Each Wednesday throughout the season we'll identify one player, coach or area of the team that is most under the microscope. This week it's Vikings WR Randy Moss.
Top topics of the week leading up to Vikings-Patriots on Sunday …
1. Brett Favre's ankle.
2. Brad Childress' decision on Favre.
3. Childress' mouth: On Favre, referees, Spygate and other interesting subjects.
Far lower on that list would be Randy Moss returning to New England. Weird, eh?
It's not as if Moss played a decade for the Patriots — he naturally has played longer for his former and current team, the Vikings. But his imprint on the Patriots' franchise and the nature of the biggest in-season trade in many years makes this a perfect-storm reunion.
Rest assured it will be a big deal come Sunday. Moss. New England. Halloween night. Expect the Moss masks/wigs/costumes to be out in full force in Foxborough.
"There will be a lot of those," Patriots QB Tom Brady said. "This will be a fun atmosphere — the throwbacks, the masks, all the different costumes. It should be a lot of fun with the 4:15 p.m. start."
It's worth noting how much the two franchises have changed in such a short time since the trade. The Vikings are 1-2 since then. The Patriots are 2-0 with two tough victories. Gone now is the talk about rebuilding without Moss.
This is not to suggest that Moss, who has 12-166-2 receiving in three games with his new team, hasn't made his impact felt. Other than his receiving, Moss has helped revive Percy Harvin, who is on fire now, and open things up for Adrian Peterson, now the team's most indispensible player.
But the feeling is that Moss needs to deliver something big, something memorable. What better time and place than on Sunday, back in New England. And, oh yeah, this would mean more than Moss just getting his revenge. The Vikings are 2-4 and badly could use a quality road win.
Moss was brought in to be a closer, not just an enabler for others. If there's ever a spot to have a big contest, perhaps matched up against rookie CB Devin McCourty and a Patriots team hurting at safety, this is it for Moss.
He might not be the man in the spotlight at this instant, but come Sunday — for better or worse — he will be.