Word Games Continue With Moss

Whether the Vikings are playing it coy or really don't know how much Randy Moss will play on Sunday, head coach Mike Tice is determined to keep the New York Giants guessing about the status of the star wide receiver.

Even when he plays only two snaps and doesn't have a pass thrown his way, Randy Moss is a hot topic of conversation.

Less than 24 hours after the Vikings beat Tennessee 20-3 without Moss, one of the main questions Monday was whether Moss' strained right hamstring will allow him to play a legitimate role against the Giants on Sunday.

Vikings coach Mike Tice said Moss "strained that hamstring again" against the Titans. But that could be part of Tice's ploy to gain a tactical edge on the Giants. Moss played only two snaps, didn't have a ball thrown his way and didn't run hard on either play.

"Hopefully Randy will progress more this week and we'll be able to use him in an active role, in a real role, at least in the red zone," Tice said. "I don't anticipate he'll be at speed enough to play his normal role, which is every play of the game and every situation."

Tice admitted playing mind games with the Titans last week when it came to Moss' injury.

"Were they token plays so he can keep his streak (of games played) going? Probably," Tice said. "Was it a mind game with Tennessee so they couldn't tell how good he was or how bad he was? Probably. Did we introduce him so the crowd could go wild? Probably."

Moss probably won't practice Wednesday, but Tice hasn't ruled it out.

"We need him back," Tice said. "But we're not going to be dumb about it."

  • Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell's theme for a speech to his players Saturday night was "Enough is enough." After giving up 59 points and 795 yards the previous two weeks, the Vikings gave up 243 yards and only three points. The defense intercepted three passes.

    "This was huge," free safety Brian Russell. "We've heard the people criticize and worry about our defense. We really didn't think it was justified. A lot of those points and yards the past two weeks came in games we won, where the other teams were in shootout mode because our offense is so prolific."

  • RB Moe Williams, who has battled a calf strain the entire season, strained his left quadriceps on Sunday. He should be able to play this week against the Giants.

  • OL Adam Goldberg, who saw considerable action as a tackle-eligible extra blocker on Sunday, sprained his right knee and ankle. Don't be surprised if the Vikings go with Adam Haayer as their utility backup tackle and guard. Haayer and Goldberg are basically on the same ability level.

  • C Matt Birk said he won't miss any time because of a mild concussion. He missed half of the fourth quarter Sunday. Backup C Billy Conaty replaced him.

  • C Cory Withrow, who usually backs up Matt Birk, will rest his knee another week. The Vikings feel comfortable with Conaty backing up Birk.

  • LB Chris Claiborne (calf) will miss another game. The Vikings are moving on without him because third-year pro Raonall Smith finally is performing the way the Vikings thought he would when they drafted him in the second round.

  • RB Michael Bennett is back from his knee injury, but the Vikings don't need him. Rookie Mewelde Moore has back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, and his 610 total net yards from scrimmage the past three games is a team record for three consecutive games.

    "Mike has to earn his way back into the fold," Vikings coach Mike Tice said. "I read someone wrote it's just a matter of time before Mike Bennett starts. I don't think I would print that if I were any of you guys."

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