Moss wanted to avoid doing 'something stupid'
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Randy Moss has refused all week, as he has most of the season, to speak with Minnesota reporters.
He did, however, grant an interview to ESPN -- a portion of which aired Thursday evening. Asked about his decision to walk off the field with 2 seconds remaining in last week's game while the Vikings tried a desperation onside kick, Moss claimed he left to avoid doing "something stupid" in frustration -- like tossing his helmet or launching a stream of obscenities.
"I didn't really mean for it to be as negative as it was," Moss said.
The seventh-year receiver was also asked if he thought Mike Tice -- whose contract option for 2005 has already been picked up -- was the right coach for the team.
"All I know is I got his back," said Moss, who didn't give Tice a clear endorsement.
"I don't know if it's a good fit for him to be here, or if it's not a good fit for him to be here," Moss said. "That's not for me to decide."
At Tice's request, Moss called in his weekly radio show -- creating a lively three-way exchange between the coach, the receiver and KFAN-AM host Dan Barreiro. Tice and Moss stressed that no animosity lingered in the locker room for Moss' early departure from the field.
Much of the conversation, however, centered on Moss' willingness to talk with national outlets and ignore local requests for interviews. Moss said he felt the local media was too negative.
^TRASH-TALK IN THE TRENCHES?:@ Packers nose tackle Grady Jackson was sick on Wednesday, so he was asked whether he'll be able to be effective in Sunday's game.
His answer? A resounding yes, even against Vikings center Matt Birk.
"I know Matt Birk can't block me 1-on-1, so I look at it like I'm going to have a double-team block every time," said Jackson, a 6-foot-2, 340-pounder who signed with Green Bay midway through last season.
Jackson reiterated his stance that he can't be blocked 1-on-1 by Birk, a four-time Pro Bowl selection.
"He tried, but he got that 15-yard penalty," said Jackson, referring to a crucial holding call on Birk that wiped out a first-down run by Michael Bennett late in the Dec. 24 game at the Metrodome.
With a big smile, Birk declined comment.
"Freedom of the press," he said. "You can say whatever you want."
^ALL-PRO:@ Kevin Williams received another prestigious honor on Thursday -- a spot on the Associated Press All-Pro team. Williams, who leads all NFL defensive tackles with 12 sacks, received more votes than anyone else at his position. He was joined on the team by New England's Richard Seymour.
Center Matt Birk (three) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (one) were the other Vikings to get votes.
^HEALTH REPORT:@ Wide receiver Kelly Campbell, out of his sling, participated fully in Thursday's practice, and he's expected to play Sunday despite a separated right shoulder. The Vikings haven't used many four-receiver sets lately, so Campbell's playing time hasn't been as high. He is, however, the primary kickoff returner, and his status in that role will be determined later.
^LOOKING AHEAD:@ The Vikings revealed their 2005 season ticket prices, which start at $99 and go all the way up to $1,050 for the 10-game packages. Five of the eight price levels are in the $300-$680 range.
Though dates and times won't be announced by the league until April, regular-season opponents for 2005 are set. In addition to the usual two-game series against each NFC North opponent, the Vikings will host New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Pittsburgh and travel to Atlanta, Carolina, Baltimore and Cincinnati in predetermined matchups against the NFC South and AFC North, respectively.
For a second-place finish in the division, Minnesota will also play the No. 2 teams from the NFC West (St. Louis, at home) and NFC East (New York Giants, on the road.)
Yes, once again, the Vikings play the Giants -- and hope a loss doesn't signal the start of a slump.
^QUICK HITS:@ Quarterback Daunte Culpepper became a two-time winner of the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award, presented annually to the Vikings player who is most cooperative with the media. Tight end Byron Chamberlain won in 2001, and Birk got it in 2002.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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