This Vikings team continues to put on impressive performances every week and the reason that it’s impressive is that they have yet to field a completely healthy team.
This week it was Randy Moss who went down (but not without scoring another spectacular touchdown), luckily with just a hamstring strain. The Vikings were forced to play more than a half without him and the offense never hesitated in his absence.
The telling statistics from the Vikings/Saints match-up is this: Six for 134. Those are Nate Burleson‘s receiving stats and they reveal more about Marcus Robinson than Burleson himself. They reveal just how much Robinson means to this team. The fact that our third reciever got six touches for one-hundred-plus yards tells me that teams are acutely aware that Robinson is a threat. With a Mossless Vikings, the Saints turned all of their attention to Robinson.
Robinson had four catches for 32 yards but two of them were touchdowns, one a pretty jump ball that would’ve made Randy proud.
The obligatory line on any story about Moore during training camp was that (I can practically recite it from memory) he was only the second player in NCAA history to amass at least 4,000 rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards with former Vikings running back Darrin Nelson the other.
All I can say, is: As Advertised.
Against the Texans, Moore gained 92 yards rushing, 90 receiving, and returned one kick for three yards; that’s 185 total yards from scrimmage. Against the Saints, Moore rushed 15 times for 109 yards, caught seven passses for 78 yards, and picked up 51 yards returning kickoffs for 238 all-purpose yards. He might have picked up another yardage category had a halfback pass play not broken down.
We haven’t had a running back like this since Chuck Foreman was wearing number 44 for the Purple. While not the exact same type of back, Moore’s got some of the same assets that made Foreman so dangerous. He’s got soft hands and knows how to run after the catch. But he’s not simply a screen-catching RB like Michael Bennett or Robert Smith before him. Mewelde can get upfield before catching the ball.
He runs well between the tackles, finding seams and breaking tackles. And he protects the ball. He does need to work on his pass blocking and at times, he still runs like a rookie by outrunning his blocking. But still, most of the time he has the patience of a veteran to let a play unfold.
It’s a hell of a luxury to have a fourth round, fourth string back with that type of production. Michael Bennett has been quoted saying, jokingly, the reporters are almost too quick to point out, that he’d better get back in there or he might lose his job. Bennett may be more right than he’d care to admit. Though healthy, he has lost his job for at least one week: Moore will start on Sunday against the Titans.