Let's take a minute to get to know a bit more about the Steelers' one significant offseason acquisition to date: Vikings RB/PR Mewelde Moore. Most of this info was plucked from the Vikings' team website.
First, some on-field accomplishments and background, since that's what we're paying him for right? Did you know that Moore...
- Holds Vikings record with a 10.5-yard career punt return average.
- One of only two players in team history (David Palmer) to have 2 career punt return TDs.
This is one of the tidbits I'm most excited about. I'd rather cheer for a team that has competent offense rather than a team that relies far too heavily(imo too much so) on big plays from their gamebreakers in the special teams department. I'm referring to the Chicago Bears specifically here. Sure Hestor is electric and can keep you in games you otherwise might have no business winning, but still, it's not really a sustainable winning formula over the long-haul. Nevertheless, I sure grew tired watching our return game give us mediocre field position time after time. Even if Moore doesn't sniff the field as an offensive weapon (which I don't see being the case) he can still earn his keep just by making some plays in the return game. I, for one, think he's going to field kickoffs too, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the draft and in camp before we have a better idea what Tomlin & Co. is thinking in that regard.
Man, I hope to see his finger pointed
skyward on multiple occasions this year
- Not sure this one carries too much significance but the Vikings were 4-0 in games when Moore ran for 100+ yards. So you're saying the team was successful when they ran the ball well? Novel. In all seriousness though, Moore carries a low profile around the league, but he does have a track record, albeit a small one, of success as a RB in this league.
- Ranks tied with Herschel Walker for 10th place in Vikings history with 4 career 100- yard rushing games. Herschel played for the Vikings? Guess I do learn something new everyday.
- Along with Koren Robinson, who had a kickoff return TD at N.Y. Giants (11/13/05), marked only the 2nd time in team history that a player posted a punt return and kickoff return TD in the same game. Nice. I'm telling ya. Don't be surprised to see the guy returning kickoffs for us.
- Set a Vikings' record with 610 combined net yards in a 3-game span in 2004 (at Houston, at New Orleans, vs. Tennessee). My guess is Adrian Peterson shattered this record last year, but the Vikings haven't exactly been around for just a few years. The team's been around since 1961, and my guess is there were a handful of guys in year's past who handled both return and rushing duties. This is a fairly impressive record that Moore set.
- Joined Onterrio Smith as the only Viking rookies in team history to rush for consecutive 100-yard games (at New Orleans, vs. Tennessee) in 2004. Again, add Peterson to that list. After seeing these stats though, I wonder how exactly this guy got completely lost in the shuffle. Oh well, as they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure. He may be a reserve, but I sure think he has the skills to be a serious impact player for us if used properly. Fortunately for us, I think there is plenty of room for him to contribute. We'll see what happens with Davenport, but Moore's ability seems to provide more upside than Dookie's from where I'm sitting.
- Only player during the 2005 season to score by rush, reception and punt return. Remember the discussions we had amongst ourselves during the middle of last year about utilizing the short passing game more after it became clear that our offensive line wasn't going to hold up? Well, I thought we did a better job at times taking what the defense gave us and checking down or throwing quick hitting patterns before the pass rush came. But I didn't think we did it enough. I really, really hope Bruce Arians realizes this weapon he now has and finds a way to protect Ben and get the ball in Moore's hands in the passing game. It will open things up for Santonio and Nate deep; free up room for Heath in the seem; give Ben more room to scramble if necessary; and again, help keep our $100 million dollar man upright.
What about off the field? As we all know, the Rooneys aren't interested in bringing trouble makers and nerdowells to the 'Burgh, so it's not surprising that Moore's character and off field accomplishments are impressive enough to include in this story.
- Took 24 credits in spring 2004 at Tulane so he could graduate on time with a double major in Finance and Accounting. Moore's certainly not the only NFL athlete who found a way to graduate on time, but the list of players who pulls off a double major in Finance and Accounting has got to fit on one hand. Very impressive. In case you were wondering, Tulane is no joke academically.
- Moore was the recipient of the Community Service Award for Business Ethics at the Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs and Business School Council Awards Gala in spring 2003.
- Moore, despite not having the fat wallet that better known players may have, supports youth education through his Mewelde Moore Knowledge First Foundation, that he runs with his wife, Tymeka.
- And for good measure, how about this: Moore was drafted in the 4th round of the 2000 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres, spending 3 summers in the organization.
Jeez God, how about spreading out the wealth of talent a bit more, eh? This guy is a well-rounded person, athletically and academically. There's no doubt in my mind he's going to accept whatever niche he's assigned to on this team. I personally think that niche is going to be of greater significance than many might think, but we'll have to just wait and see. For the price though, we sure got a bargain. Another weapon for our offense; an upgrade to our special teams; and another Steeler who's going to carry on the tradition of giving back to the locals of Pittsburgh who invest so much of their time, money, and support to the great franchise.