1:00 PM ET, November 7, 2010
Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN
A season that began with hopes of their first Super Bowl appearance in 34 years has spiraled down quickly for the Minnesota Vikings.
Minnesota (2-5) lost in the NFC title game to New Orleans last season, and the Vikings hoped they would be the team representing the conference in Dallas this February.
Minnesota, however, opened 0-2 and is in third place in the NFC North, trailing 5-3 Green Bay and 4-3 Chicago.
Problems on offense have been a major factor in the Vikings' struggles, and the team had been missing Sidney Rice (hip), last season's leading receiver. Looking to give Brett Favre a dangerous target, the Vikings acquired Moss from New England on Oct. 6.
While Minnesota was aware of the Moss' negative reputation after he spent his first seven seasons with the organization, the Vikings hoped his immense talent would overshadow his personality issues.
That didn't happen.
After recording four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in his first game with Minnesota, Moss' production decreased each of the next three weeks and he was a non-factor in a 28-18 loss to New England on Sunday with one catch for eight yards. He also appeared to run at less than full speed on several pass plays.
The day culminated with Moss criticizing the organization in a post-game press conference, and he was released Tuesday.
"It was a poor decision," coach Brad Childress said of the receiver's acquisition. "I've got to stand up and I have to make it right. When it's not right, you need to make it right."
Favre, who in the past has had issues of his own with Childress, admitted he was "a little bit shocked" by the team's decision, but publicly supported the decision.
"We have to generate some spark," Favre said. "And I think that's what bringing in Randy was supposed to do. It didn't work out."
The Moss situation is the latest problem Childress has had to deal with as his team has failed to live up to expectations.
Favre has suffered through a disappointing year. Without Rice, who was activated from the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, Favre has struggled, throwing 11 interceptions and seven touchdowns. Last year, he threw 33 TDs and seven interceptions.
On Sunday, he played despite having suffered two fractures in his left ankle the week before and went 22 of 32 for 259 yards and one INT. He left in the fourth quarter with a cut on his chin that required eight stitches.
"I really can't complain, although I probably should," said Favre, who's expected to make his NFL-record 293rd straight start. "I have a broken foot. I have eight stitches in my chin. I've had tendinitis in my elbow, but I threw it as well as I have all season."
Arizona (3-4) has its own issues to deal with, and the team announced this week that Derek Anderson will start at quarterback Sunday. He started the first four games, but Max Hall got the call last week in place of Anderson, who has thrown seven interceptions and four TDs in seven contests.
Hall had two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first half of a 38-35 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, and Anderson came in and nearly rallied Arizona from a 17-point deficit. The comeback fell short, though, when he threw a key interception late in the game.
Anderson has completed 53.5 percent of his passes and leads the NFL's second-worst offense, which is averaging 284.3 yards.
The Cardinals did show some progress last week with Anderson throwing for 234 yards. He was helped by the return of receiver Steve Breaston, who missed three games because of arthroscopic knee surgery. Breaston caught eight passes for a career-high 147 yards.
"I always expect to be a big part of things," Breaston told the Cardinals' official website. "I fight hard. I consider myself a playmaker on this team. Anytime I go into the game, I expect when I get the ball to make the best out of it."
Arizona defeated Minnesota 30-17 on Dec. 6 after dropping the previous two meetings. The Cardinals have lost four straight road games to the Vikings.
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After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Cardinals-Vikings matchup.
1. Arizona needs to protect the pocket: The Cardinals have struggled at the quarterback position and have 12 interceptions, second-most in the NFL. Neither Derek Anderson nor Max Hall has stood out and both need time in the pocket to go through their progressions and read coverages. The offensive line has given up 22 sacks, third-most in the league.
|Avg Points Allowed||28.1||21.0|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||ARI|
|Rush Yds Allowed||ARI|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Minnesota leads 3-2|
|Dec 6, 2009||ARI 30, MIN 17|
|Dec 14, 2008||ARI 14, MIN 35|
|Nov 26, 2006||ARI 26, @MIN 31|
|Dec 28, 2003||ARI 18, MIN 17|