Being in the stadium as a spectator or media type, watching the sidelines can actually tell it all in good times and bad. Take Randy Moss (boy, it was good to see him back) going out of his way to give Jose Cortez encouragement after kicking the ball out of bounds with just over six minutes to go in the second quarter. Moss was signaling to him to forget about a play that can't be redone. The next time Cortez came off the field, with a little over five minutes to go in the third quarter, he had just kicked one into the end zone for a touchback. The crowd gave Cortez a huge ovation because, as we all know, the kicking game has been struggling.
Once again, there was Moss with a fun, unique smirk on his face. The smirk could have meant two things — he was happy seeing the ball kicked into the end zone, or it could have been a hangover from Moss making one of the greatest 2-yard TD catches I've seen in quite a while. Moss' touchdown was the grand finale to the opening drive of the second half, which went 16 plays in nine minutes, 26 seconds — the kind of a drive that contributes to being a consistent winner week after week. It was fun watching Cortez and Moss mix, but I got the biggest kick out of Moss and head coach Mike Tice when they gave their celebration with a little jump and chest thump, which looked like a mosquito hitting a semi-truck at 70 miles per hour.
Watching the defensive linemen was another pleasant observation, as I might be in the minority when I say it was one of their best games this season despite Fred Taylor running for 147 yards on 22 carries. But I truly feel that he probably is the most underrated running back in the league right now. Time and time again I saw the defensive linemen using their hands with total control to shed their blockers, and yet Taylor was making his moves as quick as the linemen could make theirs — and, believe me, Kevin Williams and Lance Johnstone were a joy to watch with their technique.
As most of you know, I like to watch line play, and that's why offensive line coach Steve Loney should be given a tremendous amount of credit for how well-prepared he had backup center Cory Withrow, right guard Adam Haayer and right tackle Adam Goldberg. They did an outstanding job while filling in for the usual starters. I heard some people wrongfully complaining about Goldberg getting beat on a sack that caused a fumble, but fans that don't watch line play shouldn't be too critical too fast. When a quarterback sets on a short drop, he should get rid of the ball quicker than what Daunte Culpepper did. Timing is so important in the National Football League, as was demonstrated on a huge fumble recovery and 77-yard run for a touchdown by Williams that was spurred by a great block from Antoine Winfield. Big things do come in small packages when it comes to Winfield's play this season.
It was fun being a fan today, making these observations as the Vikings beat a good football team with a fun group of athletes mixing it up on the sidelines and on the field.
Lurtsema's Reaction: Fun To Observe
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