Typical day against Packers for Moss

Receiver enjoys stellar day

By Troy Young

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green; Bay Packers cornerback Mike McKenzie may want to shave some of the braided rug he has draping out of his helmet and halfway down his back. His locks may be causing too much turbulence, judging by the way Randy Moss blew by him Sunday.

Taking advantage of several situations where the Packers secondary didn't double-cover him, Moss opened the 2003 season on a strong note making nine catches for 150 yards and one touchdown Sunday in the Vikings' 30-25 win over Green Bay.


Maybe the Vikings were just a year late on implementing the Randy Ratio.

"I've never really been a big fan of the Randy Ratio, to tell you the truth," Moss said. "You can go back to my quotes…; I've never thought the Randy Ratio would help us win. So let's leave it at that."

Moss has had several big games against the Packers, dating back to his Monday Night Football debut as a rookie in 1998, when he caught five passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns.

"Since my rookie year, the excitement we had in our locker room... I'll never forget," Moss said. "Lambeau has a lot of tradition. I think that's what drives me to come out and here and do (well)."

'SOD' a DNP: Self-proclaimed "Steal of the Draft," Onterrio Smith, was active but did not play Sunday. Smith, the Vikings' fourth-round draft pick, was expected to play Sunday, considering Michael Bennett was in civilian clothes and Doug Chapman was gimpy.

But effects of Smith's contract holdout -- he reported to training camp a day late -- may still be lingering.

"He's not ready to play yet -- period," Vikings head coach Mike Tice said. "You have to know pass protection, you have to know your routes. When I find a guy who can go in there and pick up his protection and knows his routes -- he'll; be in there."

The Vikings' running back by committee was a committee of two Sunday. Moe Williams rushed for 80 yards on 22 carries and Daunte Culpepper ran for 50 yards on nine carries. Speedy receiver Kelly Campbell had one carry for 15 yards, Chapman had four carries for nine yards.


COMEBACK?: Even with a 27-3 lead, the Vikings secondary, which made four interceptions, knew Packers quarterback Brett Favre had another comeback in him.

"With No. 4, it's never quit," said cornerback Brian Williams, who intercepted Favre in the end zone late in the first half, then returned it for 77 yards. "That's a guy you can't intimidate. You can't shake his confidence."

Corey Chavous, who had a key interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter, said the Vikings always get chances to create turnovers against the Packers because of Favre's aggressive nature. He occasionally forces throws to receivers who aren't open.

"You get your chances to make plays with this guy," Chavous said. "You just have to catch the ball."

'A' FOR ELLING: Any concerns about starting a rookie place-kicker were dismissed. Rookie Aaron Elling, who was cut by Seattle during training camp last year, was 3-for-3 on field goals hitting shots from 22, 46 and 34 yards. The Vikings knew Elling could kick field goals. They were dissatisfied in training camp with his kickoffs. But with the exception of one kick, all of Elling's kickoffs reached the 5-yard line.

ROAD BLOCK: It didn't take long for the first official's call to be challenged. At 9:06 of the first quarter, Favre threw a pass intercpeted by Vikings Brian Russell, who appeared to trap the ball. Packers coach Mike Sherman threw the red flag, stopping play and sending the call up to the instant replay booth. Officials ruled Russell trapped the ball, and the Packers retained possession.

UPNEXT: The Vikings' home opener is against the Chicago Bears next Sunday at 7:35 p.m. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.

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