NEW YORK (AP) — The return of receiver Randy Moss this week has recharged the Minnesota Vikings’ faltering Super Bowl hopes and further spiced up Brett Favre’s return to his old employer the New York Jets on Monday.
Moss spent his first seven seasons in Minnesota, emerging as the best deep threat in the NFL. He was traded to Oakland in 2005 and spent the last three seasons with the New England Patriots before being dealt back to the Vikings, where he was warmly embraced.
Vikings quarterback Favre has struggled with only two touchdowns and six interceptions since his favorite target, Sidney Rice, had hip surgery in August. He has long hoped to play with Moss, and now he has a receiver that will help an offense sorely in need of a complement to running back Adrian Peterson.
Moss said he thinks it’s “going to be a fun ride.”
“I’d be kidding if I said I wasn’t excited about the opportunity and thought of playing with Randy,” Favre said. “I’m speaking for every quarterback, how could you not be excited about playing with a player who has been dominant throughout his career?”
Moss caught 50 touchdowns in 52 games with the Patriots, but wanted a new deal in this final year of a three-year, $27 million contract, and complained about not feeling wanted. After going without a catch last Monday against Miami, Moss was dealt to the Vikings.
Favre came out of his first retirement and revitalized the Jets for one season — in 2008 — and made the image-lacking team relevant again until he tore his biceps late that season. His decision after that season to retire again — albeit briefly — cleared the way for the Jets to draft Mark Sanchez, and they’ll finally meet at New Meadowlands Stadium.
The Jets would love to have cornerback Darrelle Revis back in time to defend Moss. Revis strained his left hamstring while covering Moss, then with New England, on a touchdown catch in Week 2 and hasn’t played since.
The Jets know Santonio Holmes will be, finally adding the former Super Bowl MVP to an offense that has looked impressive lately without him. Holmes missed the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
The Jets have swept three games against division rivals New England, Miami and Buffalo and can truly back up their boastful ways by beating Minnesota.
Things could start getting sorted out in the NFC East on Sunday as all four teams in the league’s most disappointing group play non-divisional games.
It’s stunning how this usually powerful division has been so mediocre. The Dallas Cowboys are the biggest flop with one win in four games, but neither do the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles have winning records.
Washington has the early edge thanks to wins over Philadelphia and Dallas. The Giants don’t play a divisional game until Oct. 25.
Outside of the NFC East, New York has a win over weak Carolina and a 10-sack demolition of the Chicago Bears, but looked awful in losses to Indianapolis and Tennessee. Those same Bears romped at Dallas, and Green Bay manhandled the Eagles in Philly. The Redskins blew a big lead against Houston and also fell to St. Louis — which might not be so embarrassing now that the Rams are tied atop the NFC West, which also is a train wreck.
Dallas hosts Tennessee on Sunday, while Washington is home for Green Bay, Philadelphia is at San Francisco, and the Giants are at Houston.
It’s hardly surprising there’s an undefeated team in the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts. It’s just shocking that the Chiefs are the league’s only unbeaten team. Kansas City’s doing it with a strong running game led by Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and a vastly improved run defense.
Beating the Colts would stamp the Chiefs as legitimate contenders, even if Indy is battered on both sides of the ball, particularly in the secondary. Peyton Manning is off to one of the best starts of his illustrious career with 11 touchdown passes and one interception. But the Colts have a 2-2 record even though they have the top three receivers in their conference.
“We’re going to need all the tips we can get to conquer this one,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “Peyton’s the best quarterback in the league.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, it’s New Orleans at Arizona, St. Louis at Detroit, San Diego at Oakland, Chicago at Carolina, Denver at Baltimore, Atlanta at Cleveland, Tampa Bay at Cincinnati, and Jacksonville at Buffalo.
Off this week are Miami, New England, Seattle and Pittsburgh.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.