The Vikings have their press conferences at the same time as player availability in the locker room, creating multiple quotes emanating simultaneously and not always with the same message. Such was the case during a tense Wednesday press conference with Brad Childress and players trying to add context.
It was A Tale of Two Rooms at Winter Park Wednesday, a much less classic story than A Tale of Two Cities, but well-crafted nonetheless. On one side of the facility, Brad Childress, a historian at heart, was caught somewhere in between Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon during his Wednesday press conference. He defended his right to look out for the best interest of his troops, but, lacking a Deep Throat type of source to give clarity to the many unanswered questions, his fan approval ratings – typically based on a scale of 1 to 100 – are Nixonian figures closer to the scores handed out on by judges on "Dancing With the Stars."
Without getting into specifics, apparently with both the media and his players, the exodus of Moss was the "take a deep breath and rip off the tape" approach to roster management. Get him out. Get him out fast. As the general (at the moment, not everyone likes Ike), Childress made a command decision. He has to answer to 52 other players. Check that. 51. Whatever Moss did – we have an embittered caterer, but, more importantly, a player that broke ranks and spoke his mind – it was enough for Childress to have a "That's it!" moment.
On the other side of Winter Park, players were dodging the questions about their feelings on Moss being a former Vikings after less than a month with the team. It was awkward at best.
The one comment from the players side that struck home was when Greg Camarillo
said the distractions the Vikings have faced are part of being a "high profile" franchise. It has been a long time since the Vikings have been in that category, but it is clear that the Vikings – for better or worse – are in that category. Teams like Tampa Bay and Kansas City are at the top of their respective divisions, but are toiling in obscurity while the Vikings, struggling at 2-5, are dominating the headlines on a daily basis.
It will be interesting to see if the distractions that have plagued the team all season will continue. To date, the Vikings haven't done well under the weight of being a high-profile team on the Super Bowl short list. Maybe the exodus of Moss will end the drama (for the short-term anyway) and the Vikings can get back to doing what they're supposed to do – stringing together some wins.
The Vikings will be in unfamiliar territory when they have a noon local time start Sunday (with an extra hour of sleep thanks to daylight savings time ending) against the Cardinals. The Vikings have had only two noon Central Time games, including none in the last four. However, eight of their remaining nine games will be noon starts, including the next six, as long as they aren't one of the teams forced to move with a flexed schedule.
The Vikings have lost five of seven games, but haven't lost their sense of humor. While Tarvaris Jackson was being interviewed Wednesday, there was a person hidden in among the reporters waiting for his chance to ask a question. When a lull in the questioning came, a voice boomed out asking how his hamstring felt after his long scramble late in the New England game. Who was the questioner? None other than Brett Favre.
Both Favre and Harvin missed practice Wednesday. They're running out of lines on the injury report to detail why Favre will likely be listed as questionable for next week. He was listed as missing practice with foot, ankle and chin injuries, not even mentioning the elbow tendinitis that has bothered him all season.
Perhaps the motivation of the Tennessee Titans to claim Moss was that deep threat Kenny Britt is expected to miss 6-8 weeks due to injury.
The Vikings were fortunate the Titans claimed Moss. Tennessee was the only team to put in a waiver claim on Moss. Had they held off, Moss would have become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with anyone for about $450,000 with the Vikings picking up the remainder of his $3.38 million left on his 2010 salary. By claiming in, Tennessee takes over his contract and the Vikings are off the hook in paying the remainder of his 2010 contract.