Trying to get comments from Randy Moss are always difficult. When he came to the NFL, he had a chip on his shoulder for being dissed by the league on draft day and passed over by 19 teams -- the Bengals opted out twice.
When he became a star, he had problems with the deluge of attention that the NFL suddenly placed on him with a marketing emphasis on his ability. It seemed at the national level, everybody loved Moss. So did the Vikings fans. But getting a lengthy interview with Moss for the local media was like getting an audience with Usama bin Laden. Chances are it wouldn't happen.
However, as the Vikings fortunes have changed, so, it would seem, has the perception of Moss. It began last year, when ESPN noted that Moss took plays off that weren't designed for him. It got worse this year when the same ESPN program showed clearly that, on a fourth-down run that failed to pick up a first down and killed any chance of a Vikings win over Chicago was directly at fault to Moss, who did nothing and allowed his defender to slide down the line and make the tackle.
It got still worse when Moss openly claimed he doesn't play hard on every play and only gives his best effort when he really wants to. It came full circle when Vikings fans booed him lustily in a home loss to Chicago and he told Tennessee media Wednesday of the Minnesota media, "I think people around Minneapolis are jealous because I don't give them the time of day or the pleasure of interviewing me."
While few of us would ever consider an interview with Moss to be that big of a pleasure to begin with, his "me-first" attitude has had a ripple effect and fueled the speculation that Dennis Green will get fired.
In the past, Green has made a point to clamp down on players whose conduct is detrimental to the team -- even forcing Cris Carter to become apologetic to the media following the first Chicago game -- a tape that looked as heartfelt as the Elian Gonzalez video. Yet, Moss is given free reign to say what he wants, regardless of how it affects the team.
If Green doesn't bring his star under wraps soon, it may cost him his job. You can't let a player become bigger than the team and, by doing nothing when Moss pops off and say stupid things like he has in recent weeks, it reflects bad on everyone. That job starts at the top, and it's time for Green to muzzle Moss before it's too late for Green to repair the damage.
MORE THURSDAY NOTES
* Daunte Culpepper continues to confound most of us with his statements about playing Sunday. He said he's getting better, but the team has confidence in Todd Bouman and he's taking all the snaps in practice. While he wants to play, he also thinks it may be better for the team if he rests his ailing knee a week. While technically still a gametime decision, VU has been told it would be surprising if Culpepper doesn't start, but that Bouman will likely see action quickly if things don't go well for Daunte Sunday.
* The injury report was released with Culpepper, Jim Kleinsasser (ankle) and Willie Howard (knee) listed as questionable and Ed McDaniel (ankle), Calvin Collins (calf), Dave Dixon (calf), Brad Badger (toe), Nate Jacquet (quadriceps), Jim Nelson (quadriceps) and Chris Hovan (ankle) listed as probable.
* On the Titans injury front, Steve McNair is still suffering from an injured left elbow and backup Neil O'Donnell took all the snaps with the first team in Wednesday's practice, although the Titans aren't counting out McNair's chances of playing Sunday.
* Mike Tice is on the top of a short list of coaches to take over the vacant Vanderbilt head coaching job.
* VU would like to salute former Viking Jason Fisk. Along with Robert Griffith and 28 other NFL players, Fisk was named Tennessee's Community Man of the Year this week, which comes with a $1,000 award for charitable donation. He opted to give his check to Korey's Crew in honor of former teammate Korey Stringer -- a class act other players (you know who we're talking about) could take a cue from.
Moss Becoming Big Problem for Green
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