Thursday, July 18, 2019
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Vikings look ahead to the Eagles
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Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss pretended to pull his pants down and moon the crowd at Lambeau Field Sunday, after scoring a touchdown against the Packers. He's been criticized by some for the act, and reportedly will be fined by the NFL. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images )
Minnesota Vikings fans are probably still a bit giddy after yesterday's 31-17 upset playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers. The team defied conventional wisdom, proving they could win a big game on the road and outdoors. Wide receiver Randy Moss caught two touchdown passes, but fans and the news media are still buzzing about how Moss celebrated one of those touchdowns.

Eden Prairie, Minn. — Nearly all last week, local and national media peppered Vikings players and coaches with questions about Randy Moss' early exit from the game with the Washington Redskins. A day after beating the Packers, Vikings head coach Mike Tice was apparently tired of talking about Moss' antics in the Green Bay game.

"Let's talk about the game this week," Tice said to reporters Monday. "I didn't see it until last night. I got no comment, so don't waste your breath."

Tice was referring to his star receiver's pantomime in the end zone after catching a fourth quarter touchdown pass. Moss turned his backside to the stands, and pretended to pull down his pants and moon the crowd.

Some speculate that Moss was retaliating against Green Bay fans who were verbally harassing him during the game. Tice says he doesn't know what motivated Moss, but he says he did hear some jeering from the stands.

"I always felt that Green Bay fans have a tremendous amount of class. I didn't see that displayed particularly often yesterday in some of things I heard -- that was unlike Green Bay fans," said Tice.

According to the Associated Press, an unnamed NFL spokesman says Moss will be fined for violating league rules that prohibit players from making obscene gestures. Tice acknowledged that the league had talked to him earlier that morning about Moss.

Football is entertainment. Some people come to see stuff like that to be entertained. You might get fined, but that's just football.
- Vikings tackle Bryant McKinney

But some of Moss' teammates downplay the controversy. Offensive tackle Bryant McKinney says Moss is just playing with emotion, and he says his stunt is not that much different from other end zone celebrations.

"That's just part of football. Football is entertainment," said McKinney. "Some people come to see stuff like that to be entertained. You might get fined, but that's just football."

Vikings coaches and players say they're able to ignore the media attention about Randy Moss. In fact, running back Mewelde Moore says the controversy has helped bring the team together.

"We got everybody's back on this team. That's what we're doing. We're going to be together, no matter what. That's what we do. We're going to stick together," said Moore.

The Vikings' next opponent is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles beat the Vikings 27-16 when they played earlier this season. Tice says he's concerned about the Eagles' physical defense and their quarterback, Donovan McNabb. But he says the Vikings can win if they play with the confidence and intensity they showed against the Packers. Tice says that came from an intense week of practice.

"I think teams feel good about themselves when they prepare well. And when you prepare well you gain more confidence," said Tice. "We certainly weren't going to have enough time to play a game in between Washington and Green Bay where we could gain that confidence, so it had to be done on the practice field."

The Vikings will also need to heal as they prepare for their next playoff game. Running back Moe Williams has a severely sprained ankle and is questionable. Randy Moss also has a sore ankle, but is expected to play. Meanwhile, the Philadephia Eagles will play without their star receiver Terrell Owens, who remains out with a leg injury.