But from the Vikings' standpoint, acquiring Moss is the best of all worlds because it would appear the team has finally come to admit the role that Sidney Rice played in the offense isn't being filled by anyone else to this point. While one player doesn't make or break or team, the problem with Rice's injury is that it created a domino effect that disrupted the entire offense.
Ideally in the Vikings offense, Rice and Bernard Berrian would line up on the outside, Percy Harvin would line up in the slot and Visanthe Shiancoe would alternate between run blocking and creating coverage mismatches with linebackers across the middle of the field. That all changed when Rice was lost due to a hip injury.
Berrian was an ideal No. 2 receiver – a player who typically wouldn't draw the opponents' top corner and has the speed to often require safety help over the top. As a No. 1 receiver, Berrian was overmatched, providing little in the way of offense in any of the Vikings' three games and routinely getting muscled up at the line of scrimmage. The arrival of Moss would allow him to resume his role as the No. 2 outside receiver – a role he is much better suited for.
Harvin made big strides as a rookie working in the slot on timing routes with Brett Favre and won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as a result. He was an ideal and dangerous slot receiver. Moving him outside the hashes took away many of his top strengths and the rapport he built with Favre. He seems miscast as the No. 2 receiver on the outside. The arrival of Moss would allow Harvin to move back inside – a role he is much better suited for.
With the starting wide receivers struggling with their new roles, Shiancoe was forced to become a regular receiving target instead of a big-play option when the receivers are flooding the defensive zones. He became a poor man's Antonio Gates, acting more like a big wide receiver running short crossing routes than being a protector for Favre as a blocker and a big-play threat down the middle of the field. It was a role ideally suited for him even though Favre locked and loaded on him. The arrival of Moss would allow Shiancoe to move back to his role as a blocker and red zone specialist – a role he is much better suited for.
Moss rolling back to Minnesota would not only replace Rice, but return the team's other three top receivers back to their more natural roles in the offense. When Rice returns, you can bet he will bump Berrian to the role of fourth receiver, where he could likely do more damage being single covered deep down the field with a nickel corner or safety. One player can't decide a season, but Moss could be the cure to what is ailing the Vikings offense.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.