Two of Favre’s terrific Twin City targets
One thing that could possibly be singled out as a reason for the Vikings slow start on offense is the ever changing group of wide outs at Brett Favre’s disposal. There is no doubt it is a talented group, but Sidney Rice’s hip surgery sent a domino effect through the roster and the Vikings are still trying to decide exactly what each guys role is.
Last week was the first week Randy Moss played with the Vikings since he was traded to Oakland way back when. The owner, the coaching staff, most of the players, and the playbook have all changed since he was traded away. Moss is now playing catch up with the hopes of becoming a bigger part of the offense with every passing week.
“Sometimes, you lose your mental focus, and sometimes, I might break the huddle — ‘OK, what did he just call?’ — and that happens,” said Moss, who is working with his receivers coach for an extra hour every day and is bringing the playbook home.
“But as far as 80 to 90 percent of the time that I’m in there, I want to know what I’m doing. (Monday) night, they put me in in the 2-minute and I heard a play and I really didn’t know what I was doing. So, I was taught when it doubt, just run a go, and that’s what I did.”
Moss sounded like a guy who is determined and motivated to come back and prove that he never should have been traded in the first place.
“I was kind of bitter the way things ended,” Moss said. “But at the same time, you let bygones be bygones, you forgive but never forget.
So, hopefully, whatever I’ve supposedly done here to get me thrown out of the state of Minnesota, hopefully, the people can forgive me. But I’ve forgiven the people, the organization for just kicking me to the curb, and hopefully, I’m back here to make up for it.”
With the arrival of Moss came the demotion of Bernard Berrian (who still only has 38 more receiving yards than Pat Williams this season). Berrian went from being the perceived number one on the squad, to hardly playing Monday night against the Jets.
“I’m never going to be all right when your roles diminish or whatever,” Berrian said. “No player that’s a competitor is going to be all right with that.”
There has been speculation amongst fans that Berrian could be released or traded, but both of those scenarios seem highly unlikely at this point.
Moss isn’t the only wide out that the Vikings traded for following Rice’s surgery, but Greg Camarillo has not been much of a factor in the Vikings offense to date.
“We’ve got some good receivers, man, and they’re making plays,” Camarillo said of his small work load. “If I knew the reason, I would try to fix it. But Percy (Harvin) and Randy (Moss) — those guys are damn good, man, some of the best in the league.”
Camarillo sounds a little more understanding than Berrian when it comes to his decreased role in the offense, but echoed some of the same frustrations with being a role player.
“The hardest part is staying mentally in the game snap-by-snap,” Camarillo said. “The past two years, I’ve been in every snap, and then to play four plays a game is hard. It’s hard to mentally focus when you’re not in there.
“Luckily, I’ve got special teams that keeps my blood pumping, keeps me warm to go in. But when they call my number, I’ll be ready.”
And that is where the difference lies between Camarillo and Berrian. Camarillo literally out-performed Berrian as a punt returner and at least has one position he knows he will play on a consistent basis, even if it is on special teams. Berrian on the other hand is essentially waiting for someone to get hurt in order to get another chance to prove himself in any significant way.
But Berrian’s role isn’t likely to increase anytime soon, as Sidney Rice is only about four or five weeks (guessing here, folks) from returning to action and making the receiver position even more competitive.
Rice has improved to the point that he is now walking without crutches. If he was healthy enough (which he isn’t) the Vikings could activate Rice from the PUP List as soon as Tuesday. In order for Rice to get healthy enough to play this season, however, he will have to do it by November 9th or else he will be placed on the season ending injured reserve.
“Everything’s been feeling good,” Rice said after his surgeon told him that everything is looking as it should. “It hasn’t been giving me any problems. I’ve been walking around and walking on the treadmill, things like that, putting my full body weight on it.”
Every Vikings fan has been talking about seeing the trio of Moss, Rice, and Percy Harvin in action but there are doubts about if that could ever happen. Rice would have to make it back this season, with Moss and Harvin staying healthy (which is no guarantee, as we know), in order to see it in 2010. In 2011, both Rice and Moss are set to be free agents, and it is unclear whether or not the Vikings plan to re-sign both of them.