Thursday, October 07, 2010

National Friday League, Week 5

Randy #$%&*ing Moss
Randy Moss isn't just an elite WR. He isn't just one of the greatest players of all-time. And he isn't just the player who has made so many "That's one of the greatest catches I've ever seen" plays that we started to forget that those were, indeed, some of the greatest catches we've ever seen.

Randy Moss is, for many fans (especially fans of a certain age, who sort of came of age with him), the most exciting Viking player of all-time. It's hard to even articulate what it was like seeing Moss burn CBs on go routes, to see Moss outleap everybody, to see Moss make one-handed catches, skirting the sideline catches, to make falling down with defenders right on him catches. There was ballet in what Moss could do. There was, I'll say it, art. Randy Moss played the game with a creative beauty that most Viking fans appreciated with wonderment. When he left the Vikings, it was like he wasn't the same person: he was some other guy named Randy Moss that we felt like we recognized but couldn't quite place. But Go back and look at some old pictures. Watch some old highlights. Flip through the football cards. Those aren't just the good-old-days: that is now.

I'm going to admit something now: I've been finding myself regretting that Brett Favre came back. I have not been optimistic about the Vikings getting to the Super Bowl this year, and I've been feeling like I'd have more fun watching whatever the Vikings would be next (lots of defense and running) than I'd have being disappointed by one last "all in" Favre season. But no "all in" Favre season, probably no Randy Moss returning to wear a purple #84. No more chance to see Moss dazzling the field in that beautiful Viking jersey.

And when Randy Moss comes back to Thunderdome wearing the purple #84, and everybody in the stadium is watching him in warmups, it will be worth it. When he gets introduced for the first time, and the roar of the crowd is heard from your house, it will be worth it. When Moss scores his first touchdown as a Viking in over five years, and Minnesota fans lose our shit, and our collective orgasm will compete with Oprah's favorite things for idiotic displays of irrational joy, it will be worth it.

There's a giddiness in the air. This means something different than when Favre came. Not only because in a matter of, what, 20 hours, something we barely could conceive of came to completion. But because he's Randy Moss! He's our guy! He's the guy that has already scored 100 touchdowns* for the Vikings! He's the one who on three occasions walked into Lambeau Field and burned the mother-#$&*er to the ground!

What must it have been like for the French, when Napoleon returned from Elba and just marched on up to Paris? Could they believe it was happening? Did they stare at each other with wide eyes whispering "Him again?"

*90 regular season TD receptions, one regular season punt return TD, and nine playoff TD receptions.

Vikings--Jets Preview
The Jets look really good. I haven't ever felt good about a Viking road game (and if you've watched the team for the past ten years, you shouldn't either). I just don't know. Actually, I'm worried.

But the defense, which now includes Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook, can play with anybody.

And...ADRIAN PETERSON AND RANDY MOSS ARE ON THE SAME TEAM. Think about the kinds of coverage Moss draws. Think about the way Peterson has been playing. Isn't it distinctly possible that they start wiping the floor with defenses quite soon? Or am I talking myself into things (just like I've talked myself into not stressing about this killer stretch of games coming up, because the late season schedule relaxes tremendously and the Vikes could struggle in the first half of the season but still make the playoffs)?

Excited and terrified.

Other Intriguing Matchups
Week Five Schedule

Jaguars-Bills. How big was Jacksonville’s win over Indianapolis last week? Now they look good to start the year 3-2.

Broncos-Ravens. Every week, I wonder, do the Broncos suck, or are they sort of a playoff contender? Every week I find myself moderately pulling for them. I have no idea why.

Chiefs-Colts. Funny game. The Chiefs win by running the ball with Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, by getting big special teams plays from players like Dexter McCluster, from playing great defense, and throwing in the occasional razzle dazzle, but never relying on the passing game. The Colts are practically the opposite: trouble on defense, can barely run, never razzle dazzle, but have the best passing game in the league (in my opinion, the Colts from '03-present have the greatest passing attack of all-time). The game is on TV, so I'm happy.

Packers-Washington. Do it again, Donovan.

Rams-Lions. The Rams have a chance to go 3-2! And the Lions keep playing decent opponents to close games. It's not that I'd want to watch this game, but I can't help but be intrigued by the results.

Bears-Panthers. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are my starting fantasy RBs this week. I would blame bye week troubles for starting two teammates, but if it weren't for the bye I'd be starting Justin, I think I'll go ahead and blame myself.

Giants-Texans. The Giants are another of the early 2010 season's perplexing teams that I'm so curious about I keep watching them.

Titians-Cowboys. Still don't know if the Titians are good. Still don't know if the Cowboys are good. Know I'm going to call the Titans the Titians for the sheer hell of it.

Irrational Viking Fan
On a storybook level, last year sure seemed like it should have been the year: the former hated rival finding magic and leading the Vikes to...alas, leading the Vikes to a place we've seen them crash before.

But now? It's homecoming.

NFC North Box
The Packers are designed to blow out weak opponents. They have a really strong front seven. They have a really diverse, efficient passing attack. Against a weak opponent, that is enough to dominate. But the Packers have weaknesses that quality opponents can exploit. They struggle to run the ball and often struggle in pass protection. They’ve got all sorts of weak spots in the secondary (good quarterbacks can dice them up). They are vulnerable.

I can’t help but wonder when/if the Bears are going to go to Chester Taylor more. Matt Forte has looked like a dynamic receiving threat, but Chester Taylor has run the ball better (3.5 yards per attempt v. 2.7 yards per attempt so far this year). Forte can do things in space, but the Chicago offensive line isn’t opening up big holes, and Taylor is a tougher, grinding inside runner. He can produce more rushing yards than Forte on that team, I think.

Fantasy Box: a narcissistic tour through my dreaded byes
I'm in a crazy league with some relatives that features 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 3 WRs, and 2 TEs in the starting lineup, but also only has six bench positions. Now that bye weeks have started, every week just looks like a wreckage zone: I'm always picking up three new starters off the waiver wire.

But that's nothing compared to my next three weeks in the Hazelweird League: Week 5 features enough players out that I'm starting Mike Sims-Walker and Dwayne Bowe (tough competitors in the "fantasy guy that's kind of a name but does nothing" contest), week 6 features DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart's bye (Chester Taylor--I shit you not--might be my starter), and week 7 features Indy's bye, meaning the Peyton Manning-Reggie Wayne combo that is the core of my competent team is out. If I make it through these next three weeks of abject horror with first place even in my sightlines, I'll have to feel pretty good.

Fantasy Box isn't meant to be a totally boring sideshow: I encourage you to share your stories of the direst straits bye weeks have ever left you in. If you can top "I picked up Dwayne Bowe because otherwise I'd be starting Bernard Berrian (whom I instead cut)" then may the Spirit of Fantasy Football be with you, because the points probably won't be.

Basketball Box
Fellow Minnesota sports fans that read this blog, I'm sure a lot of you are excited about the Twins in the playoffs. I don't care about the Twins really at all, but I imagine it's a lot of fun, during a Viking season, to also have other local sports be exciting.

But wait. There's a chance--just a slight chance, mind you, but a chance--that within a few months I won't be able to stop talking about Michael Beasley.

It's just a wait. And Monday Night: it all comes back. We dance.


  1. Best quote of the season...
    "Yeah, I did have a few mix-ups here, but who didn't? What if I'd have been on that boat? There really would have been some problems."
    Is it Monday yet?

  2. One fun thing about Randy Moss: he says what he wants to say.

  3. Anonymous12:55 AM

    He does not take quotes off.