Moss Practices, Team Hopeful

While not being as cheeky with his verbal or non-verbal commentary Friday, Randy Moss returned to practice and looked ready to let his play do his talking Sunday vs. the Eagles.

For the first time since the fourth quarter of last Sunday's game, the best news concerning Randy Moss was that he practiced Friday – and looked pretty good.

Moss, who had a flare-up of an ankle injury that has bothered him since his rookie season, looked ready to go Friday. Whether the weather in Philly changes that – expected to be party sunny and 30 degrees – could go a long way to determining whether the Vikings can give the Eagles a fight or not.

But, if nothing else, seeing him playing and not talking may be a good thing all the way around.

* The Vikings (and the Rams, Jets and Colts) face some long odds heading on the road in the divisional round of the playoffs. While at least one road team has won in the wild-card round every year since 1992, in the divisional round, home teams have a record of 45-11 since 1990.
* When the Eagles take the field Sunday, it will be the first time in 42 days that many of their key players have seen meaningful action.
* In the last two Vikings games, Daunte Culpepper has been the team's leading rusher in both.
* In last Sunday's win, Michael Bennett and Onterrio Smith combined to rush 20 times for just 69 yards.
* VU has been told that linebacker Jeremiah Trotter is going to be assigned as a "spy" for Culpepper.
* In other Philly news getting to VU, don't expect them to go after Antoine Winfield. If that's the case, their already-weakened pass offense will be reduced to two-thirds of the field.
* Philly's Lito Sheppard made a name for himself this year for his aggressive man-to-man coverage. Look for the Vikes to take a few shots at him in those formations where he's locked one-on-one with no help over the top.
* How important is Brian Westbrook to the Eagles offense? In the one loss in which he played, he touched the ball nine times. In the 12 other games he played in – all wins – he averaged 20 touches.
* After his passing clinic last week, Culpepper has thrown for 5,001 yards this season.
* Winfield didn't practice Friday as a precautionary measure.
* The Vikings outscored the Eagles this season – the Vikes finishing sixth, while the Eagles finished eighth. But defensively, the Eagles finished tied for second, while the Vikings were 26th in points allowed.
* Westbrook may be the focal point of the offense, but not in close. He finished the year with just three rushing TDs, while backup Dorsey Levens scored four.
* Morten Andersen finished the 2004 season with a 81.8 field goal percentage. While that was the best of any kicker in the Tice Administration, it ranked 15th in the NFL this season.
* Remember when Denny Green said there was conspiracy of media types against him? Even three years after his departure, one of his alleged conspirators continues to base his columns on his disdain for Denny. Some Packer fans have let last week's loss go. Maybe after three years, it's time for some media types to find a new avenue for their anger.

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