Well. . .it's been quite a 48 hours, to say the least. What started out with Bill Simmons lighting a spark by screwing up on his Twitter account commenced yesterday with the Vikings re-acquiring Randy Moss from the New England Patriots for a third-round draft choice.
Let me get this part out of the way first. . .the site straight-up, flat out blew UP yesterday, which shouldn't be a surprised. For some perspective, prior to yesterday the biggest traffic day in the history of this site was, of course, Favregeddon. That day, the site did right around 16,000 hits.
Yesterday? Yeah. . .we doubled that. And then some. When the clock struck midnight on Mossapalooza, the exact count was 37,671 hits (32,900 unique hits, if any of you out there are website statistic nerds or anything) and 60,295 page views. Ted, Eric, and Skol Girl. . .which kind of sounds like a Kevin Smith movie title, but I digress. . .did an outstanding job here yesterday while I was running around on this end like a chicken that had just gotten its head separated from the rest of its body. So, obviously, the vast majority of the credit for what happened here yesterday goes to them.
So, now that everything is official and we have pictures and jerseys are on sale and all that other good stuff, everyone might have settled down a little bit and have slipped into some form of purple and gold afterglow.
Let's change that.The re-acquisition of Randy Moss has been a topic of speculation of numerous Viking fans ever since Red McCombs spitefully traded him to the Oakland Raiders on 1 March 2005. After all, Moss was. . .and is. . .a once in a generation talent, and after the Vikings dealt him away, they weren't going to be able to just go out and get him back. Right? Am I right, people? Seriously, just like you don't stand on Superman's cape and you don't simply walk into Mordor, you don't just go out and make a trade for a player like Randy Moss. Even at age 33, he's one of the most athletically gifted receivers in the National Football League. For crying out loud, last season was his 12th in the league, and he still averaged over 15 yards per catch and hauled in 13 touchdown passes, a figure that tied him for first in the NFL with Vernon Davis and Larry Fitzgerald in that department.
And now he's back in Minnesota. Back to the place that he never should have left. . .in a move that, prior to Tuesday night, nobody could have seen coming. Don't get me wrong, it seemed a bit suspicious at first that Moss went through a game that the Patriots won 41-14 without getting a single reception and only being targeted one time. But nobody could have had any idea that just a day or two after that, Randy Moss would be punching his ticket out of New England and coming back to Minnesota.
So what does this do for the Minnesota Vikings?
We know that the biggest deficiency in the Vikings' offense so far this season is the lack of a receiver that can truly stretch the field vertically. Someone that can open things up underneath for guys like Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe. Sidney Rice is supposed to be that guy, but nobody knows for sure when he's going to be ready, or if he's going to be at full strength when he gets back from rehabilitating his hip injury. Bernard Berrian is, allegedly, a deep threat, but he hasn't done anything of note all season, other than fumble fair catches on punts and not make an effort to break up passes he doesn't have a shot at catching. Without Rice in the lineup, Brett Favre doesn't have a guy out there that he trusts to "just go up and get it" when the going is getting rough.
So, the Vikings went out and got the best "just go up and get it" guy in the league. Possibly in the history of the league. And, in doing so, dramatically altered the face of their current offense. Bernard Berrian no longer has to masquerade as a number one guy. Percy Harvin can benefit from the same sort of ripple effect from Moss that Wes Welker got in New England. . .what, you think Welker averages 115 catches a year for the Patriots without Randy Moss drawing all sorts of coverage? I don't think he does.
Moss on the outside keeps a safety out of the box. . .which is one less guy that can get in Visanthe Shiancoe's way to keep Favre from getting him the ball. And speaking of keeping guys out of the box. . .how many eight-man fronts do you suppose Adrian Peterson is going to see from here on out? Not very many, I wouldn't think.
The Vikings got themselves a deep threat yesterday. They got themselves a jump ball threat. They got themselves a guy that, regardless of the claims that some defensive backs will make, can't be covered one-on-one. They got the guy that is, still, on the short list of the most dangerous wide receivers in the National Football League. In fact, there's only one wide receiver in the National Football League that's more dangerous than Randy Moss.
And that's "pissed off, chip on his shoulder, point to prove" Randy Moss.
Guess who's coming to Minnesota.
Don't let the long-winded jabbering of fans of the other NFC North teams fool you. . .this division is still up for grabs. We've seen the Packer defense get ripped to shreds by the Eagles and the Lions, and saw their complete lack of discipline exposed in their game against the Bears. And, hey, they couldn't cover the Vikings' receivers last year without Randy Moss. . .what in the blue hell, exactly, do they think they're going to do now? And that was before they lost two starting defenders in safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Nick "watch me dance around like an idiot after I make a stop for an eight-yard gain on third and six" Barnett. (Oh, and don't look now, but offensive tackle Mark Tauscher is hurting, too. That's what happens when you try to block NFL defensive ends when you're three or four years past your prime.)
And the Bears? Well, they. . .wait, hang on a minute. . .yes, I believe that Jay Cutler was just sacked again. We're talking about a team that got a victory over Detroit via referee's decision. . .yeah, Calvin Johnson caught that ball. . .and a team that beat Green Bay by a field goal only after the Packers committed approximately 206 penalties, at least half of which negated interceptions thrown by Cutler.
Have I mentioned that neither of those teams possess the ability to run the football? That should work out really well in Wisconsin and Illinois once we get to November and December, hey?
Folks, if the season was four weeks long, the Bears and Packers would both be in the playoffs and the Vikings would be extremely disappointed. But it's not. . .it's 17 weeks long, and each team gets to play 16 games. And yesterday, the game in the NFC North changed. . .big time.
And, if that's not enough. . .well, just picture Paul Allen saying this in your mind for a moment. . .maybe around Week 10 or 11 or so. . .
Favre brings the Vikings to the line. . .Shiancoe is the tight end, lined up next to McKinnie on the left side. . .Sidney Rice, wide left. . .Super Freak wide to the right with Percy in the slot next to him and Adrian Peterson lined up seven yards deep in the backfield. . .
Makes you awfully damn happy to not be an NFC North defensive coordinator, doesn't it?
The game has changed, ladies and gentlemen. Screw anyone that wants to tell you otherwise.