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Continued: Work habits, not tirade, cost Moss

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 4, 2010 - 6:58 AM

Apparently, when Brad Childress and the Vikings put Randy Moss on waivers, they had reasons other than his blast of the Vikings organization and his praise for the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick in his self-interview tirade after Sunday's game.

In speaking to some players, they claimed that Moss didn't go all out in practice and in games. Like he was quoted when he previously was with the Vikings, "I play when I want to play."

While Childress hasn't mentioned those reasons, the word at Winter Park was that the coach was pretty irritated that Moss didn't work hard in practice and sometimes in games while also being a bad influence in the locker room.

The Vikings were 1-3 with Moss, an indication that he didn't contribute enough to turn those games around. But Moss, who was double-teamed most of the time, might have been part of the reason why Percy Harvin had 19 catches for 287 yards and two receiving touchdowns in those four games.

I have been a big booster of Childress and believe he has done a great job, as indicated by his records of 8-8, 10-6 and 12-4 in the previous three seasons. The Vikings made the playoffs the past two seasons and were one game from the Super Bowl when the team lost to New Orleans last year. But this has been a tough season for the 2-5 team, with injuries to key players having something to do with some of the defeats.

However, some websites, which have been very unreliable of late, are predicting that Childress might be fired, and not just because of his poor record this year. More importantly, they say, was how he handled the Moss situation, that he didn't talk to owner Zygi Wilf before the decision to waive Moss, thus wasting a third-round draft choice and putting the team responsible for the balance of Moss' $3.388 million salary if nobody were to pick him up. Luckily, the Titans did pick Moss up on waivers, so the Vikings are off the hook.

Childress said he did talk to Wilf, but he didn't say whether it was before or after Moss was put on waivers.

Determined to make cut

No doubt Childress was so determined to get rid of Moss and the problems he was causing that he was convinced if he called Wilf, the Vikings owner would talk him out of it. An indication of how badly that Childress wanted to get rid of the bad influence on the team is that he told the players he was going to get rid of Moss even if it cost him his job.

You certainly can't compare Childress' situation with Tim Brewster at the University of Minnesota.

I know how much respect the Wilfs have for Childress, the good relations they have had with him and their appreciation for the job he has done.

Some in the media are predicting that Childress will be fired as soon as Sunday if he loses the Arizona game.

Regardless how upset Zygi and Mark Wilf are about the Moss situation, I can't believe they would even consider getting rid of Childress at this stage of the season.

Zygi Wilf will watch practice today. Once Wilf and Childress get a chance to sit down and talk, Wilf will understand why Childress felt that Moss' bad influence on the team would kill any chances of making the playoffs. And, if the team starts winning, everything will be OK.

After all, this is the same coach who brought the team one game from the Super Bowl a year ago.

Cuddyer in pain

Michael Cuddyer, who recently had knee surgery, said he played with pain in his knee all year.

"The pain didn't affect how I played, but it did bother me all year," he said.

Cuddyer injured the knee in spring training, but nobody realized what was really wrong. Now that he has had surgery, he said he believes he will be a lot more comfortable playing next year.

Cuddyer also had an operation recently to remove his appendix. Once he feels better, he will start getting the knee back in shape.

Cuddyer, who took over for Justin Morneau at first base, also said he will be glad to go back to right field next year.

Jottings

Brett Favre, speaking about the hit from Patriots defensive end Myron Pryor that required stitches in his chin: "I thought I got hit by a baseball bat. I have had every type of injury but not a hit like that." Hard to understand why a penalty was not called on the hit. And to date, the NFL has not fined Pryor.

In the two years that Favre has been a Viking, the Favre 4 Hope Foundation headed by the quarterback and his wife, Deanna, has given a lot of money to local charities. This year, it gave $600,000 to four local charities. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Hope Chest For Breast Cancer Foundation each received $100,000. And the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Midwest each received $200,000 grants.

Larry Fitzgerald, who attended Holy Angels and the University of Pittsburgh, might be the best wide receiver in the NFL. He comes to town to play with Arizona against the Vikings on Sunday. Fitzgerald, 27, is the youngest player in the NFL to have 550 receptions. Incidentally, if the Vikings are interested, Fitzgerald, a Vikings ball boy under Dennis Green, can buy out his contract after this year and be a free agent.

Interesting that the three Hennepin County commissioners who ushered in the tax that helped build Target Field -- Mark Stenglein, Mike Opat and Peter McLaughlin -- were easily reelected Tuesday. So was Gail Dorfman, who voted against it.

Speaking of Target Field, Bob Starkey played a big part in lobbying the state Legislature along with Jerry Bell for the building of the stadium. Now Starkey will try to help the Vikings lobby for a football stadium. Starkey sat in a meeting at Winter Park on Wednesday where the Vikings people talked stadium.

With the Wild's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, the team has five in its first 11 games. Last year, it took the Wild 14 games to get five victories.

Twins outfielder Ben Revere, playing with the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Winter League, is hitting .370 in 18 games.

Bryant Allen, the Gophers receiver who also was a member of the basketball team last year, will concentrate on football in the future.

Five high school basketball recruits -- Ian Theisen of Osseo, Reid Travis of DeLaSalle, Sam Mader of Appleton East in Wisconsin, and Joe Coleman and Jake Wright of Hopkins -- visited the University of Minnesota campus on Saturday.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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