Moss, Mixon Fined

After last Sunday's game, Vikings coach Mike Tice said the officiating crew in the Lions game had a "vendetta" against Randy Moss and the Vikings in general. Apparently, they have some stroke with the league office.

About the time Randy Moss' spike right in front of Mike Tice bounced up and hit Lions cornerback Dre Bly in the chest, a VU staffer said "Oh, oh. That's not good."

In the subsequent two seconds, a ref spotting the ball threw his flag -- 15 yards against the Vikes. As it turned out, it was 15 yards and 5 grand.

While the same VU staffer agreed with the penalty call, he was willing to admit that Moss wasn't doing anything to show up Bly -- he was trying to put a fire under his coach and teammates. It was only after two muggings of Moss later that it was understood that this crew had no love lost for the Vikes.

As Paul Harvey is wont to say, the rest of the story was interesting to say the least. This was the same officiating crew that was present when Moss squirted a ref with a water bottle in the playoff loss to the Rams in 1999. It was also the same the crew that the NFL league office admitted boned a half-dozen fourth quarter calls last year when the Vikings got hosed at Lambeau Field. It was the same crew that Mike Tice risked a fine from by saying after the game this ref crew had a vendetta out for Moss and the Vikings as a team.

So, it should have come as no surprise when the league hit Moss with a $5,000 fine for the spike. While we at VU had no problem with the penalty call -- the ref spotting the ball was running up and saw what he saw -- for the league to fine Moss for the play is absurd.

Moss isn't likely to appeal the fine. Why? It was expected and almost anticipated. Hopefully, that crew won't get any more Vikings game this season -- much less playoff games.

* Vikings DE Kenny Mixon was also fined $5,000 for a league-deemed flagrant hit on Lions QB Joey Harrington. The hit, which gave the Lions a first down in the second quarter, was a helmet-to-helmet hit, but not intended. But, with that crew, what would you expect from a pig but a grunt?
* The Vikes are looking to break a long-term Rams home winning streak. The Rams have won 11 straight home games, dating back to a Sept. 29, 2002 loss at home to the Cowboys.
* The Rams are averaging 33-1/2 points a game at home this season.
* The best thing the Vikings defense could have going into Sunday is that Rams QB Marc Bulger has been hideous in November. So far this month he has thrown four TD passes and been picked off 10 times. The Vikes lead the NFL in interceptions.
* The Vikings are averaging six yards per play on offense -- the best mark in the NFL.
* Rams RB Marshall Faulk needs two touchdowns to tie the late, great Walter Payton for sixth on the all-time NFL list for touchdowns in a career.

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