Vikings Reeling After Loss To New England

The Vikings are a team on the brink after losing to the Patriots. Randy Moss is gone after professing his admiration for the enemy, Brett Favre looks old and battered, and the Vikings are losing ground in the division. Can they right their ship?

The Vikings are in for an interesting week as they prepare to play Sunday against Arizona.

Already dealing with an aging quarterback who is battling fractures in his left ankle and heel, the Vikings now must manage the fallout of their decision to place wide receiver Randy Moss on waivers after only four games.

Moss wore out his welcome in quick order after being obtained in early October from New England for a third-round draft pick. The Vikings' hope was that Moss would give them the type of big-play wide receiver they lacked with Sidney Rice out after having hip surgery.

But quarterback Brett Favre never did seem to get completely on the same page with Moss, who caught 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Part of the issue was that Moss was often drawing double teams, so in some ways he did make a difference.


Brett Favre is having a tough time in Minnesota, with or without Moss. (AP)

Wide receiver Percy Harvin, for instance, caught 19 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns in the four games, including six receptions for 104 yards and no touchdowns in last Sunday's 28-18 loss at New England.

In the mind of Vikings coach Brad Childress, Moss ended up being more trouble than he was worth.

Childress made it clear to his players in telling them of his decision on Monday afternoon that the way Moss treated people wasn't what he wanted. It also didn't help that Moss seemed to go at half speed at times against the Patriots and even pulled up after drawing a pass interference penalty despite the fact he could have caught the ball in the end zone.

The reaction to Moss' departure seems to be mixed with the Vikings sitting at 2-5 and at a critical point in their season. If enough players are upset about how things have transpired, there definitely could be an issue with guys deciding the season is lost.

Then there is the question of Childress' job security. He reportedly did not immediately tell owner Zygi Wilf of his intention to release Moss and this did not make management very happy, even though they eventually agreed to the move.

In the end, the Moss trade will have turned out to cause the Vikings headaches and money and given them no real return.


Moss has fans from both teams (AP)

PLAYER/NOTES
--DE Jared Allen on the Vikings' start: "I never saw (being 2-5) coming this way. But we're here and we have to do something about it. We have a team that we can win games with, but we have to prove it. Right now, we shoot ourselves in the foot."

--QB Brett Favre isn't willing to give up on this season. "I feel like this team is close," he said. "I have no idea what will happen the rest of this year, but I'm in it to win it. So hopefully our guys will not go south in this. I think we've got good character guys. We've got a lot of football left. It's still disappointing."

Favre played through a stress fracture in his left ankle and a fracture in his left heel to complete 22 of 32 passes for 259 yards with an interception in Sunday's loss at New England. Favre did not finish the game, leaving in the fourth quarter after taking a helmet to the chin. He required eight stitches and did not return. Favre said he will be ready to go Sunday against Arizona.

--RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 92 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown against the Patriots and is now the NFL's leading rusher with 776 yards on 165 carries and six touchdowns. Peterson also has yet to be charged with a fumble through six games after having issues with hanging onto the football the past two seasons.

--RB Toby Gerhart had only two carries for no yards Sunday but he did see more action on third down and caught a career-high five passes for 67 yards with a long of 23 yards.

--TE Visanthe Shiancoe had four receptions for 38 yards and has seven catches over the past two games after having three in the previous three games. Shiancoe appeared to benefit from Randy Moss' presence and the attention he drew so it will be interesting to see what will happen now that Moss has been placed on waivers.

--WR Bernard Berrian figures to play a more prominent role again now that Moss has been let go. Berrian had only two catches for 15 yards against New England and has only nine catches on the season. Berrian caught four passes with Moss in Minnesota, and never more than two in a game, but it figures he should be seeing the ball more often.

--WR Percy Harvin also figures to be impacted by Moss' sudden exit but not in a good way. Harvin was open more consistently with Moss drawing multiple defenders and had six receptions for 104 yards against New England. Harvin had 19 catches for 287 yards and two touchdowns with Moss on the roster. Harvin also suffered a sprained ankle on Sunday that could slow him this week.

--WR Greg Lewis has only seven catches for 93 yards on the season but figures to become a more important part of the offense, especially if Harvin is slowed by his ankle injury. An opportunity also could be opened up for Greg Camarillo. Camarillo, obtained from Miami in a trade before the season, has six catches for 63 yards.

--LB Chad Greenway was credited with 11 tackles against the Patriots and has led the Vikings in tackles in every game this season.

--DE Jared Allen, who entered the season with an NFL-leading 72 sacks since 2004, has only one sack this year and none in the past five games. The Vikings also have gone three consecutive games without a sack.

--CB Chris Cook, who has missed four games this season because of knee injuries, left Sunday's game after being kicked in the left leg. He likely will be limited in practice Wednesday.

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