"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Moss back as Viking: yes, it's monumental

Randy Moss, a Viking again? How did that get arranged? It seems too good to be true. I'm not sure the enormity of this acquisition has sunk in yet.
Randy Moss represents one of the most celebrated chapters in Minnesota pro sports history. He had a gift like perhaps no other athlete here. I never cared for the nickname "The Freak," but it shows just how mesmerized we were.
Moss has an ability to carry a team on his shoulders. His teams don't like to admit that role because the emphasis is always supposed to be on "team." He makes other players on his team look better than they are. He draws attention from other players and stretches the field. He can streak down the field and within moments, turn a close game into a fairly comfortable win.
Moss brings marquee value too, to a team that already has the most mystique-shrouded name in the NFL in Brett Favre. Moss and Favre together will be a virtual magnet for TV viewers. Our Flyoverland team will have a big-time air comfortably surpassing the New York City teams.
And to think the Vikings are the one Minnesota team stuck in the "old" Metrodome. (Does anyone associate the name Hubert Humphrey with it anymore?)
The U of M Gophers made the escape from the Dome but their futility on the field seems never to have been greater. The Minnesota Twins escaped the ping-pong palace for their new outdoor playground, which has won raves, but as I write this they're 0-2 in the playoffs vs. the Gotham unit.
So after a marathon 162-game schedule, the Twins will sink or swim in a short series in which a single umpire's call - a "ball" call on an apparent strike that may have given the Yankees their game #2 win - may make the difference.
The NFL wants an 18-game regular season schedule instead of 16. It's still just a handful of games. And I love that, because each game has significance. You tune in to ESPN Sportscenter on Monday and get the in-depth analysis of each of the Sunday's games.
In baseball there are too many games to pay any attention to an analysis of any one. Watching ESPN on Mondays in the fall is one of the great delights of life. There are unique storylines in any given week. Most of them you just can't predict. There are offbeat game highlights and pure human interest angles.
You don't suppose we'll get some interesting human interest angles now with Moss on the Vikings, do you? I absolutely don't care if Moss "dogs it" once in a while. He's age 33 now and he'll have to "pick his spots" anyway. I have seen no evidence that Moss has fallen (much) from his prime.
Sometimes wide receivers "stay at the dance" too long. Like Jerry Rice. Or a Viking from long ago named John Gilliam. But I think Moss is most capable of still supplying highlight-reel stuff. So this acquisition is truly monumental.
Fans have been a little distracted by the Twins, so the excitement has been a little subdued. On Monday night, as if by magic, Moss will be out on the field as a Viking again. Surely the significance will sink in quickly, once we see those long legs and sheer elan of a uniquely talented athlete make its mark, hopefully burying the New York Jets.
(. . ."and stop calling me Shirley.")
The Vikings have made other bombshell mid-season acquisitions through the years. I still remember the Star Tribune headline word-by-word, when one of these happened: "Vikings get Manning, Casper in trade."
Our eyes bugged out at the sheer enormity of those names. We're talking about the father of the famous Manning boys in the NFL today. Archie Manning was in the twilight of his career. He had a health issue that I believe wasn't fully diagnosed at the time. He faded as a Viking. Tight end Dave Casper wasn't the hoped-for-godsend either.
We had the Herschel Walker acquisition which, based on what we gave up, helped create a Dallas Cowboys dynasty and give Jimmy Johnson a chance to repeatedly utter that forgettable line: "How 'bout them Cowboys."
How 'bout that trade, Jimmy?
The celebrated Walker trade allowed Minnesota Vikings GM Mike Lynn to forgo having to negotiate contracts with a bunch of high draft picks. That was nice for him and not so nice for the legions of Vikings fans.
Mike Lynn! I remember him giving the inartful quote as follows: "If you think my wife is attractive, you should have seen her 20 years ago!"
We all hope Moss is aging better!
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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