Notebook: Moss message inspires Vikings

Randy Moss has hurt the Cowboys before, but never with a halftime speech. Moss is being called a leader and was given credit for what were apparently some inspiring words at halftime with the Vikings trailing 14-7.

Randy Moss has consistently found ways to beat the Dallas Cowboys. As a member of the Vikings, Moss is 6-0 against the Cowboys, the team he thought was going to draft him in 1998 and has made them pay for passing on him by using his physical talents.

On Sunday, Moss did something different when he wasn't on the field – he became of vocal leader in the halftime locker room.

Quarterback Brett Favre said Moss gave a "great" halftime speech, if not a little blue in typical Moss style.

"Most people don't think of Randy that way and probably a lot of guys on this team that have known Randy for awhile. … What's said about him over the years is that maybe he's not a good teammate or a great leader, and I can't answer," Favre said. "But since he has been here, the guy has been outstanding. I thought it was a matter of fact and what we needed to hear. It wasn't anything scientific. It was a couple choice words that I'd rather not use, but I thought the guys responded well."

Percy Harvin, who has been praising Moss since the day the 6-foot-4 receiver arrived at Winter Park following a trade on Oct. 7, certainly responded. Harvin took the opening kickoff of the second half back 95 yards for a game-tying touchdown and Moss started pacing around on the sideline looking for players to pump up after Harvin's touchdown.

"Randy said something about bringing your own energy coming out of the locker room," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "I think they were on the field twice as long as we were in the first half. We didn't have anything going. We had the one turnover and we scored points off it and they were able to convert some third downs. There's no better energy than a return for a score."

Moss message to the team came after another sluggish start for the Vikings offense. They had gained only 60 yards of offense and ran only 20 plays while the Cowboys had run 36 plays.

"Our defense had been on the field that long. That's a long time against an explosive Dallas team. You just figure at some point something is going to happen," Favre said. "Randy was just saying, ‘Either we just stay on the field longer, or we just score in that short amount of time.' Everyone has to take ownership of it, and once again it's no secret to those things, but coach can come in and say those things over and over again and sometime it's in one ear and out the other. That's just cause you hear it from that guy all the time. And if you hear it from a guy like Randy, you kind of see guys' reactions like, ‘Yeah, you're right.'"


Favre is scheduled to meet with NFL security chief Milt Alherich on Tuesday, commissioner Roger Goodell said this weekend, regarding allegations that Favre sent inappropriate messages to former New York Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger when both were employed by the Jets in 2008.

A report on ESPN said Favre declined a request by the NFL to be interviewed last week, but Favre denied that Sunday after the game.

Asked what he expects to come of his meeting with the NFL, Favre said, "I don't expect anything. As I said last week, during the week, tonight, I'm concerned about the next game. I'll let that take its course. I'm a little bit reluctant to say I'm excited about going back to Green Bay. It's a challenge that hopefully we live up to. I'll let the other stuff take care of itself."

Last week, Favre said he might be more focused on the game while the allegations dog him. On Sunday, he said that isn't the case and his family is even telling him he needs to smile more on the sidelines.

"I know the first couple games, talking with my mom and a couple family members back home, they said ‘You've got to start smiling more,'" he said. "That's pressure because, I've said this up here numerous times, if you're down, say you're down 14-7, I don't want to be on the sidelines doing cartwheels and smiling. I think that sends the wrong message. I want to win. I think sometimes it's almost that I'm too focused."

Running back Adrian Peterson said Favre remains a strong leader for the team, even with the controversy surrounding him.

"I see a guy who is out there and just focused. He's fighting through adversity, on and off the field," Peterson said. "He's a great leader out there, and he is leading the team. He's making plays, and he is doing his job well."


The Cowboys clearly had a different game plan than the one they used in the divisional playoff matchup in January, when the Vikings won 34-3 and sacked QB Tony Romo six times. This time around, Dallas was intent on getting the ball out of Romo's hand quickly and oftentimes that meant throwing to running back Felix Jones.

Jones led the Cowboys with 10 catches for 61 yards.

"It was something that we were not prepared to see, especially after watching film," Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said. "We made some adjustments that really helped that out. It is one of those things where they will get a couple of yards; playing a Cover-2 we will give up four or five yards every time they do that. We had to have the bend-but-don't-break mentality and we stepped up and made plays when we needed to."

Romo wasn't sacked once.


Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was inactive against the Cowboys because of a knee injury that he said on Friday was only about 80 percent.

Cook had surgery to repair another torn meniscus 12 days ago.

Fullback Naufahu Tahi was inactive for the first time this year. Tahi was called out on the television broadcast last Monday night for missing a blitz pickup against the New York Jets, but Childress indicated that center Ryan Cook slid the protection the wrong way. Childress said Tahi was inactive Sunday because of the way the Cowboys play defense.

"(The Cowboys are a) 3-4 team. We wanted to have those guys faced up a good bit, (linebackers DeMarcus) Ware and (Anthony) Spencer, their premium rush guys," Childress said. "We just didn't want to play with open edges that much."

Also inactive were QB Joe Webb (3rd QB), WR Hank Baskett, S Tyrell Johnson, G Chris DeGeare, DT Jimmy Kennedy and DE Everson Griffen.


Center Jon Cooper got his first NFL start. Veteran Ryan Cook started last week in place of regular starter John Sullivan (calf), but Cooper was inserted in place of Cook for the second half and coaches seemed satisfied with his ability to make the line calls.

Both Sullivan and Cook were active Sunday, but Cooper played the entire game at center.


  • Favre was not wearing a sleeve on his throwing elbow during the game. He has been dealing with tendinitis in his right elbow and wore a sleeve during practices last week.

  • Moss, playing in his first regular-season game in the Metrodome since 2004, received a big ovation from the fans when entered the field for warmups.

  • The Vikings missed an opportunity to create bigger excitement about Moss' return to the Metrodome when they continued the practice of introducing the whole team coming out of the tunnel instead of introducing players individually. The team introduction has been a practice since early in the Childress era.

  • At least one of the Cowboys was having a hard time justify their loss. "We killed ourselves. When you're in the heat of the play, in the heat of a battle, sometimes you can understand that. … It's tough to deal with, especially when you get back on Monday and you look at the game summary and on the stat sheet you whooped these people in every facet of the game and you come away with a loss."

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