It's hard to believe that Randy Moss has had ankle problems since before he played his first NFL game. In fact, when Dennis Green told VU a month ago that Moss has been battling ankle problems since 1998, few of us gave it any credence.
The baffling part was, before last Sunday's story in the New York Times that quoted Green as saying Moss has a degenerative condition in his right ankle that may require exploratory surgery after this year, few of us believed it. We thought it was Green making excuses for Moss' less-than-stellar performance this year.
But, there may be more truth to the story than meets the eye. While nobody other than Green in the Times story -- not Moss or any team doctors or trainers -- has confirmed that his ankle problem is chronic or a degenerative condition, Moss admitted this week that his days of playing basketball are likely over, as he chooses to rest his ailing ankle in the offseason and set his sights on being the best football player he can be -- for $75 mil don't you figure he should?
However, in response to questions about the story, Moss told VU and other media types that he doesn't want to have any exploratory procedure. He understands that, if surgery will cure the problem, he'll have to go under the knife like so many other NFL players have, but he wants to get rehab and rest a shot first.
While no final decision will be made until after the season, it begs the question -- if Moss hadn't hurt his ankle playing basketball before the 1998 season, just how much better could he have been to date?
* Moss didn't looking gimpy Monday. He played so well, in fact, he was named the NFC Player of the Week -- the fourth time in his career Moss has won the honor, but the first time any Viking has won it (or perhaps even deserved it) this season.
* The matchup to watch Sunday? How will the Bears' attack stop the Vikings' pass game? The Bears are ranked dead last in the NFL in pass defense. They're No. 1 in rush defense, but seeing as the Vikings have all but abandoned the run this year, that doesn't seem like a big problem.
* Anthony Thomas is still a question mark for the Bears backfield Sunday. He's been fighting a hamstring and toe injury and it has showed. In his last two games, he has gained just 103 yards on 45 carries trying to play through the injury. It won't help his mood to know that the Vikings have allowed just 135 rushing yards in their last two home games vs. the Packers and Giants -- both acknowledged as better rushing teams than Chicago.
* The Vikings have won four straight home games and will need the fifth to reach .500 for the first time all season.
* From the "Shut Your Mouth" Department comes this: The NFL frowns on anyone backtalking the refs. Dennis Green has acknowledged it in the past, but apparently Michael Strahan can't get over his Monday humiliation at the hands of the double-teaming Vikings. After the game, he said he "needs to file assault charges" on Vikings blockers, who he claims the refs never saw hold him on almost every play. It didn't let up when he got home. He was still complaining about the officiating and when asked if his comments would result in a fine, he asked "What is this? The Third Reich?" Needless to say, the NFL likely won't take kindly to Hitler references, so Strahan had better get the checkbook out.
* Green is 14-5 in his coaching career vs. the Bears.
* A computer wizard or geek, depending on your point of view, named Jeff Sagarin does weekly rankings of all sports teams and, heading into this week's actions, he rates the Vikes as the 23rd best team in the NFL. He also says the NFC Central is the second-worst division in football, ahead of only the NFC East. In a myriad of numbers he spit out of his computer, he ranks the Bears as No. 3, followed by the Packers (9), Bucs (20), Vikes and Detroit (31).
* The Vikings are 6-6 under Green in games played the Sunday after a Monday night game.
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