Timing is everything, and the timing this last week for Randy Moss has been about as off as it could be.
Following his arrest Tuesday and subsequent finding of marijuana in his car, word has surfaced that Moss is part of the league's substance abuse program.
It was reported this weekend, that, following the death of Korey Stringer, Moss was tested as part of the league's drug testing policy and tested positive for marijuana.
The reason word of this was not reported earlier was because a "first-strike" is not public information by the tightly-guarded league substance abuse policy. Teams that report first-time abuses are subject to substantial fines -- told to VU to be as much as $500,000 -- by the NFL.
However, a second infraction becomes not only part of the public record, but qualifies for an automatic four-game suspension. Once a player has reached that stage, he can be suspended for up to or more than one year, as in the famous cases like Leon Lett and, more recently, Dale Carter. In Carter's case, the testing includes alcohol. His latest suspension, which is still ongoing more than eight games after the start of the preseason, was simply for having what was termed as "three or four beers" after signing his contract with the Saints.
The question now being asked is when did the NFL test Moss and how long does it take for those results to be made public? While his case initially was termed merely a traffic violation, the discovery of marijuana wasn't made public until later Tuesday. Moss was in jail Tuesday and until early Wednesday afternoon, where it was said he refused to take a drug test for police. He had no such option with the NFL, but it is likely that the test wasn't taken until Thursday at the earliest.
Moss has strongly denied any connection with the marijuana found in his vehicle and made a cryptic reference to himself and the NFL's drug policy during his statement to the media Thursday. Some have speculated that, if Moss was tested Thursday, the results would have been in before Sunday's game. However, because of the secrecy surrounding the NFL's drug testing procedure, it's unclear where Moss' sample was taken or how long the turnaround is to get the results back.
While VU is taking Moss at his word that he won't test positive when the results are in, the fact that he is in the program, faces random drug testing throughout the season and in the off-season and faces a four-game suspension if he ever does test positive has to be a concern to the Vikings -- who have built an offense to try to maximize his skills as a receiver.
* The Vikings had to do some shuffling in the linebacker corps. With Henri Crockett already out, Lemanski Hall may also be sidelined after suffering a high ankle sprain early in the game. High ankle sprains are especially painful and prevent a player from cutting on turf -- a necessity for a linebacker. Later in the game, Jim Nelson was also injured, forcing the Vikings to play Antonio Wilson -- re-signed last week after being released to make room for Gary Anderson.
* Sunday was the first time in four regular-season games that the Vikings allowed a touchdown on their first defensive drive. Seattle ended up scoring the first six times it had the ball.
* In a change in policy, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who had the spent the first three games calling plays from the sideline, was moved up into the coaches booth. Ironically, during the first quarter, the headsets that provide communication from coaches upstairs down to the field, didn't work on the Vikings sideline -- leaving Linehan out of communication with his position coaches and offensive players.
* In the four opening drives for the Vikings this year, they have had two drives of three-and-out, one drive with just one first down and the other ended in an interception.
* Shaun Alexander is murder on Sunday nights. A year ago, he ran for 266 yards and four touchdowns vs. Oakland on a Sunday night game and, after being limited to no more than 37 yards in a game over the first three losses for Seattle, he had consecutive carries of 43 and 20 yards in the first quarter, two touchdowns and 81 yards in the first quarter and three touchdowns in the span of 1:05 of the second quarter.
* A defense hopes to keep the opponent from gaining 300 yards in an entire game. The Seahawks put up 332 yards in the first half alone against the Vikings.
* Moss had nowhere to hide. When he caught passes Sunday, he was booed loudly by Seahawks fans. They jeered even more loudly when he dropped four potential touchdown passes in the second half and, for much of the third quarter, taunting chants of "Ra-a-a-a-an De-e-e-e-e" eminated down from the stands.
* For the second time in three games, Daunte Culpepper's on-field thinking came into question. With the Vikings trying to put up a late score, he called a time out with 2:01 to play -- which made no sense since the clock would have stopped at the two-minute warning anyway. Two weeks ago, Culpepper burned a time out with 2:04 to play vs. Buffalo, which some credited as giving the Bills enough time to mount a final drive to send the game to overtime.
* Sunday was the 12th straight road loss for the Vikings and their eighth straight loss dating back to last season -- a franchise record for losing.
Moss In Drug Testing Program
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