For the first year of the post-Randy Moss era, many Vikings fans were of the belief that the Vikings got fleeced by the Raiders when they got just one first-round pick, a seventh-rounder and linebacker Napoleon Harris in exchange.
They may have had a point. For the seventh overall selection, Williamson looked like he barely understood the NFL game, while Harris spent much of the year injured and, despite playing in 15 games and making three starts in 2005, finished the season with just 20 tackles and one sack.
Harris had what may have been his coming out party Sunday against the Panthers. After the coaches re-evaluated the game film, Harris was credited with 12 tackles -- tying a career high set when he was with the Raiders in 2003 in a game against the Chargers.
Harris was viewed by many as a potential candidate to be released due to lack of production in 2005 and a $1.6 million cap number for this season. But the Vikings coaching staff never gave up on him and he came up big -- of his 12 tackles, none were bigger than a third-down blitz at the Vikings 1-yard line that snuffed what looked to be a potential game-winning touchdown drive for the Panthers in the second half of the Vikes' overtime win.
Harris seems much more comfortable in his middle linebacker position and, after having his career questioned ever since the trade from the Raiders, Harris showed that he does belong in the NFL as a starter and has given fans reason to re-think the Moss trade ... at least for this week.
* The other component of the Moss trade did his part. Despite playing through a shoulder injury, Williamson posted his first 100-yard game of his career -- with all the catches coming after halftime. His 30-yard, one-handed catch in overtime set up the Vikings' winning field goal and, after a rocky start with three drops in the opener, Williamson is starting to look like the No. 1 receiver the Vikings expected he would be.
* Erasmus James is expected to be placed on injured reserve this week with a torn left ACL and will likely have surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala. at some point in the next week or so. James is the third defensive starter to be lost for the season, joining Chad Greenway and Tank Williams. Both of those players had their surgeries performed by Andrews, so it is expected that James will be the unfortunate third leg of that trifecta.
* Darrion Scott, who started 15 games last year, mainly filling in after Kenechi Udeze was lost for the season with an ACL tear in the third game of the 2005 season, could get the starting nod in place of James. Rookie Ray Edwards will also see his playing increase as a result.
* The Vikings haven't announced their plans for who will take James' roster spot, but there has been some talk that the team might be interested in Michael Haynes, a first-round pick of the Bears in 2003 who is still on the market.
* Former Viking Koren Robinson is working with the first-team Packers offense in practice this week and is expected to see playing time this week with the Packers offense.
* Daunte Culpepper's struggles in Miami continue, but they may not be all his fault. Just two games into the regular season, the Dolphins were down to their fourth right guard -- Bennie Anderson -- Sunday and he got hurt, which means a fifth different right guard will be in front of Pepp next weekend.
* In other O-line news, the Seahawks might be regretting not slapping the franchise tag on Steve Hutchinson. His replacement, Pork Chop Womack, is expected to miss up to six weeks with an injury -- leaving a huge hole in what had been a team strength for years.
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