How Bad Is Moss' Foot?

Randy Moss

Two days into the three days Randy Moss will be working out at Winter Park and the questions that began last year are taking on more significance.

Two things were certain about Randy Moss' appearances on the practice field at the Vikings minicamp. First, he is still not running at full speed while he continues to battle plantar fasciitis. Second, he is considerable heavier this year than when we last saw him on the field against the Cardinals.

While Moss and coach Mike Tice have both dismissed the injury as something he can fight through, the questions persist -- to the point of irritation to Moss.

"I don't care if I'm 85 percent, if I'm 100 percent, 50 percent or whatever percentage I am," Moss said Friday. "I'm going to play."

Tice echoed those sentiments earlier in a conversation with VU, saying that Moss has suffered through the injury since the middle of last season and his production didn't drop.

"Maybe that's one of the advantages of being a coach who was a player," Tice told VU. "I had plantar fasciitis for an entire season and I played through it. It hurt like hell, but you can play through it."

The bigger question that hasn't been adequately addressed is whether Moss' increased size could create a problem down the line. Moss has never missed a game due to injury as a pro, but has suffered leg injuries each of the last three years -- taking an annual beating on the Metrodome turf. When he came to the Vikings, he was rail thin and, as he matured, he got more into lifting weights and adding muscle to beat the jam at the line. He came into last year's training camp five or more pounds heavier -- all muscle -- and didn't lose any of his deep speed.

While Moss has been shutting down the running portion of his off-season workout program, he has remained steadfast in the weight room. The result was somewhat shocking for those accustomed to seeing Moss in previous seasons. He is 15 pounds heavier than his 2003 listed weight of 200 pounds and thinks he can play at 215 to 220 pounds without losing his speed.

But, there must be some concern that the added bulk could lead to injuries. One of Moss' contemporaries -- David Boston -- was a phenom when he burst on the scene with the Cardinals, but he got into intense weight training and bulked up to the point that he has sustained injuries in each of the last three seasons. Perhaps not coincidentally, he will be playing for his third team in three years when he starts over (again) with the Dolphins.

Moss, Tice and those willing to talk about all say they're not concerned about Moss' health heading into training camp. But, with so much of his off-season routine -- which has obviously been very effective in the past -- changed so drastically, how can the team not have some sense of panic if the throbbing in his foot doesn't go away and stay away?

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