Hall of Fame candidate Cris Carter sees a fantasy lineup on the Vikings roster right now.
The acquisition of Randy Moss, Carter's teammate for four years (1999-2004), had Carter speaking glowingly of the Vikings offense.
"The ability to be able to run (Adrian Peterson) out of a one-back set with three receivers on the field, and in four or five weeks those receivers being (Sidney Rice), Visanthe Shiancoe, Percy Harvin and Randy Moss, this is like fantasy football," Carter said Wednesday.
Carter should know something about that. In 1998, Carter's Vikings broke the NFL record (at the time) for points scored in a season when he, Moss, Jake Reed, Robert Smith and teammates scored 556 points. Eight of their ten Pro Bowler players that year were on offense. Ten years later, in 2007, Moss was part of the New England Patriots team that broke the record with 589 points.
Carter believes Moss' presence will make others better in their knowledge of the game and open up defenses by attracting more coverage his way.
"Percy Harvin is a slot receiver with elite speed. He's going to get better instantly. Shiancoe, I wish you could double cover him. What are you going to do, single cover Randy Moss? So Shiancoe is going to get single coverage," Carter said. "Bernard Berrian, he can concentrate on being a deep threat down the field where he's probably most effective compared to running intermediate routes and quick slants. And Brett Favre has the ability to be able to get the ball to whoever has the best coverage."
Vikings coach Brad Childress said Moss will be moved around in the offense, and Percy won't be just limited to duty in the slot. But there is no question that Moss' deep speed will be an asset.
Carter said that when Moss first came to the Vikings in 1998 he had 4.2-second speed in the 40-yard dash and he still believes he can run it in 4.3 seconds.
One of the major questions now is how quickly Moss can be incorporated in the Vikings' West Coast offense. Carter had an answer for that too, saying the Vikings' Dennis Green-designed offense in 1998 was a combination of Bill Walsh's West Coast offense from the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Gibbs' power running game from the Washington Redskins.
"We were groomed as players under (former offensive coordinator) Brian Billick. We had pieces of the West Coast offense and we have watched hours and hours of the West Coast offense, so that we got a better understanding of what the coaches meant," Carter said, acknowledging that Favre could make it easy on Moss.
"Randy has an extremely high football IQ. And the West Coast offense, they can call a play like ‘Far right, scat left, 225, wide hook,' and as Brett would say it – Brett's always called you ‘Bro' – Brett would be like, ‘Bro, run a post.' When you have a quarterback like Brett and someone like Randy, Randy understands offensive concepts."
Carter said the 1998 Vikings are always given credit as a passing team, but he said they wouldn't have been as effective doing that if they didn't have Robert Smith and Leroy Hoard running the ball and keeping defenses somewhat honest. Since leaving the Vikings, Moss hasn't been paired with an elite runner.
In 2005, LaMont Jordan led the Patriots with 1,025 yards and averaged 3.8 yards per carry. In 2006, Justin Fargas had 659 yards and a 3.7-yard average. With the Patriots in 2007, Laurence Maroney had 836 yards and a 4.5-yard average. The following year, Sammy Morris had 727 yards and a 4.7-yard average. And last year Maroney had 757 yards and a 3.9-yard average.
It's been since 2002 and Michael Bennett's career year of 1,296 yards since Moss has been paired with a 1,200-yard rusher and Pro Bowler runner. Robert Smith was also a Pro Bowler in 1998 and 2000 with Moss on the team.
Adrian Peterson has been a Pro Bowler each of his first three seasons in the league, but he came into the league two years after Moss was traded to Oakland.
"There's a Moss effect no matter where he goes. Randy has not had a great running game since the running game we had in Minnesota. People give us a lot of credit for scoring points and throwing the ball, but the one thing we prided ourselves on was running the ball effectively with Robert Smith, Leroy Hoard, whoever we had at running back out of a three-receiver set," Carter said.
"Adrian Peterson, the only way you're stopping him right now, the way he's focused, is jam the box. … Unless they are changing the rules and let them play like Tennessee with 13 guys on the field, this offense is going to be tough to deal with."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Carter sees fantasy team with Moss on Vikings
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