A year later, the dance remains the same … pretty much.
For the third straight season, the Vikings lost to the New York Giants, a humbling 34-13 blowout that wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Following the game, coach Mike Tice briefly read a laundry list of things the team did wrong — he had plenty of viable material on that count.
At one point, Tice even played the "Us Against the World" card by telling the assembled media "you guys will have plenty to write about tomorrow. I'm very happy for you."
The truth is that the fans and, for the most part, the media isn't against the Vikings. The reality of playing without Randy Moss hit home Sunday — in both locker rooms.
VU was told Sunday by a beat writer for the Giants that Tom Coughlin or other higher-ups in the Giants organization are going to inquire about Moss' upgrading to probable. Following the game, Coughlin was asked about the Moss scenario and he said that he was told Moss had practiced Thursday and Friday — his upgrade to probable spoke to that. He added that, as a result, his defense was planning accordingly.
Some have said Tice hasn't been forthcoming about the status of Moss. Others have criticized using up a roster spot for a player that is only active to keep a games-played streak going. With a player needed to be cut to allow Onterrio Smith to return to the active roster, at least one NFL career has been put on the back burner.
Don't be surprised to hear the NFL is going to express an interest in an accurate Moss assessment next week and beyond. The implication VU has heard is that a complaint is going to be heard and, when New York speaks, the NFL listens.
* By some miracle, the Vikings kept their record streak of 36 straight games with 300 yards of total offense intact Sunday. The team didn't hit the 300-yard mark until just three minutes remained in the game.
* Perhaps even more shocking to those who saw the game, the Vikes continued their record-setting streak of 17 straight games averaging more than 4 yards per rushing attempt. That record remained by fluke alone. On three of the last four rushing plays — a 9-yard run by Mewelde Moore, an 8-yard reverse to Nate Burleson and an 11-yard scramble by Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings had just 65 yards on 17 carries. Those last three plays kept the streak going.
* The Vikings defense had five sacks despite very few blitzes. Convinced the line could dominate the Giants, the defense used more coverage designs and, despite the outcome, got to Kurt Warner early and often.
* Linebacker Raonall Smith suffered his second concussion in three weeks Sunday — which is a situation that will likely be monitored closely as Chris Claiborne looks to return to the field.
* VU has been told the most likely candidate to be cut when the team reinstates Onterrio Smith is center Billy Conaty. While a valued role player, with Cory Withrow ready to return, it's unlikely the Vikings would keep three centers on the active roster.
Sorting Through The Giant Letdown
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