Now that the Moss to Minnesota deal is official (along with a reported 3rd-round pick going to New England), let’s break down the overall impact the WR will have on QB Brett Favre, WR Percy Harvin and the entire Vikings offense. A big move any time of the year — one that is magnified in October.
Favre gets his No. 1 WR.
Favre gets his guy: Can’t talk about adding a big name WR to a club in October without discussing the QB. Everyone knows that Brett Favre wanted Moss back in Green Bay — as detailed by the NFP’s Andrew Brandt — and now he gets his weapon, his playmaker, his true No.1 after the injury to Sidney Rice. Valuable in any area of the field and a crucial piece to add to the red zone game plan for Brad Childress. Favre should put up big numbers with Moss in a Vikings uniform — a receiver who will go up and get the football.
The deep ball: Moss is still the most legit deep ball threat in the NFL. No question from my perspective. The separation speed and his ability to convert routes vs. press coverage can be measured against any No.1 in the league. Add in his ball skills, and we are still talking about Moss as a difference maker. Cover 2 safeties have to play with more depth and corners who lose leverage at the line of scrimmage can’t get back in phase. In Minnesota, that was supposed to be Bernard Berrian. But, the impact just isn’t there. Moss gives the Vikings that vertical option and Berrian now slides into a complementary role — which should lead to more production.
The impact on Harvin: Percy Harvin is a receiver who is valuable when he can align inside of the numbers. A “move guy” who needs a No.1 on the outside. From a defensive perspective, players like Harvin are a matchup issue — especially on third downs. Defenses will play some combo coverage on the slot to take away any inside breaking routes and play man coverage on the outside with a single high safety in the middle of the field. Can you still double the slot with Moss outside of the numbers? Maybe, but you better have a free safety with some range who can get out of the middle of the field and overlap the numbers.
ICONMoss is an instant upgrade to the Vikings' offense.
Defensive preparation: The running game changes the way you game plan as a defense. Against Chicago, or even Green Bay, defenses can align in a seven-man front and play coverage in the secondary right now. Not against Minnesota with Adrian Peterson. You have to walk that strong safety down into the box to play in the run front. That is one of the main reasons we saw the big numbers from Rice in ’09. Can’t play Cover 2, 2-Man or even Cover 6 (quarter, quarter, half) when A.P. is aligned 7 yards deep in the backfield — and coming downhill. The running game will always open up the playbook.
The risk: Have to throw this in, because there is always a risk involved when you make a deal for a personality like Moss. The film has shown in the past that he has no problems shutting it down in certain situations. But, when you are paying Favre big money (and went through another offseason of begging him to come back), making the strong play here is the right move. Weigh the reward in this case — and ignore the possible risk. Almost have to after the 1-2 start and the lack of offensive production in the passing game.
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