Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's Not Randy Moss the Vikings Miss

It's Cris Carter. At least that's the case the StarTribune's Jim Souhan makes (may be FRR). He was the Vikings best receiver of all time and its unquestioned leader during their run. Consider:

[The Vikings] went 56-40 (a .583 winning percentage) when Carter was their top receiver, from 1992 to 1997.

They went 41-23 (.641) from 1998 to 2001, when Carter and Moss played together.

They went 23-25 (.479) from 2002 to '04, after Carter left and Moss became the unquestioned star.

Now Moss is making spectacular catches and taking smoke breaks for a new team, and that team is 0-2, making his personal record 23-27 without Carter.
Yes, the departure of former quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has seriously affected quarterback Daunte Culpepper's performance, but he did not arrive until after the Vikings made two NFC Championship appearances. And Souhan rightly notes where the solution must come in this truffle passage:

Now Linehan is gone, new offensive coordinator Steve Loney is trying to learn on the job and coach a depleted offensive line and call plays, and Tice is displaying the leadership skills that made New Orleans the tourist attraction it is today.

At this point in his career, Culpepper should be tutoring Loney and taking charge of the offense, not paying homage to Monty Python's 100-meter dash for people with no sense of direction.

Tice and Culpepper welcomed life without Randy.

Through two games, both have failed to take command of their team, and both seem to agree that Culpepper should shoulder the blame.

[emphasis in original]

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