Another ego added to the pile. Another distraction chalked up on the board.
Here comes the schism. Here comes the free fall.
I'm sorry, but do we really need a fifth cliche' statement to muster a summary of what Randy Moss landing in Minnesota is going to mean? More importantly, do we all really have to be this morose about what is possibly the biggest in-season trade in NFL history?
Let's just calm down for a second, sit back, relax, and look at the positives that can (and will) rise out of this apparent mess that resides within the Minnesota Vikings.
All of those locker room issues, the Brett Favre vs. Brad Childress rumors, and the "Favre is washed up" talk can just take a back-seat. Because, like it or not, the addition of Randy Moss just might very well be the answer Favre and co. have been searching for.
But in order to show you how and why, we have to break it down a bit. Here are a few reactions, rumors, and opinions on the situation, with a response to each, yielding the fact that the addition of Randy Moss absolutely, positively, and undoubtedly, in this writer's mind, will help these Minnesota Vikings get back to the playoffs (and quite possibly much more).
Randy Moss is Still Randy Moss
People keep pointing to this guy as a distraction, but how quickly do we all forget just how dominant this 33-year old receiver still is? We're talking about the guy who holds the record for the most touchdowns as a rookie receiver (17), the most touchdowns in a single season (23), and has helped his team's to three championship games in his career.
All I keep hearing are comments about how Moss might have something left in the tank, or that this guy is anything but a top-five NFL wide receiver. And frankly, it's all simply ridiculous.
When Randy Moss is used, he's unstoppable. And when he's a decoy, his team can rattle off 41 points with him registering zero catches (see last Monday night). Whether he's succumbing to double teams or destroying them, there is no question Moss still has the size, speed, and play-making ability to match wits with any NFL corner (just ask Darrelle Revis), and can change any game he plays in.
In other words, anyone who doesn't think Moss can or will change the offensive make-up (and production) in Minnesota simply doesn't know much about Randy Moss.
Moss Will Help More Than He Will Hurt
That's not the popular consensus right now, but it will be. People tend to think that just because his numbers are down (due to lack of involvement), and because he wanted out of New England, that this guy can't, or is unlikely, to make a positive impact. They think it's too little, too late, and whatever he could bring to the table simply won't matter.
That's the talk of a Brett Favre/Minnesota/Randy Moss hater. Those are the words and thoughts of NFC North fans not cheering on the Minnesota Vikings. Those are the scripted words that NFL analysts are paid to read off of a screen.
The fact is, Moss is viewed as a bad boy, so until things go right, people just go with the knee-jerk reaction and assume everything he touches will turn to dust (i.e., go wrong).
True, his situation and productivity deteriorated in Minnesota, Oakland, and now even New England. But that wasn't before he made a very strong and very positive impact on all three teams.
In Minnesota, Moss was always a bad boy. He got into trouble, he was cocky, and he didn't care what anyone thought about him. But if that was all he did, this article wouldn't have a purpose.
Moss also changed the league, changed the NFC North, and changed the way fans in Minnesota thought about their franchise, especially with regard to the playoffs.
The Super Bowl wasn't a dream. It never came, but Minnesota was close twice, and extremely close in 1998, when a loss came by the leg of a kicker.
Moss was also a huge part of an unstoppable offense, and some very impressive Vikings teams. In fact, even when things were bad and he was shipped off to Oakland, he continued to play at a high level in Oakland, despite playing with a supporting cast nowhere near the type of talent he was used to playing with.
Then came New England, where he helped the Patriots produce the first 16-0 season, caught 23 touchdowns, and lost be three points in his first Super Bowl. Things appeared gravy for the next two seasons, helping the Patriots win at least 10 games in each of the past two seasons.
Needless to say, for all of his flaws, Moss isn't the team-wrecked that Terrell Owens has been. He's not the cancer he's painted as. He's simply an explosive talent that needs to be kept in check. And judging by history, that's not an impossible feat.
He Wants to Be in Minnesota, and Minnesota Wants Him
When he first left Minnesota, it was a different time, a different team, and an entirely different regime. He took the first ticket available, and much to his and many other's dismay, it ended up being in Oakland. While that didn't end well, the next team that wanted Moss reaped the benefits.
The case can be made once again that Moss is going to an organization that wants (and knows) him, and he has already expressed excitement and satisfaction about being accepted back into the franchise that made him the superstar he is today.
Brett Favre and Randy Moss Were Always Meant to Be
This has been years in the making. Sure, it's too late by history's standards. Brett Favre isn't 33. He's not in his prime, or at least, not in what regular society defines as prime. Moss is, however, and he's still just one year late from joining Favre in a historical (and magical) season.
With the addition of Moss, it's not too far-fetched to think that can happen again. That, and the sheer desire for both players wanting to play with each other, and finally getting their wish, will make this darn thing they call football fun again - for both of them.
Moss won't gripe about the money, at least not right away. He did so in New England because the Patriots weren't showing the love. And while it's possible the Vikings might do the same, they weren't the first to do it. In fact, they already showed how much they wanted him by trading for him, so a contract would simply be the icing on the cake.
Make no mistake, Moss wants to get paid, but with Favre and Adrian Peterson at his side, Moss may finally look to the Super Bowl as his top priority rather than simply cashing in. Then again, perhaps he'll get both. And perhaps he'll even eventually convince Favre that the two should continue playing together in Minnesota. After all, it took so long to pair the two together, it'd be foolish to cut ties after just one season, especially if the duo ends up being a match made in heaven.
Which obviously leads to...
Time is Running Out, and Moss and Minnesota Know It
Moss is 33, Favre is 40, and this is very likely the last chance the Minnesota Vikings (and both aforementioned stars) have to reach a Super Bowl. Not much more needs to be said. You can talk about money, egos, schisms, rumors, and crack jokes about either player all you want, but at the end of the day, they both (as well as the Vikings) want the same thing: the franchise's first NFL title.
The Pure, Honest, Truth
On paper, the potential roster the Vikings could put up against opposing defenses is beyond breath-taking. If Favre is even half the quarterback that he was in 2009, Moss should be able to elevate his game and energy to a point where Adrian Peterson and a solid defense can finish the job.
Without Moss or Sidney Rice, Favre has been relegated to working with his tight end, Visanthe Shiancoe, his only truly reliable receiver. However, once defenses figure out how to contain Shiancoe, Favre is out of any real options, outside of handing the ball of to Adrian Peterson.
That, combined with a leaky offensive line that caves at the worst times, a horrible (and I do mean horrible) wide receiver in Bernard Berrian, and the injuries and slow start from Percy Harvin, have led to the inept Vikings offense you see now.
Yes, Favre missing training camp clearly had some ill effects. Yes, he's forced the issue and has made some bad decisions, but Favre can't make his receivers faster, better off the jam out of their breaks, and fight for balls that are up for grabs.
The beauty of adding a player like Moss, is that Favre gets the type of weapon he fell in love with last year when he had Sidney Rice. The difference? Moss is better than Rice, and by a lot. Moss is faster, has more experience, and has shown throughout his career to be consistent and durable.
Moss will demand double teams, which will directly benefit Favre's other sub-par options. This will enhance these options, because they'll be easier to throw to, creating bigger plays. And of course, when Moss isn't the defense's main attention (and sometimes even when he is), he'll make the plays he's been traded for to make.
But it gets even better.
What happens when Sidney Rice gets healthy and lines up opposite of Moss? Suddenly, that old guy behind center in Minnesota is throwing to quite arguably the most talented receiving corps in the entire league. Suddenly, Brett Favre has the type of loaded offense that Peyton Manning has had for his entire career, that not so long ago, Tom Brady had been enjoying.
Instead of marveling at all of this, skeptics scoff and say "too many receivers will cause a problem". There won't be enough balls to go around. There will be trouble in the locker room.
Yeah, maybe. But if we have to accept (and listen to) all of this media-induced filth saying how bad of a move this was, how much it's going to make Minnesota's situation worse, and how much writers (like me) and fans are over-reacting, then everyone else needs to listen to the other side of the story too.
You know, the side that gets the weird feeling that this trade is actually going to accomplish exactly what it has set out to. That this whole "Randy Moss back to Minnesota" story won't end in sadness, anger, or a losing season.
If we're truly looking at it from an unbiased position, it's impossible not to envision all of the gaudy possibilities. Yes, Moss back to Minnesota could back-fire and set the franchise back. It could have Brett Favre's swan song go down in flames.
Yeah, this all could happen. Then again, Moss might be what Favre thought he was all along: the missing piece to help him get one last Super Bowl ring.
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