Vikings head coach Brad Childress, wide receiver Randy Moss and quarterback Brett Favre spoke with the media Thursday.
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Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress
Just a couple things about the New York Jets: they’re a good football team and there on a roll right here, right now. I think they are playing well on the offensive side of the football. I think they create numbers of problems for you defensively, not only schematically, but obviously good football players. I know it’s a tough hostile environment to go into. I haven’t been in the new stadium but I can imagine so. You need to be able to move the football and score some points. Your defense has its hands full with good wide receivers, people being added back to the mix, a quarterback that I think has grown every time he goes out, vertical tight end that’s a very good player. It’ll be a good inter-conference matchup.
Q: Will Randy Moss have a set amount of plays?
A: As much as he can get or retain and we put the whole thing in. There’s a ramping up process with everything from how you motion to snap count but we will try to get him more as opposed to less as we go in and it has yet to be determined until we get to Monday.
Q: How did he look out there today?
A: He looked good. He looked right at home. I think he is headed the right direction. He was up early for a physical and it has been kind of a grind. He’s in doing squats right now and he’ll be out here in a minute.
Q: What do you expect defensively from the Jets and do you expect Darrelle Revis to play?
A: I have to expect we’ll see all those guys from Santonio Holmes, who is a very good player that we had the opportunity to play against last year, to Calvin Pace coming off the edge and I’ll expect to see Revis. I don’t know if anything changes appreciably with him in there aside from the fact that he is a shut down corner. They usually try to use him as an eraser and say, “Follow this guy around and take him out of the game.” I think we have to be prepared for that and we will.
Q: How tough of a challenge do the Jets present to you from a pass rush standpoint?
A: I think Rex’s scheme is extremely innovative. I think it’s got a lot of the principles of the Baltimore Ravens that we played last year with probably a little bit more volume to it. It does present problems. You have to be about your homework because sometimes people are going to come free and the quarterback needs to know who is blocked and who is not.
Q: When you took the job what did you think the chances were Brett Favre would be throwing passes to Randy Moss for you?
A: Nothing. I didn’t have that expectation because that wasn’t the quarterback that was here. To me it’s another day at the salt mines, we’re just grinding it away. It’s really a Thursday that’s a Wednesday for us. We have an installation of a game plan with a couple of new faces that you’re trying to get up to speed and do it all at full speed. It gives you a little bit of enthusiasm. I think everybody on our football team felt that a little bit. As I said before, he’s a good piece to the puzzle.
Q: Is there a clear cut third wide receiver or is it situational?
A: Probably a mix. It’ll probably be a mix of four or five guys rolling through there both to that Z, our sub package and as a fourth wide receiver.
Q: How does Moss’ presence help the other playmakers?
A: You know what, everyone has to work. The one thing on the offensive side is a little different because he could be doing what he needs to be doing but somebody else could not be doing what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s just him taking care of his business and we’ll see. It remains to be seen how people want to play us, how they respect the runner in the backfield, the quarterback under center, the tight end or the other wide out and kind of develop as you go. One thing I told the guys today is they will need to play themselves into roles as we go every day. You create your own role. If you can do more and you do some things, we’ll find different ways to get you the football.
Q: Are you going to use five wide receivers for the next few weeks?
A: Not necessarily. We just got to see where everybody is at injury wise if we need an extra body at another position but I’m going with that idea at this point.
Q: How great is the opportunity to coach Favre and Moss?
A: You know it is. It doesn’t fall on me as not being kind of a novel situation but you have to make something happen with those guys. That’s always the job at hand whether its skills and ability or whether its communicating. But there’s work that has to get done so that everybody gets completely on the same page.
Q: Did Brett and Randy get a chance to play catch and get on the same page?
A: They did a little bit, right away when we came out here for our walk through at 10:30 this morning. That will continue to develop as well. I think Brett spends enough time in the building and Randy doesn’t have any people here yet and I know he is going to do everything he can to ramp up and get up to speed.
Q: Is Chris Cook having problems with that knee again?
A: Yeah, he does. We’ll put it on the report for you later.
Vikings Wide Receiver Randy Moss
Before I start off with any questions, I’m very fortunate to be back home where it all started. It’s been a hectic last 48 hours and I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m back home and it kind of feels weird knowing that I was just in New England trying to make things happen, and just overnight get traded back home. I thought about this time and time again about how this thing was going to play out. Is the love for me still here in Minnesota? All I’ve been seeing is nothing but positive. To all the Vikings fans, just coming to the Metrodome, pull your number-84 jerseys out. I think this is going to be a fun ride. It felt good to be out there today. I’ve watched these guys from afar. The Williams’, Brett [Favre], [Steve] Hutchinson, [Bryant] McKinnie; I’ve watched this team. I’ve paid attention to this team and the success they’ve had over the years and by bringing me back here I just want to see if we can get this thing done. I know we take it one game at a time. I know they came up one game short last year. Hopefully no one in this organization is looking at the bigger picture because this Monday night we have the New York Jets. We take it one game at a time and see what happens at the end of the season.
Q: When you were traded away five years ago, did you ever think there was a possibility you’d be standing there right now?
A: I have strong faith. I have a lot of faith in God that praying every day and every morning He’ll put me in the right situation. I think by me being traded from New England here, I guess this was His plan, so I’m going to embrace it and take it in stride and hopefully bring it home.
Q: Why do you think New England let you go?
A: If you’ve been watching TV, you know it’s a business. I don’t want to get into that.
Q: How long have you wanted to get together with Brett Favre?
A: Me and Brett have a long history with one another. I think when we started out in the NFC playing against one another, his agent Bus Cook and I have a very strong relationship so all along he wanted to see if me and Brett could hook up one day. Knowing that I’m a little older, and he’s older, I know we don’t have that far of a window. The opportunity is closing. We just have to take it one game at a time, one practice at a time. I know I’m coming in here a little late, and hopefully we just get out there and get a little timing down and hopefully it can carry over to the games.
Q: Did it hurt to be traded?
A: No, I have been traded before. I was more hurt when I left here [Minnesota]. I think when I got traded from New England to here, I think it was more of an understanding because I’ve said time and time again, this is not football. It’s a job; it’s a business. Whenever the fans of the game understand the business of the game, I think it will be better for everyone. Did I want to get traded out of New England? I don’t really know what the answer is. All I can say is there is no other place I would want to get traded to besides Minnesota. I started here. I feel obligated to this organization for drafting me. At the time it was Coach Dennis Green and his group that drafted me. By leaving here there was still a bad taste in my mouth, very depressed. Then by me being able to come back here over the last 24 hours, I still feel obligated to try and make this thing happen because when nobody wanted to give me a chance, the Minnesota Vikings gave me a chance. Even though I did slip late in the draft in ’98 and I still have the same approach to the game. I know I’m a little bit older, but hopefully the younger guys can pick up where I left off and hopefully make this ship move.
Q: Have you talked with the Vikings about an extension in your contract?
A: I don’t really want to get into contracts. I think that’s how the whole thing started. Some things in New England didn’t go according to plan and you see I’m here now. I’m not really wanting to get into the contract thing. I think everything will work itself out. If I’m going to be here next year as a Viking, then that’s what it’s going to be. If I’m not, I’m not. For right now, I have a job to do and that’s to just keep playing football, so we’ll leave it at that.
Q: Are you surprised to come back here and see the love that has been shown towards you?
A: The people that I meet on a regular, outside the state of Minnesota all they know is me being in the purple 84. I still have love. You can come and look in my closet, I still own my purple truck with the 84 inside. I still have a lot of love for the Minnesota Vikings. Luckily I did get traded, for what reasons I still don’t know, but I am back. I don’t want people to think that this thing is going to go sour because just being out there today, I was kind of excited just having Brett Favre throw me the ball. He’s legendary, what else can I say. Being able to come from a place such as New England, having a great Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady, a Hall of Fame coach in Bill Belichick and then being able to come to a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett, what else can you ask for? I just want to take it in stride and hopefully it works out. I think a lot of people are looking for the big thing at the end of the road. I’m here to say we’re going to take it one game at a time and see what happens. That’s the best thing we can do.
Q: How do you go about assimilating yourself into this locker room and into this offense quickly?
A: I think that for the most part, just ease and work my way in. I’m not coming here to try and be vocal; I’m just here to play. My job that I’ve had to do since I was in this league was to help my team win and score touchdowns. That’s what they brought me in here to do, to try and help this passing game and by any means necessary I’m just going to try and go out there and do my job and that’s all I can do.
Q: How good do you think this offense can be?
A: I think this offense has a lot of key components in place to be a high-octane offense. In order for that to really come in to factor, you got to really have a good defense and good special teams, not just a good offense. Like I said, I’ve studied this team from afar, being in New England watching film, studying, and things like that, so I’ve been looking at some of the things they’ve done around here, good and bad. Now that I’m here, the only thing I can do is go out and try to be a top-notch offense in this league. Like you said, I have been a part of two top-scoring offenses in NFL history, and I take that to heart. With all that said, you still have to work and I think hard work does pay off. I think if we just come out here day-to-day and keep working hard, the hard work will pay off and see what we can do down the road.
Q: You’ve had a lot of local ties here with St. Joseph. You’ve kept those?
A: I’ve always kept I think it was maybe six tickets or something like that because those kids don’t really get to see much. I think when I first came over there all they screamed was coming to a Vikings game. When I left here in ’05, they asked me the question: do I still want to keep my tickets? I said, ‘Man, I wouldn’t dare take those tickets from those kids,’ so over the years that money has been coming out of my pocket and now that I’m back I think I’m just going to have to take some visits over there to pep those kids up. I look forward to getting back out in the community. I did a few things here that I’m proud and appreciative of. Now that I’ve been gone, I still want to get back out there in the community to try and better the people.
Q: Do you know how many touchdown passes Favre has thrown in his career?
A: No, I don’t. How many?  Wow, well like I said he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer, and I can remember one time my rookie year we were playing in Green Bay and they wanted the offensive guys to come and sit down: ‘Everybody come and sit down and rest your legs.’ I said, ‘No, I want to watch Brett Favre and see his magic.’ Like I said, I know I’m a little up there in age, but I still feel like I can play at a high level and Brett probably feels the same way. With all of that said, I just want to be here to fit in the offense. I don’t want them to make me the focal point; I’m trying to make this thing move. I just want to fit into the piece of the puzzle and hopefully we can make this thing move.
Q: You’ve mentioned your age a few times. Are you different or are you just saying that?
A: I am. I think that I’ve learned the knowledge. I think I’ve gotten a little bit smarter, understanding coverages, understanding the little ins-and-outs of the game. As far as my physical ability, of course I’ve lost a step. Me losing a step compared to everyone else, I’m still one of the fastest guys in the league. We’ll just leave it at that. Like I said, yeah, I feel physically that I may have lost a step, but I still like to go out here and compete every day. I like to go out here and compete on Sunday. Hopefully we can go out here Monday night and compete.
Q: How excited are you to have Adrian Peterson on your team?
A: Very excited. I am very excited. I think I saw that run against the Detroit Lions, when he broke the hole, hit up the sideline and nobody could catch him. That was very impressive. All I could think about was, ‘Do I still have the speed to catch him if me and him were running up the sideline?’ I’ve always been a big fan of Adrian Peterson back when he was in school. I think he hurt his shoulder or something in college and then came into the league. I’ve always been a big fan of his. I think the question was, ‘Just think if Moss was still there with Adrian Peterson?’ Like I said, I’m happy. I’m happy to be here, knowing that this running game can go whenever it wants to go. I’m here to hopefully make this passing game go, hopefully when we want it to go. The sky is the limit. If we keep working hard, hopefully down the road we can see what happens.
Q: How excited are you to play in the Metrodome again?
A: I know it’s going to be bananas. I already know it’s going to be bananas. I don’t know when that game is, who we play, I really don’t know. I don’t know how it is now, but back in the day we used to run through the ship and they would scream your name. Put it like this: if that’s the way they still do it then I know I’m going to feel a lot of nervousness. At the same time, there’s going to be a lot of energy in that building. I look forward to that.
Q: Bill Belichick had a press conference day and spent a lot of time talking about you, and defended you as a teammate and as a player. How come it didn’t work?
A: What me and Coach Belichick talked about, I don’t really want to make public. The respect that I have for him as a coach and a man speaks volumes. Bill is the one who brought me to New England from Oakland and I commended him and thanked him for that. With me being in New England, that was something special. I’ve never been a part of a team, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do was be a part of a team. They’re a team and now that I’m gone I’m not going to say anything negative and I’m not going to bash the organization because I think that they gave me an opportunity to go out here and play when nobody else thought I could go out there and play at a high-level. Whatever me and Coach [Belichick] talked about, I want to keep that between us, and I wish him the best. I know we go there in a few weeks and one thing he did share with me is that he wishes me the best but that game right there. I look forward to facing those guys on the 31st of October, but I still got love for them; I really do. It’s just something I’ll never forget. We did some magical things up there. The show must go on and it is a business and I think that’s what a lot of people got to understand, is the business side of football.
Q: Where does having a championship rank among your goals for the remainder of your career?
A: When I first came into the league, I didn’t really think about it. I really didn’t. Once I got older and 1998 slipped up in Atlanta and in 2000 we went to New York, so as I was younger I thought that the opportunity would knock at the door a little bit more often than it did. As I’m getting older that opportunity slips out from up under you. Having a championship under my belt at this point in my career is very important. I think that, that’s what you play the game for, is to win championships. That’s what I’m missing. I’m not saying we’re going to bring it home or we’re not going to bring it home, all I’m saying is here in Minnesota we’re going to work and strive to be a champion here.
Q: Would it be special to end your career here?
A: To end it? That’s the guy over there, that’s the boss-man right there [pointing]. He brought me here for a reason, and by me leaving here back in ’05, I can’t really speak upon it because I was very depressed. Me going to Oakland and not winning games put me in a deeper depression. It’s something crazy to say, but I am human. I do have emotions like everybody else. Then by me being able to come back here, the changes, the scenery, they changed their uniforms and things like that, so I didn’t know what to expect. All I can say is they brought me back home. I feel the love I’ve been waiting for and this game Monday night, but especially to get up in that Metrodome for my first game in a few years. I thank everybody for the things that they’ve said; all of the positives. I know there are a lot of negatives out there, but I’m not trying to live in the past. You can call it what you want. Yeah, I did have a few mix-ups here, but who didn’t? What if I had been on that boat? There would have really been some problems, wouldn’t there?
Vikings Quarterback Brett Favre
Q: Is it bizarre to be throwing the ball to Randy Moss in purple?
A: Yeah, who would have ever thunk it but with this game, you never know. Believe me, I can attest to that. We’re happy to have him. No guarantees and you still have to do the things that are expected of you. I thought it was just an average practice on our part, offensively. As I have been saying, it’s a work in process. He obviously brings a different dimension to any team. I’ve seen it so many years against him and you just shake your head. He is going to have to catch the ball. You know, he didn’t catch the ball the other night in their game but in that game they didn’t necessarily need him but it’s what he does to defenses. Along with the plays that he makes, it’s the plays he doesn’t make too that you kind of go, “Randy didn’t have a catch.” But he always has double coverage. Darrelle has played well against him and he is probably the best corner in football and the other corner, Cromartie, on the other side is pretty darn good, too. So we have our work cut out for us with Randy or without Randy but we are happy to have him.
Q: You’ve seen him make a lot of plays in Green Bay, haven’t you?
A: Way too many. I can remember the first game he played against us. It was a Monday night game, I think 1998. I think he had a 70-yarder called back, correct me if I’m wrong, Bob, but he ended up with like 200 yards receiving and had one called back that was 70 yards. And this was a rookie. We were playing cover two and you should never get beat in cover two over the top but it just happened over and over again. We weren’t the only team that happened to. I’ve seen it way too many times.
Q: At what point did you find out the team was pursuing Moss and did you go to them at all during it?
A: No, when they started to pursuit him, I don’t know for certain. I’ve kind of been pursuing him since I can’t even remember how far back it was, back in Green Bay. How could you not want to play with a guy like that? I said that in the conference call today, talking about the Jets having the chance to play with LaDainian Tomlinson. I can go on and on about different players and having the opportunity to play with them and see how they were. Jerry Rice, he went on to other teams after San Francisco and to have that opportunity to play with him and watch him work and to be in the presence of such a great player who has proven himself time and time again. Do I hope there is still some magic left with me, with him and this team? Absolutely. How could you not want to play with this guy? He can’t do anything but make us better and make the guys around us better. Will it happen Monday night? I have no idea. When they started to pursuit him? I don’t know for certain but it’s not like I went to Brad’s or Zygi’s office and said, “Hey, I think we need to make a play for this guy.” They may have been working on it back in training camp. That I don’t know for certain.
Q: What are your emotions looking back at the season you spent with the Jets?
A: I look back at it as, especially the start, to me, a successful year. Only one team, and I say this each year, in the end can say it was a complete success. It’s easy to make excuses and easy to say what if, would have, could have, should have. I take a lot of the blame for the fall at the end. I was injured. There’s no question my accuracy and velocity made a big difference in the passing game in the latter part of the year. In hindsight, I look back and think maybe I should have sat. It was discussed but I wanted to finish the job that I started. We started off great, almost too good. It was a fun year, it was a tough year, and I really enjoyed the players. Tannenbaum and I remain friends regardless of what people think. I think a lot of Eric Mangini. It was a good experience. Woody Johnson, great guy. What they have done there, starting with that year up to now has not surprised me one bit. They’re an aggressive organization who has made some good moves and they’re playing as good as anyone in football right now, no doubt.
Q: Is Randy the guy this offense is missing?
A: It’s easy to point to that, sure. Production in the passing game is not where it was last year; although, the first two games last year we didn’t have to rely on it as much. Once again, it would be easy to point to that as the missing ingredient. I think overall I can point to a lot of things, my decision-making, being able to make plays outside a receiver when you’re not open or in coverage. Protection can be a little bit better. I can go on and on. We’ve all had our hand in it. What that does is it puts pressure on the defense. If you think back to last year for the most part we were up in most games. It’s a different mindset for the defense and the opposing offense against our guys. They’re having to pass; we’re able to pin our ears back and it’s a different mentality. I’ve played over here when you’re playing from behind and it’s tough. Now all of a sudden we’re going into the latter part of the game and we’ve scored a touchdown. Teams can pound our defense and throw when they want, double Ray, double Jared. We’re running the ball well; really that’s been the bright spot. I’ve said that from day one, said it last year, say it again, that’s where we have to hang our hat. Now, off of that, we have to get better at play-action, screens. You think Randy comes in, we’re just going to throw it up to him? It’s 11 guys on him, we’re just going to throw it up to him? There may be times where that’s the case. I’m just joking, 10 guys, maybe. But he offers a totally different dimension. There’s still other plays that are good plays. If he’s drawing double coverage, much like Sidney did last year, somebody’s got to win underneath. Wes Welker’s done an unbelievable job at that. They’ve utilized him and used that to their advantage. We have to find that happy medium ourselves.
Q: Are you having problems with your elbow?
A: A little bit. I’m not overly concerned about it, but just based on my 20 years, there’s been little things that nag here and there. Of course it’s my throwing arm, so it’s a little more of a concern. I’ve probably iced more in the last weeks than I have in my career. I don’t want to say I’m getting overly mental, but I want to be crisp. I want to be smart about it, but I do need to work. It’s not like I’m throwing to these guys for 10 years. Brad and I, Darrell and I, we’ve talked about how many reps it takes and things like that. I need to take as many as I can, for obvious reasons. I’m trying to be smart about it, but I’m not too overly concerned about it right now.
Q: What was it like today now that you and Randy Moss are on the same team? Was it kind of surreal?
A: It is. I have to admit. All the years and talking about it, it’s been public. Last night I was talking to Deanna about it and she said, ‘You feel good about it?’ I said, ‘Boy, I feel a lot of pressure. More than I thought I was going to feel.’ ‘Why is that?’ ‘Now I’ve got to throw it to him.’ It’s not all of a sudden you play three games and he’s got two catches. Everyone will say, ‘Oh, what a union that is.’ I don’t want to think out of the box, but you bring him in for a reason. The guy is an unbelievable player. I’m like everyone else. I’m watching the Monday night game, and I’m like, ‘He’s only been thrown to one time?’ So what if he’s covered? That’s the thing about Randy. So what if he’s covered? But does that mean you just throw it to him and you got four other guys that are wide open? There’s this added pressure. Maybe it’s just I’m getting old.
Q: Were you surprised that Randy was available?
A: Yeah. Did I think they would give him up? Did I think anyone would give him up? No, but it happened. I was as shocked as anyone.