Lurtsema's Reaction: Offense Is Fun Again

The quick-strike offense returned Sunday against Tennessee with an impressive stretch of 8 minutes, 48 seconds surrounding halftime. And Randy Moss was a big part of that.

Things are looking up again for the fans of the Minnesota Vikings. During a postgame radio show on WCCO with former Vikings coach Jerry Burns, Stu Voigt and Mike Max, I could sense the excitement in every caller's voice, and they all seemed to be saying the same thing: The offense is back. Even in the parking lot the fans seemed to have a certain sense of excitement after this 42-24 win over Tennessee.

They, too, had just seen quarterback Todd Bouman roll up 348 yards, four touchdowns passes, a 131.5 rating and not even come close to being sacked. And they saw a rookie running back named Michael Bennett rack up 113 yards on 16 carries, a whopping 7.1 yards-per-carry average, and two sweet touchdowns. Yes, memories of the last three years resurfaced.

I could best explain it this way: What everyone just saw was a quick-strike offense reappear. With 4:09 left in the first half and the Vikings trailing 10-7, everything in purple came to life. In the next 8:48, the Vikings scored three touchdowns, while the defense was shutting down the Titans with a three-and-out and a great defensive play by Lemanski Hall in which he not only caused a fumble but recovered it as well. The Vikings used up only 6:12 to rack up three touchdowns while the defense was only on the field for a mere 2:36.

Those are the kind of statistics and performances that the fans have been accustomed to since the acquisition of Randy Moss. As for the controversial Moss, what a game he had. On one occasion, when he had double-coverage in the end zone in the first quarter, the fans were on his case for not going up high to make a leaping grab on a well-thrown ball from Bouman. Fans do have the right to criticize and boo, but, remember, only believe half of what you see sometimes. Sometimes Moss' best plays are the ones he makes look so easy but in reality are very difficult to pull off. I present his basket catch in the third quarter for a 20-yard gain down the sideline. That ball, too, was thrown between tight double coverage, and the best way for Moss to make the grab and hang onto the ball was to not go airborne but stay on his feet with his hands close to his body to protect the ball and himself from the hit he knew was coming from the safety. Everyone witnessed that catch, as well, but the same setup from Moss on two different passes produced very different results. In this game of inches, had the defensive back on the first play not made a great play to swat the ball away, Moss may have had another touchdown instead of boos.

Those plays we can argue back and forth, but what we did see is flashes of the Minnesota Vikings team that went to the NFC Championship game two of the last three years. VU

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