Mewelde Moore was already having a solid training camp, earning the praise of head coach Brad Childress even before Taylor and Peterson got banged up in workouts earlier this week.
“I think on offense the guy that probably gets overlooked, Mewelde [Moore)] has had an excellent camp,” Childress said. “He really has, and you see him pop out here and do a couple of things today but he has done everything we’ve asked him to do and then some. He just keeps his nose to the grindstone there and he wants to be a good football player, and again I've seen him do some different things in terms of holding landmarks in his course integrity. He has improved in that area.”
Holding landmarks in his course integrity? It’s hard to accuse Childress of not being forthcoming with the media these days when he offers that kind of technical observation.
Quite frankly, we’re not entirely sure what that means, but we think it has something to do with Moore maintaining discipline during his runs within the framework of the play’s design. At least that’s our best guess.
Taylor and Peterson will be back, so it still remains to be determined what role Moore is going to have in the offense this season.
A year ago it seemed like Moore would be a nice fit for the new West Coast Offense that Childress was bringing. For whatever reason, he wasn’t utilized very often in the running game, with the decision to go almost exclusively with Taylor as the workhorse.
After 65 carries for 379 yards (5.8 avg.) as a rookie, he had started eight games in 2005 and rushed 155 times for 662 yards (4.3 avg.) and one touchdown. But last year his carries from scrimmage dropped to just 24 for 131 yards (5.5 avg.). However, Moore did have career-high numbers as a pass receiver out of the backfield in the WCO, with 46 receptions for 468 yards (10.2 avg.) and one TD, with five plays of 20 yards or more and two for 40 yards or more.
Moore is indeed a very complete all-around running back who would seem to have all the tools to excel in the Childress system. The knock on Moore under Mike Tice was more about his durability or inability to play through minor injuries.
If he can overcome that, and continue to impress Childress with his ability to “hold landmarks in his course integrity” he will be hard to keep out of the rotation.
Another intriguing factor for Moore is that this is his fourth pro season. As a result he has the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent next year. While it’s going to be hard for Moore to get a lot of touches if both Taylor and Peterson are healthy, he has maintained a very positive, team-oriented attitude, which will not go unnoticed when he hits the free agent market a year from now.
In the meantime, Moore’s versatility and talent are a welcome presence for the Vikings.
“It’s always important that you make the most of the turns that you get,” Childress said. “When opportunity knocks, you really have to make the most of it. He has had a very nice training camp, kind of a quiet training camp but you've seen him get incrementally better in all the things that he does from pass protection to looking at that run game.”