The frustration of the Vikings loss yesterday to the Jets was obvious after the game. And, with a throng of New York media types salivating at writing a column wondering if Randy Moss had a Sharpie in his sock, Moss was, to his credit, subdued.
However, that doesn't mean that, once prodded, Moss wouldn't speak his mind. VU was there the last time Moss played at the Meadowlands. All that most people got from that post-game was a snippet of Moss saying, "I'm going to have a (Super Bowl) ring. It may not be with the Vikings, but I'm going to have one."
Much like his famous "I play when I want to play" remark, the comment was five seconds of 20 minutes of questioning – badgering the same point after, for the second time in three years, he smelled Super Bowl but didn't get a taste. So it was, following Sunday's loss, that Moss was in the spotlight. Hopefully, the rest of the media will interpret Moss' comments in the proper perspective as VU will.
When asked about the continuing offensive struggles, Moss told VU and others, "It's the same old, same old." If an offensive lineman or running back or even Mike Tice said that, it wouldn't be news. But, it's Randy Moss. Get the picture? About the only thing more interesting than a throwaway Moss comment is a TV talking head doing armchair psychology to explain the Washington D.C.-area sniper.
As expected, as long as Moss was talking, questions arose about Cris Carter's pending signing with Miami. Moss said the news would be seen favorably by several teams – which will get twisted in the national (a.k.a. New York) media. When asked if the Vikings offensive struggles against a team that had allowed everyone else to score 28 or more points was because Carter was gone, Moss told VU and others, "I'm not missing Cris Carter in any measure."
VU understood that comment to mean as Moss defending his teammates. Watch how it plays out nationally. "Moss Dogs Carter." We can smell the ink from here. Not true.
Many people on the inside of the Vikings believe that Todd Steussie's public stance on Moss' Super Bowl comments – a public calling out of the franchise player – contributed heavily to his release. At the time, if Steussie had seen what VU saw with the barrage of questions being thrown his way, he likely wouldn't have reacted as he did.
Whether it gets played up in the Twin Cities media or not, Moss was nothing but a gentleman after the game. What is read into his remarks should be taken with the grain of salt that most stories should be taken. Read what is in between the quotation marks on Moss comments. Then imagine the San Francisco 49ers at 1-5 and Joe Montana or Steve Young being attributed those comments. They made them in the rare times the Niners struggled on their watch.
Moss even acknowledged to VU's satisfaction, the death of the Randy Ratio. He spoke about being constantly doubled, saying "someone has to be open" and that those guys need to make plays. Moss also said that the playoffs are not even on the radar for this team. He's right. Those of us around the Vikings speculated that after the Buffalo and Carolina losses. Just remember, this isn't Cincinnati. Things will get better.
MONDAY NOTES A'PLENTY
** While coach Mike Tice removed rookie Nick Rogers from the lineup Sunday, he reiterated after the game that he intends to start Rogers the rest of the season.
** Prior to getting a field goal on the opening drive of the game Sunday, the Jets hadn't scored on their first possession all season. The Vikings have yet to score on their first possession and three of the six opening possessions have resulted in interceptions.
** With 3:13 to play in the first quarter, the Jets held a time of possession edge of 11:35 to 12 seconds. Yet the score was just 3-0 – just another source of frustration for the Vikes.
** The Vikings had a season-best 18-play drive that stretched between the first and second quarters. The fact the drive came up empty is seemingly par for the course in recent weeks.
** In the first half of Sunday's game, the Jets had three drives, which lasted 7:27, 4:08 and 6:31.
** LT Lewis Kelly has six false start penalties – most of any left tackle in the NFL. And that doesn't take into account that the Vikings have already had a bye week and that Kelly didn't play in the season opener.
** Through three quarters of Sunday's game, Jets QB Drew Pennington competed 20 of 23 passes for 272 yards. He finished the game 24 of 29 and his 82.8 percent completion percentage is the best in team history.
** A Moss hit 100 yards Sunday, but it was Santana, not Randy. The Vikings' Moss didn't make his first reception until there was 5:35 left in the third quarter. For Santana Moss, it was the first 100-yard game of his pro career.
** In the last two weeks, the Vikings have faced two quarterbacks making their second NFL start. Both have torched the Vikings defense for more than 300 passing yards.
** Tice deflected criticism of calling a time out after scoring in the fourth quarter to make the score 20-6. Any chart would tell a coach that, down 14 points, a two-point conversion would still leave two touchdowns behind. After the time out, the Vikings kicked the extra point, but that one lays at the coach's door.
** A certain 125-year old Twin Cities columnist spent much of Sunday acting as a personal apologist for the Vikings struggles. Apparently he's doing his part to offer balanced coverage – or he's gone blind.
** After the game, Tice said that 20 percent of the players "were nervous." Forgive VU's editorializing, but nervous is asking a girl out for a first date. The "N" in NFL doesn't stand for nervous and, if 20 percent of the team is nervous, 100 percent of them should be cut.
** The Vikings have 20 giveaways this season – most of any NFL team. If that stat alone isn't bad enough, 12 of the league's 32 teams haven't even had their bye week yet.
Moss Speaks. Do You "Listen?"
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