Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Can you name the only member of the Minnesota Vikings who averaged over five yards per carry, over 10 yards per reception and over 10 yards per punt return in 2006?
The answer is of course running back/receiver/return specialist Mewelde Moore who has played the role of the forgotten man this year for the Purple and Gold.
He's not injured (for once) and yet Moore has found himself inactive three times already in 2007 for a team struggling for the most part to find explosive plays on offense. Sure Adrian Peterson has been great, but eventually teams will make someone else beat them and when that happens I just can't see Troy Williamson answering the call more often than not.
In Moore, the Vikings have a guy who has proven he can catch the ball as well as contribute in a big way as a kick/punt returner and yet they seem unwilling to give him a chance to contribute. They must think he's valuable however, as they recently balked at trade requests from several teams involving Moore.
For a team so desperate for points, it boggles the mind why Brad Childress hasn't found a way to get Moore into the "kick-ass" offense which has mustered all of three passing touchdowns in five games.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Childress work with a guy named Brian Westbrook in Philadelphia who himself is an undersized jack of all trades? That's not to insinuate that Moore is quite the player Westbrook is, but the similarities are there.
In his second season as a pro (2003) Westbrook gained 613 yards rushing, 332 yards receiving and 306 yards as a punt returner. In Moore's second season (2005) he gained 662 yards rushing, 339 yards receiving and 245 yards as a punt returner.
For the record, that's 1,251 yards for Westbrook and 1,246 yards for Moore.
Before the season Childress promised to get Peterson and Chester Taylor on the field together; a situation that has yet to become a real part of the offense. But what about getting Moore out there alongside Peterson or Taylor to really give teams something to think about defensively?
At the very least can't we see Moore returning punts? Apparently not as Childress seems OK with the fact that Bobby Wade is only averaging 5.8 yards per return with a long of 13 yards. Numbers that aren't helping an offense that could benefit from a short field from time to time to take the pressure off their young quarterback.
Having spent time around him I know that Mewelde feels slighted by not having been given the opportunity to be the feature back after the 2005 season. And while he does pout from time to time about that very thing, that doesn't change the fact that he could be a very useful weapon.
For a guy who was raised in the West Coast Offense it seems very odd to me that Childress has been unable to get production out of a pass catching tailback with the ability to take it to the house at any time. It smacks of his total misuse of the tight end spot in 2006.
So while the Vikings continue to try and find points from someone not named Peterson or Longwell, Moore will apparently continue to waste away on the bench despite his considerable skills.