Moss acquisition would settle Vikings offense

The Vikings have made all kinds of adjustments with the absence of Sidney Rice, making their other receiving options try out new roles to cover for his loss. Getting Moss would give the Vikings the outside target they lacked in the first three games.

With a shake of the Magic 8-Ball, the answer to whether Randy Moss will join the Vikings is "All Signs Point To Yes." There are some who are questioning both sides of the equation for making such a trade – the Patriots giving up their top offensive big-play threat and the Vikings making such a drastic move during the season.

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.


  • For those who hold the future of the Vikings franchise in their hands, the Wilf family can't be blamed for trying to put a top-notch product on the field despite not having the revenue streams of most of their ownership colleagues, thanks to the Metrodome being little more than an ancient landfill with a roof. When it sounded like Favre wasn't going to come back, the Wilfs tore up his contract and fattened it by millions. The team worked out a deal to sign Vincent Jackson, until it got imploded by outrageous traded demands from the Chargers. Now it sounds like the Vikings are willing to extend the checkbook to Moss and keep him one of the highest-paid receivers in the league, despite playing in his 13th season. The Wilfs are going the extra mile to put a quality product on the field.

  • If not for the end of the current collective bargaining agreement and the elimination of the salary cap, it is unlikely the Vikings could have re-signed Favre and been able to make the trade for Moss and fit under the 2010 salary cap.

  • Moss will be an NFL rarity if he comes to the Vikings and plays the entire season. He has the opportunity to start 17 games in 2010 – the four he has already played with New England and the 13 remaining games for the Vikings.

  • Do you think the national interest in the Vikings-Patriots game will go up if the Moss deal is completed and, two weeks after the deal, he returns to suburban Boston to play against Tom Brady and his former teammates?

  • The first indication that the Vikings and Patriots have likely finalized a deal was that the Vikings traded defensive end Jayme Mitchell to the Cleveland Browns for an undisclosed draft pick in 2012 – the sentiment being that was how the Vikings would open a roster spot to bring Moss on to the 53-man roster.

  • Over the last eight years, Favre has been incredible coming out of bye weeks. He has completed 69 percent of his passes and thrown 16 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Those totals give him a sparkling passer rating of 109.2 in those games.

  • Favre may be telling Zygi Wilf and Brad Childress that, if they give him Moss, he won't require anything for his 41st birthday, which comes on Sunday. One has to wonder if Favre imagined 10 years ago that he would spend the night of his 41st birthday in a hotel in New York City getting ready to play a prime time football game.

    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.

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