Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings expect different defensive schemes without Moss

Posted by: under Vikings, Vikings players, Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice Updated: November 4, 2010 - 10:27 AM

The statistics suggest Randy Moss didn't have a huge impact in his four games with the Vikings. He caught 13 passes for 174 and two touchdowns.

But Moss clearly opened things up for other players by drawing so much attention. On Sunday, the Patriots placed safety Brandon Meriweather deep on Moss' side every play. The Patriots weren't going to let Moss beat them deep over the top.

But that opened up the middle of the field and Harvin took advantage on intermediate routes. He caught six passes for 104 yards and found lots of room to run.

In four games with Moss, Harvin caught 19 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowowns. The Vikings expect defenses to play them differently now that Moss is no longer part of the offense. Harvin in particular said he expects to draw more attention.

"It’s definitely going to get a little tougher as far as the double teams and the brackets," Harvin said. "I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of that coming up. But we’ve just got to game plan around that."

Harvin was able to play more in the slot with Moss here, but he'll likely have to play on the outside more until Sidney Rice returns. Bernard Berrian is expected to start on the other side.

"Just going back to where it was before," Berrian said. "So just got to make the best of the opportunity."

Rice returned to practice Wednesday but he still might be a week or two away from returning. Hopefully we'll know more about his status and possible return date after media access today.

But Berrian needs to step up and give the offense a vertical threat, something he hasn't been able to do this season. He has only nine catches for 87 yards and no touchdowns.

Asked if this opens up opportunities for him, Berrian said: "That all depends on the play-calling and what Brett does with the ball. All I can do is run routes and get open."

Harvin said on Wednesday that he hadn't talked to the coaching staff yet about how his role might change without Moss. 

"Not specifically," he said. "We do know the defenses will change and our offense will change. But we’ll get Sid back pretty soon so we should be alright."
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