Jim Souhan article on Moss and Smith.
This article sums it up pretty well, as far as I'm concerned. I also like his new interpretation of Onterrio Smith's self-styled nickname 'SOD'.
Jim Souhan, Star Tribune
May 20, 2005
Mike Tice calls it juice.
The Vikings coach loved to brag that Randy Moss had it -- uncommon talent combined with a prima donna's arrogance.
When Moss got hurt last season, Tice quickly applied that definition to a young running back named Onterrio Smith.
"He's bad," Tice would say appreciatively. "He gives us juice.' "
That quality is getting squeezed from the Vikings locker room.
Moss, in case you missed it while rehearsing your filibuster, got traded to the Raiders in March. Smith was suspended for one year, pending appeals, under the NFL drug policy on Thursday.
Now the Vikings are without two talents who could cause a defensive coordinator to chew through his headset.
And the Vikings are better off.
They're better off having this happen now, when they have time to adjust before training camp starts.
And they're better off ridding themselves of their problems in May instead of October.
What the Vikings need is not more juice, but stronger glue.
They will miss Moss' big plays. He might be the most talented receiver ever to play the game, and he might thrive in Oakland, although I suspect a year with Kerry Collins will make him miss Daunte Culpepper the way Kobe Bryant missed Shaquille O'Neal.
It was time for Moss to go. Walking off the field in Washington, D.C., was the last in a long line of embarrassments, and it was incumbent upon the Vikings -- especially Tice -- to stop enabling his behavior, and move toward the kind of locker room cohesion and pyramid-of-power structure that wins in today's NFL.
Smith is a power runner capable of complementing the Vikings' two quick, injury-plagued halfbacks -- Michael Bennett and Mewelde Moore.
Without Smith, the Vikings have to hope those two stay healthy, or that rookie Ciatrick Fason is, as Smith always claimed to be, the SOD (Steal of the Draft.)
Smith, it turns out, was Still On Drugs.
The roster would look much more impressive if Moss and Smith had behaved themselves. But that didn't happen.
A recent Sports Illustrated story portrayed Moss as misunderstood. This was one of those silly pieces of magazine journalism in which a stranger pretends to know the subject better than those who have observed him for years.
Moss wasn't misunderstood. He forced us to perceive him as a moody, arrogant, erratic talent by insistently showing that side of himself. He produced lots of touchdowns and zero Super Bowls, and you can expect both trends to continue.
Similarly, there are no mysteries regarding Smith. He has chosen a Ricky Williams lifestyle over a Daunte Culpepper lifestyle.
Both men seem to have lots of fun. One has done so within the confines of the U.S. criminal code.
Smith pledged his allegiance to Mary Jane instead of Matt Birk, so he deserves to be punished. He and Moss proved they were unreliable, and Twin Cities sports history is filled with failed athletes who didn't deserve the many chances afforded them.
Even if Smith somehow won his appeal and was reinstated, the Vikings should send him packing.
The New England Patriots have proved you can win with solid citizens, smart players and superior coaching and management.
The Los Angeles Lakers of Bryant and O'Neal have proved you can turn incandescent talent into textbook dysfunction.
Spend time around the Twins, and you find a loose clubhouse that enables them to play to their abilities.
Spend time around the Wolves last year, and you saw a tense, paranoid bunch who played below theirs.
Wednesday, a visitor to the Vikings locker room heard the tight ends and linemen tossing barbs at each other as if they were taping an HBO sitcom.
The lines can't be repeated in a family newspaper, but it all began when tight end Sean Berton critiqued Jermaine Wiggins' practice sweats.
Somehow, a half-hour later, this turned into a Wiggins monologue predicting that Roger Clemens -- "The Rah-ket" -- will return to Wiggins' beloved Red Sox. Wiggins delivered it as various offensive linemen questioned him on various personal habits.
Without Moss and Smith sulking and skulking through the room, it looked like a good place to work.
"From the fury of the Northmen, O Lord, save us!"
-- From a monestary in Ireland.