Yesterday’s game showed a lot of both the good and bad of this year’s Vikings team. They made fewer mistakes than in previous weeks, and (as always) got a great performance from their defence, but displayed yet another inconsistent offensive effort.
I didn’t see the first few series, tuning in with the score level at 7-7. It was yet another forgettable first half for Brett Favre and the offense, and they went into the locker room at the half down 14-7. According to Judd Zulgad, it was Randy Moss who gave the inspirational half-time speech to the troops:
Randy Moss departed the home locker room Sunday without talking to reporters. The mercurial wide receiver had five receptions for 55 yards in his first game as a Viking at Mall of America Field since 2004, and thus his silence did not come as a surprise.
It turned out, however, that Moss’ refusal to speak did not extend to venting at his teammates at halftime of the Vikings’ 24-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Moss, who rejoined the Vikings in an Oct. 6 trade with New England, let it be known that he had seen enough after watching a second consecutive opening half of offensive ineptitude from his new team.
“I think it was a matter of fact, what we needed to hear,” quarterback Brett Favre said after the Vikings improved to 2-3 and dropped Dallas to 1-4. “It wasn’t anything scientific. It had a couple of choice words in it that I’d rather not use.”
Whatever Moss said, it worked.
Percy Harvin showed that he’d been paying attention to Moss, taking the second-half kickoff back for a touchdown, tying the score at 14-14. Adrian Peterson scored a short-yardage TD a series later, giving the Vikings their first lead of the game.
The Cowboys responded with a TD pass from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant, victimizing backup cornerback Lito Sheppard, who appeared to be trying for the interception instead of the pass break-up. The final points of the game were a field goal by Ryan Longwell, which was set up by E.J. Henderson’s second interception of the game (and only the fourth of his career).
Update: I think this AP photograph by Andy King, published by the Pioneer Press clearly shows Sheppard’s attempt to catch the pass:
If he’d just gone for the block or deflection, I think he’d have broken up the pass nicely.