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What's next? - Vikings wondering what lies ahead for Moss

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Let's see, the Vikings are 0-3. Their top draft choice is sitting at home in Florida, nibbling on a Jenny Craig entree rather than suiting up. And their star player missed part of practice on Wednesday because he was in the slammer.

It just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?

"It's hard to not be addicted to Maalox," coach Mike Tice said.

Just another day in paradise for your Minnesota Vikings.

Not a lot of coaches have "Get wide receiver out of jail" written on their daily to-do lists. But Tuesday, Tice got a call from everybody's favorite wayward son, Randy Moss. The two had a very brief conversation.

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Moss: "Can you come and get me, please?"

Tice: "I'll be there."

But when Tice got to the lockup, he discovered that local police frown upon simply handing over someone who stands accused of trying to turn a traffic-control official into a hood ornament. Tice was not allowed to see Moss.

Now everyone is waiting for the first wave of repercussions. Will Moss be allowed to play Sunday night against the Seahawks in Seattle? What will be the public reaction?

Just one thing is certain: The organization is entitled to a refund from Moss' anger management class, provided Red McCombs held on to the receipt. Surely there was some sort of warranty involved.

"It's unfortunate that something like this had to happen right now," center Matt Birk said.

Well, it's never a good time to play bumper cars with a city employee who is on foot. But I know what Birk is saying.

"We're 0-3 and trying to get a 'W.' This doesn't help," Birk added.

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I wish I had a double-cheeseburger for each e-mail containing that response after Moss' comments about the Vikings being booed at the Metrodome last Sunday. I'd be able fit into Bryant McKinnie's sweatpants.

It seems the irony of the situation was not lost on the purple faithful, downtrodden as they are these days. Three weeks into the season, they've gone from bleeding purple to mostly just bleeding. This has been a difficult time for all concerned.

But Randy Moss is Randy Moss and nothing is going to change him. This isn't the first time he has been in hot water, and it won't be the last. He's got a lot of issues.

"Randy is a great guy," defensive lineman Chris Hovan said. "You hate to see this stuff happen to him."

Hovan is right. Moss really isn't a bad guy, and you do hate to see him in these situations. He doesn't wake up in the morning and plan on doing something that will put everyone through a lot of misery.

Moss also visits hospitals and does work in the community. He does so quietly, with as little fanfare as possible. That's the definition of true charity.

But he has his inner demons, and they have taken out a long-term lease. They are part of the package.

On the field, Moss never can be completely shut down. The best the opposition can hope to do is to keep him under control for as long as possible.

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The Vikings should adopt the same realistic attitude with Moss off the field. There are going to be incidents. The best strategy is to work hard to keep them few and far between.

Tice, Moss and the Vikings will get through this. Apparently, there is no rest for this star-crossed football team.

No one would be surprised to walk into the locker room this morning and discover a plague of locusts.

Tom Powers is a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

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