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Prime Time Preview: Vikings vs. Jets

Last week, I picked against my own team and paid for it — royally. The Patriots thrashed the Dolphins in Miami and finally proved they can win a significant game on the road. They then promptly shipped their star wide receiver to the Vikings, who conveniently find themselves right in the mix of our Prime Time Preview this week.  For week five, we’re highlighting the Vikings trip to the New Meadowlands to take on the Jets as our marquee match-up.

Why Should I Watch?

For one, these are two of the better teams in the NFL, despite the Vikings slow start.  More importantly — RANDY MOSS.  Moss has returned to where he started his Hall of Fame career, only this time he joins Brett Favre.  Favre always wanted to play with Moss and has finally gotten his wish.  Whether or not the two will click is as good a side story as any you will see in the NFL this season.

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Glen Coffee Arrested for Having a Cocked Automatic Pistol…Huh?

I’m not sure the higher power that Glen Coffee allegedly retired from football for would appreciate hearing this.  Not long ago, there were rumors that Coffee had decided to leave the 49ers to pursue religion and maybe even become a minister.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember many stories about ministers being arrested for carrying a loaded automatic weapon.

If you were shocked to hear that religion was the reason Coffee left football after barely even getting his career started, this should shock you even more.  According to the report, which was brought to our attention by The Big Lead, Coffee was pulled over for speeding in his Cadillac when it was discovered that the car wasn’t registered.  Police then had the car towed and found a “cocked” automatic pistol during a quick search of the car.

I don’t know how the process of becoming a minister works, but I can’t imagine an arrest for packing heat would be a plus in any way.  Would they do a background check?  If so, I don’t think this radar blip would help Coffee.  I wonder if the “higher call” he left the NFL in search of had this in store for him.  The good news: Roger Goodell can’t punish him as far as I know.  You never know, though.  He’s a pretty powerful dude.

Photo: TMZ

Call the Whambulance: Ben Roethlisberger Says He Contemplated Retirement

Ben Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowl championships.  At age 28, he’s in the prime years of his career and has a great opportunity to accomplish a lot more before he hangs it up.  Yet somehow, Roethlisberger has already contemplated retiring from the game of football.  No, seriously.  He said that.

There was a time when I was going through all this that I contemplated not playing anymore.  I didn’t want to be Big Ben anymore.  And I know that’s what goes along with being No. 7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Roethlisberger said on NFL Live.  “So part of me, I can admit didn’t want to play anymore.  And go coach or do something else.”

Waaaaaah.  Waaaaaah.  So you were involved in a sexual assault scandal and it resulted in people making some cruel t-shirts about you.  Life goes on.  I’m not trying to downplay the difficulties Roethlisberger must have faced while he was suspended and dealing with people not believing anything he said.  It’s tough, but you don’t run from something like that.  You prove you’re a changed person and come back and start over.

Maybe he’s telling the truth, but personally I don’t buy it.  I think Big Ben (yes I enjoy calling him Big Ben even more now) is just being over-dramatic in trying to prove he’s learned his lesson.  He knows he’s 28 and he knows there’s still plenty of people in Pittsburgh who think he’s royalty.  If nothing else, I suppose I’ll give him an A+ for effort in the “proving you’re a changed man” category.

Mike Sims-Walker Taking Heat from Fans on Twitter for Two Catchless Games

One of the wonderful aspects about twitter is the way it gives fans access to players and other sports personnel. One of the worst aspects of twitter is the way it gives access to players and other sports personnel. Jaguars wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker knows about the bad part first hand. His Jags are 2-2 and the funny thing is he’s been held without a catch in both of the team’s wins. Even if the Jags are satisfied with their wins, there are legions of people who aren’t: Sims-Walker’s fantasy owners. Those foolish enough to draft MSW apparently have been letting him hear about it on twitter recently:

“I’ve never seen this many bitter people in my life. They’re calling me everything in the book: ‘I’m benching you, you’re this, you’re that, you’re trash.’ It kind of hurts a little bit.

“I have no control over it. I wish they could understand. It ain’t like I’m out there dropping balls or not getting open. You watch the film. I’m doing everything I can possibly do to put myself in the right position, but it’s just not working for me right now.

Sims-Walker is a good player and probably the best receiver on the team, but people who drafted him expecting consistent production were sorely misinformed. Last year, MSW had five games with two catches or less, four of which generated fewer than 20 yards. He’s a good player, but he’s always been inconsistent. And you know what? As long as they keep winning, I’m guessing the team won’t have a problem with it. A note to MSW fantasy owners: follow our waiver wire advice, pick someone else up, and lay off the man.

Patriots Considering Bringing Back Deion Branch for Another Run

In line with my thinking that the Randy Moss trade made perfect sense and shouldn’t have come as a surprise, I feel the same about the possibility of the Patriots bringing back Deion Branch.  Branch, the MVP of Super Bowl 39, was an enormous part of the success New England had during its years of NFL dominance.  It’s no secret that the Patriots’ decision to let him walk in 2006 for financial reasons was one that deeply upset Tom Brady.

On paper, it would appear the Patriots were right to let Branch walk after their championship season in 2005.  He signed a six-year, $39 million deal with the Seahawks after leaving New England and has not lived up to it.  The 53 receptions he had in 2006 were the most he had as a Seahawk, and injuries have prevented him from emerging as a true No. 1 target.

However, there’s something to be said for chemistry.  No two players for the Patriots had more chemistry earlier this decade than Brady and Branch.  Removing injuries from the equation, what turned out to not be worth $39 million for Seattle could have ended up being worth every penny for New England.  As we all know, hindsight is pointless in the world of professional sports.  What’s done is done, and the Patriots should realize they made a mistake in letting their quarterback’s favorite target go and bring him back for another run.

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Seahawks Are Trading Away Too Many Draft Picks

The Patriots are getting criticized by some folks for trading away top players each of the past two years, but at least they’ve been stocking up draft picks for the future (and 2010 too). The same cannot be said for the Seattle Seahawks. Their organization is trading away picks as if Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider don’t plan on being with the franchise in two years.

Since taking over the team early in the year, the duo has made several moves that impact future drafts. Here are some of the players they’ve acquired via trade and the compensation they’ve dealt away:

    > Traded 3rd round pick in 2011 to Chargers for QB Charlie Whitehurst
    > Traded 4th round pick in 2011 and 5th or 6th in 2012 to Bills for RB Marshawn Lynch
    > Traded (reported) 6th round pick in 2011 to 49ers for DL Kentwan Balmer
    > Traded (reported) 7th round pick in 2011 to Eagles for OL Stacy Andrews
    > Traded (reported) 7th round pick in 2011 to Lions for OL Tyler Polumbus

They also acquired Leon Washington and LenDale White for picks in this past year’s draft, with White getting cut and Washington practically winning a game for them on his own. Now the easy thing to say is that these are all low-level picks and probably won’t hurt them. While they weren’t as foolish as the Raiders who dealt a first-round pick for a player, people who follow football know that there are plenty of talented players available in the draft in rounds 3-7.

The Charlie Whitehurst trade stands out as the worst of the group. I don’t understand how they could justify giving up a third for a guy who was never going to be more than a backup quarterback. Other people think they got Marshawn Lynch for a low price. I disagree; I haven’t seen anything from Marshawn that indicates he can be a difference maker. Particularly on the Seahawks where their line isn’t too good, I don’t see how Lynch is going to offer much more than what they already had. Maybe Seattle sees the potential to upgrade their roster and make a run at the division and playoffs in a down NFC West. I get that, but I believe they’re hurting themselves for the future much more than they’re helping themselves in the present.

Minnesota Vikings Launch Team Merchandise Vending Machines

Last week the AP wrote that the Minnesota Vikings were launching vending machines full of team merchandise. I thought this was a creative and clever idea and couldn’t wait to see what the machines looked like. Well, a week later we have photos of the first team vending machine located at the Mall of America. Suffice it to say they’re a wee bit more complex than the machines at the supermarket that cost a quarter per spin.

Even though the Vikings are already pimping Randy Moss #84 jerseys you won’t be able to find them in the vending machines. It was determined that jerseys were too large and expensive to include in machines. Yeah, that seems like a no-brainer. I’m still getting used to seeing shirts and hats in there but the whole thing is pretty cool. The company that designed them has plans to do the same thing for six other teams so keep on the lookout.