Moss gives Vikings hope

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

I was just about to write off the Minnesota Vikings three games into the season with a 1-2 record.

But along comes the seeming answer to their prayers in the form of Randy Moss, one of the top receivers in the league, who was sent packing by the New England Patriots for a third-round draft choice.

Moss grumbled and groused his way out of New England and now he's back with the Vikings who were desperate for a deep threat, a receiver who could make plays, to complement the aggressive style of veteran quarterback Brett Favre.

Moss will no doubt bring a lot of pluses to what so far has been an offence that consisted of Adrian Peterson lugging the ball and Favre missing his receivers and throwing too many interceptions.

Three games in and it seemed as if Favre and the Vikings were moving backward.

With Moss, Favre has an upgrade over the injured Sidney Rice, who should return from hip surgery halfway though the season to give Minnesota a terrific 1-2 punch at the wide receiver position.

Moss not only can make big plays all by himself, but he draws double coverage, moves receivers Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian back to a secondary roles where they are more effective and opens things up for Peterson on the ground,

What has yet to be established, though, is whether Favre is up to the task of delivering the ball on time and accurately.

In his opening three games he was hit and miss and it's too early to say that with the acquisition of Moss, Favre returns to the fabulous form that he displayed last season when he took Minnesota to the NFC championship game.

Give credit to the Vikings, though, for making the deal. They knew they weren't going to win by standing pat and hoping that Favre gets his act together.

Following their bye week last weekend, the Vikings now face the Jets on the road, Dallas at home, then Green Bay and the Patriots, both games on the road.

They had to do something or their season was over right there.

By adding Moss at least he gives the Vikings hope.

Still, it's up to Favre to deliver the goods.

One day he will simply run out of bullets, as they all do.

The question is has he already reached that state?

NOT STANDING PATS

The other part of the equation is what was the motivating for the Patriots to part with an asset like Moss?

Well, Bill Belichick is no dope, so we have to figure that in the Patriots' world they no longer viewed Moss as an asset but as a whining, petulant distraction. He must have become a royal pain in the ass.

New England may be 3-1 but their loss came in a drubbing administered by the Jets and the prospect of finishing ahead of New York in the division will be that much more difficult without out Moss in their lineup.

Tom Brady had a great 1-2 combination in Moss deep and Wes Welker underneath neath but now the Patriots have to establish another deep threat to limit the coverage against Welker.

Second-year wide receiver Brandon Tate will most likely be asked to fill Moss's shoes, not an envious task.

But like we said, Belichick is a smart guy and the Patriots a great organization.

Who's to say they don't add a quality receiver in the coming weeks.

RAM IT HOME

With the season hitting ting the quarter-pole, there is no doubt which division is the dog's breakfast of the league. That distinction goes to the NFC West.

Given the fact that the 49ers refuse to win a game, the Seahawks can't win on the road (though the addition of Marshawn Lynch is an upgrade) and the Arizona Cardinals look lost with the retirement of Kurt Warner, could the door be swinging open for a young St. Louis Rams team?

Yeah, I know, the Rams were a well-deserved 1-15 last year with their lone win coming against the Lions, but crazier things have happened and all it may take is an 8-8 record by one of the four teams to claim the division crown.

That means that the 2-2 Rams -- who are led by young Sam Bradford, the No. 1 pick in this year's draft -- have just as good a shot as anybody else.

The Rams have won two in a row, stunning Washington and then pounding the Seahawks at home.

This week they face an important test in facing the Lions in Detroit. A win on the road and their third win in a row would do wonders for the team's psyche and put it in an excellent position to reach the watershed eight-win goal.

"To have two wins in a row, it feels really good," running back Steven Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think you can see the confidence around here starting to brew. We're starting to believe in what's going on."

For the first time in a long time the Rams are starting to believe in themselves and Bradford, who looks like a high school sophomore, is a big part of that.

"Coach Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) talks to us each week about going out there and expecting to win," Bradford said. "I think we went into the past two weeks expecting to win, which is huge. Any time a team can take the field expecting -- not hoping -- to win, I think it changes the entire way that you play a football game."

In St. Louis, things are definitely changing -- and for the better.

mike.rutsey@sunmedia.ca


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