Pro Football Weekly asked Vikings play-by-play announcer Paul Allen three questions in the way of the Randy Moss mess.
PFW: You are hearing directly from the fans after the waiving of Randy Moss. Who are people most upset at?
Allen: Initially, people were more frustrated with the head coach, Brad Childress, than they had been before. But as stuff from behind the scenes came out on Randy Moss — yelling at a catering service, blatantly quitting on what should have been a touchdown against New England and refusing to fly back with the team from Providence, Rhode Island — the opinions are beginning to change.
PFW: Can the Vikings rally around all this in a weird way and somehow make a run?
Allen: They're going to have no choice. We all know that Brad Childress is not the most popular coach in the history of this fan base. A few prominent players told me this week: The last thing they wanted to see (heading) into the Arizona game was the head coach fired because they could just not absorb another major distraction during the season where we've had major distractions. So, they have to win the Arizona game; I think they have to win five to seven in a row to become relevant again. And it has to start this weekend.
PFW: Do the expectations for Sidney Rice contributing get unfairly ratcheted up now?
Allen: Well, I think that's an excellent way to look at it because I felt part of jettisoning Randy Moss was that they think Sidney Rice is closer than the media or the public knows. So I am not going to make a prediction on when Sidney is going to play, but it should be anytime soon. He's practicing (now), and with what he brought to this offense last year … he brought the double-coverage threat that Moss was bringing, except (Rice) also brought the splash plays 40 yards or more down the field. Last year, Brett (Favre) had 13 completions of 40 yards or more; this year he has none, and we had Randy for almost half the season. So even with Randy, granted things opened up for Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson. But there's a reason we still weren't closing things down the field. The hope is with Sidney coming back and without a bona fide locker-room distraction, then maybe they'll start getting more explosive in the passing game and maybe it will come in at just the perfect time. Sidney is not going to play this weekend, (but) we have to beat the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, no ifs, ands or buts.
Paul Allen is the voice of the Vikings and host of the "PA" show on KFAN radio in Minneapolis-St. Paul.