- Associated Press - Sunday, November 7, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Larry Fitzgerald Jr. had been eagerly anticipating the second game of his career in the Metrodome, perhaps even more than the first one back in his home state of Minnesota.

Fitzgerald couldn’t wait to see his friend Randy Moss in purple again, playing under the big white roof where he electrified fans the first seven years of his NFL career.

Fitzgerald, a prep standout at the Academy of the Holy Angels in suburban Minneapolis, was a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings when Moss arrived in 1998. Moss and Fitzgerald quickly became good friends, with the superstar deep threat showing the up-and-comer some tricks of the trade.

Fitzgerald put those lessons to good use in college at Pittsburgh and with the Arizona Cardinals since 2004.

Alas, there will be no reunion when the Cardinals visit the Vikings on Sunday.

Vikings coach Brad Childress cut Moss last Monday, just four games after the team acquired him from the Patriots for a third-round draft pick.

“I’m biased a little bit because I know Randy personally,” Fitzgerald said. “I was a little sad to see him go. I was looking forward to catching up with him this weekend. That’s the NFL. It’s always changing. Nothing stays the same.”

The swift decision surprised most everyone in Minnesota and has turned up the heat on Childress, who has never been a fan favorite in these parts despite winning the last two NFC North titles and taking the Vikings to the NFC title game last season.

Moss wasn’t terribly productive in his return to Minnesota, but did open things up for Percy Harvin over the middle. But the Vikings lost three of the four games they played with Moss, and the receiver’s notoriously poor attitude showed up toward the end of his second run with the Vikings.

Sitting at 2-5, Moss didn’t give the Vikings the boost in the win column they had hoped for, and now they find themselves right back where they started _ with a receiver corps that lacks a proven deep threat.

“We’re back to where we were four weeks ago,” Brett Favre said. “The fact is, 1-3 over the last four games, is not what we had hoped for. Not one man’s to blame. It’s a collective effort.”

With Kurt Warner in the analyst’s booth after retirement and Anquan Boldin playing in Baltimore, the Cardinals (3-4) haven’t been able to get off the ground this season. They rank 30th in the NFL in passing offense and have rotated Max Hall and Derek Anderson at quarterback, with neither one even a shadow of the accurate, quick-trigger leader that Warner was.

“We haven’t gotten the play out of that position that we have needed thus far into the season,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That has been a contributing factor as to why our record is where it is.”

Steve Breaston missed three games with knee surgery, allowing opposing defenses to focus solely on stopping Fitzgerald. He was asked whether the Cardinals should have brought his buddy Moss into the mix to spice up the lifeless passing game.

“To have a player of his caliber would definitely elevate this team and help you,” Fitzgerald said. “I didn’t know what the Cardinals were going to do but if he were to come I’d welcome him with open arms.”

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