to stop the Moss talk. If Green Bay wins, the Vikings will be relegated to the same fate suffered by all first-round playoff losers; completely forgotten once the top seeds step into the mix and the stakes go up next week.

The risk in today's Packers-Vikings matchup isn't that the teams are well-acquainted rivals meeting for the third time in four months. The true danger is that on the strength of an athletic quarterback and talented if thickheaded receiver, a team with no heart can end the dreams of a team whose heart and soul set the standard for the NFL.

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