The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Now or never for Vikes

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For a franchise trying to win a championship in the ultimate team sport, the Minnesota Vikings are certainly acting more like a big-market baseball team than anything else. No team is more in here-and-now mode than the Vikes -- they are one of the oldest teams on offense and defense in the last decade, they have cast aside any draft options at quarterback over the last two years in favor of the Brett Favre band-aid, and the move for Randy Moss takes away another draft pick for a team that will desperately need them in the next few years.

The problem with such a philosophy in football is that when you are spending so much on individual players, those individual players are still at the mercy of their teammates. It's all well and good to hypothesize how Moss will affect Brett Favre's passing numbers in a positive way, but Moss is pretty much strictly a deep receiver, and deep routes take time. Seven-step drops are less possible when a quarterback's offensive line can't protect adequately, and that's been a problem for this team for years -- tackles Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt are among the league's worst pass protectors.

That may be mitigated to a degree by what Moss does for the Vikings' other playmakers. He's not the same deep threat he was a few years ago, and he's not as good at beating double teams, but at least he's still drawing them. As I wrote this morning for Yahoo! Sports, New England's offensive focus has switched from Moss before this trade happened, which is very much in line with the organization's philosophy of staying young, riding the low end of the age curve, and building constantly without giving up in the here and now.

That's not where the Vikings are -- they're putting all their chips into this season, and I'm not so sure it's going to work for them. Favre will still be under constant pressure, and there's no guarantee that Moss won't become a malcontent if the Vikings don't give him the contract extension he wants as soon as he wants. If there's football next year, the Vikings could be falling off the ladder while the Patriots get another leg up. And it's decisions like this in the long term that make such things possible.

By Doug Farrar  |  October 6, 2010; 12:07 PM ET  | Category:  Minnesota Vikings , New England Patriots Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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