Should Vikings hold off on giving Randy Moss an extension?

New England Patriots Randy Moss (L) catches a touchdown pass next to New York Jets Darelle Revis (R) in the second quarter during their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in this September 19, 2010 file photo.  According to reports in the U.S. Media, Moss was traded by the Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2011 draft pick on October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

One would think that since the Vikings parted with a third round pick to acquire Randy Moss from the Patriots that they wouldn’t waste any time signing him to a new deal. But given his age, Minnesota might be better off waiting a few weeks.

The NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported on Wednesday night that Moss is seeking a contract extension in the range of $10 million per year. Even when you factor in his productivity in New England the past three years, that’s a ton of dough to hand a 33-year-old who some believe is in decline.

Outside of potentially pissing him off, what’s the harm in holding off a few games to make sure that Moss is as hungry as the Vikings think/hope he is? There’s no sense giving up a third round pick and paying a player $10 million if his production is going to be no better or worse than Bernard Berrian. The Vikings already have a Bernard Berrian on their roster.

Speaking of which, it appears as though Moss and Percy Harvin will become the full-time starters now in Minnesota, which means Berrian could see his targets drop dramatically. With Moss, Harvin and Adrian Peterson all deserving of touches in Brad Childress’ offense, there may not be enough to go around for Berrian come Sundays.

In semi-related news, the Newark Star-Ledger is reporting that Darrelle Revis may not shadow Moss in coverage on Monday night when the Jets host the Vikings. Revis is still battling a hamstring injury and he admitted yesterday that had there been a game on Wednesday, he wouldn’t have been able to play.

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Trade to Vikings could rejuvenate Randy Moss…again.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 02: Randy Moss  of the New England Patriots looks on against the New York Giants on September 2, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Patriots 20-17. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Now that I’ve waxed poetically about the genius that is Bill Belichick, I should probably tackle what the Randy Moss trade means to the Vikings.

Three years ago, Moss wanted out of Oakland – bad. So he agreed to restructure his contract in order to join the Patriots, who had Tom Brady, a winning attitude, a Super Bowl-winning head coach and great fountain drinks in their player clubhouse.

In his first year with the Pats, Moss hauled in 98 passes for 1,493 yards and a whopping 23 touchdowns. His production dropped a bit in his second year with Matt Cassel at quarterback, but he still racked up 69 catches for 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Last season, Moss caught 83 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 TDs after Brady successfully returned from knee surgery, but following New England’s season-opening win over the Bengals this year, he said that he felt “smacked in the face” that the Patriots hadn’t offer him a contract extension.

Less than a month later, Moss is a Minnesota Viking again after the Patriots intentionally or unintentionally fazed him out of their offense the past two weeks. Whether or not he was starting to check out mentally like he did in Oakland is up for debate, but the bottom line is that he’ll be donning purple and white come Monday night (rhythms – they just make you feel good) when Minnesota travels to New York to take on the Jets.

Nobody will be more elated to see Moss in the same huddle than Brett Favre, who has looked every bit of his age during Minnesota’s first three games. Sidney Rice is out with a hip injury and Favre can’t seem to get on the same page as Percy Harvin or the rest of his receivers. But with Moss, he doesn’t have to worry about that.

Favre is a gunslinger by nature. He wants to chuck the ball up and have his receiver make a play, which is exactly what Rice did last year and what Moss will do the rest of this season. Moss wants his quarterback to give him a chance on every play, so the duo will work well together in theory (not unlike when he first arrived in New England and Brady targeted him early and often in games). He’ll also make Harvin, Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe and everyone else around him better.

As long as he’s motivated, Moss can be just as dangerous as he was earlier in his career. He still commands double teams and he still has the athletic ability to best defensive backs that are either too small or too slow to match up with him in coverage. If the Vikings show a commitment to him financially (and why wouldn’t they after they gave up a third round pick to acquire him?), then this could be another dream scenario for Moss.

Heads up, NFC North.

Adding Vincent Jackson could be a mistake for Vikings long-term

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17: Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers stands on the field during AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New York Jets at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings are faced with quite a dilemma.

It’s optimistic to think that Sidney Rice is going to return to action by Week 8 or 9 following hip surgery. Some say he’ll be out for half the year, while others think he’ll miss the entire season.

I happen to fall into the latter category, which is why I understand the Vikings’ desire to trade for Vincent Jackson.

Thanks to their fickle 40-year-old quarterback, Minnesota’s window to win a Super Bowl is closing by the second. They know they have a hole at receiver and they know V-Jax could fill it. But a deal is contingent upon an arbitrator ruling that Jackson will avoid the Roster Exempt list, making him eligible to play in Week 4 following his three-game suspension.

If the ruling goes against Jackson, he’ll have to sit out three more weeks. But even if the ruling goes in his favor, would the Vikings be doing the right thing for their future?

Rice is only 24 and even if he winds up missing the entire season, he’s going to be back next year. The same goes for Percy Harvin, who is only in his second year.

The Vikings proved last year that a combination of Rice, Harvin and Bernard Berrian (who signed a six-year, $43.4 million contract in 2008) is more then sufficient to compete for a playoff berth (assuming they have a decent quarterback, of course). If they add Jackson, they’re going to have to give him a contract extension because after all, why part with multiple draft picks and not making him a part of your long-term plans?

A foursome of Rice, Jackson, Harvin and Berrian would be pretty lethal, but don’t forget that there’s only one ball. This isn’t fantasy football – the Vikings still have an entire roster to think about and it wouldn’t be wise to soak that much money into one position (especially receiver).

That said, I understand the Vikings’ dilemma. They need a receiver now so that they can win now. Jackson is the best available and certainly worth the compensation, but this is a move that could wind up costing the team in other areas down the road. Don’t forget that they still have issues in their secondary and also have an offensive line that is aging. So will they be willing to potentially sacrifice their future to win now? And what if they don’t win? What happens if they build this great receiving corps and Tarvaris Jackson winds up being the one that has to get them the ball?

I have a headache.

With the news that V-Jax might have his suspension reduced, owners who already have him on the roster should hold onto him through the weekend to see if things break his way. If V-Jax is available for cheap in your league and you can acquire him without cutting anyone of note, take a flier on him and see what happens in the next week.

If he lands in Minnesota, it will be a big boost to Brett Favre’s value. I don’t know how much time Jackson will need to get acclimated, as he’ll probably take over the role of Sidney Rice, catching all of those deep balls that Favre chucks downfield. I don’t think it really hurts Percy Harvin or anyone else on the Minnesota roster, save for Bernard Berrian, who will be relegated to backup duty.

If Jackson lands in St. Louis, it will likely hurt Mark Clayton, Laurent Robinson and Danny Amendola. All three currently have some value in PPR leagues, but there won’t be enough targets in St. Louis to support four fantasy wideouts. Sam Bradford would definitely benefit by having a bona fide WR1 to throw to.

Fantasy impact of the Sidney Rice news

In case you haven’t heard, Sidney Rice will be out until midseason after undergoing hip surgery. Obviously, this is a big loss for the Vikings, but what about the fantasy implications?

Let’s start with Rice himself. He’s going to miss the first half of the season and that assumes his recovery goes to plan. Rice is no more than a late-round pick. Stash him on your roster if you have the space and hope that he makes it back for the stretch run.

This news theoretically bumps up Harvin’s stock a bit, but with his migraine issues, there’s no guarantee he’s going to play 16 games either. He’s been going 6.10 over the last week, and while I’d rather have Santana Moss at this point, Harvin is not a bad pick in the 6th or the 7th. But don’t draft him unless you have a high tolerance for week-to-week uncertainty. That’s just how it’s going to be with Harvin, at least for this year.

Bernard Berrian seemingly gets the biggest bump of all the Viking players, and a 29 years old, he has plenty of football left to play. But Berrian is not Rice, so don’t expect anything more than fantasy WR3-type numbers. He’s currently going in the 14th, but I’d start to think about him in the 10th. And remember, he could be pushed back to the bench midseason if Rice comes back.

I’d also bump up Visanthe Shiancoe a bit more. I already liked him as a mid- to late-round sleeper after he posted TE5-type numbers over the last half of the ’09 season. Favre loves to throw to his tight end, especially around the goal line, and with Rice out, he’ll lean on Shiancoe even more.

As for Favre himself, this will probably hurt his numbers. He has a tendency to throw the ball up for grabs, and Rice excelled at using his length and leaping ability to go up and snag the ball out of the air. I’d expect fewer yards, fewer TDs and more picks. That’s just the nature of the beast.

The last guy to consider is Adrian Peterson. With Rice out, the defense will be able to crowd the box a bit more, but he’ll likely get more carries with the Vikings taking a more conservative approach offensively. His ypc will probably dip a bit, but more carries could offset this. I would still draft him in the top 4.

Bernard Berrian chats with The Scores Report

Thanks to Brett Favre and their 4-0 start, the Minnesota Vikings are one of the most talked about teams in the NFL right now. One of the players off to a solid start is receiver Bernard Berrian, who has 16 receptions for 177 yards and one touchdown on the year. Bernard was gracious enough to chat with us about the Vikings’ big win over the Packers on Monday night, a game in which he hauled in six passes for 75 yards and a 31-yard touchdown. Among some of the topics we asked Bernard were what it’s like being in the same huddle with a legend, whether there was any truth to the rumor that there was a divide in the Vikings’ locker room following the signing of Favre, and who is the toughest cornerback he’s ever faced.

The Scores Report: Hey Bernard, how are you man?

Bernard Barrian: I’m fine, how you doing?

TSR: Good. Congratulations on the win Monday night.

BB: Thanks, appreciate it.

TSR: I felt that your touchdown in the third quarter gave you guys the momentum the rest of the way.

BB: Oh yeah I think it definitely did, or put us in position at least.

TSR: No knock on any of the other quarterbacks you’ve played with throughout your career, but you’re playing with a legend now. What’s it like being in the same huddle with Brett Favre?

BB: It’s fun really. He brings a lot of fun to the game. When you see highlights, you see emotion pouring out through different players on the field.

TSR: Who put the rocking chair in front of his locker after the win?

BB: I still haven’t found out who did that – I have no idea. But it was hilarious when I saw it sitting there. (Laughs)

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