While Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss was an electrifying talent that produced consistently in his first seven seasons, he was also someone that brought a great a deal of controversy that put himself and the Vikings in a bad light in the media. After his antics from this season, the Vikings felt it was time that they and Moss parted ways.
On Wednesday, FOXSports.com writer Jay Glazer reported the Vikings and the Oakland Raiders have agreed to a trade that would send Moss to Oakland for linebacker Napoleon Harris and two 2005 draft picks, the seventh overall and a later round draft choice.
It was almost clear that something was going to happen to Moss when Vikings head coach Mike Tice after the Divisional Playoff loss at the Philadelphia Eagles said he would like to mold Minnesota into more of a running team.
“I’ve said many times before-until the leadership takes over the locker room we’re not going to make the big jump to where they need to be,” said Tice.
What have the Vikings lost by trading Moss to the Raiders? In his first seven seasons with Minnesota, Moss accumulated 9,142 yards receiving, the most by any wide receiver in their first seven years.
The team’s entire offensive philosophy was built around Moss’s ability to make acrobatic catches against smaller corners and safeties.
In just his rookie season alone back in 1998, the Vikings sold out every game, including those during the preseason. He caught 17 TD passes, and was instrumental in leading Minnesota to the NFC Championship game versus the Atlanta Falcons.
In 2003, Moss had had 111 receptions for 1,632 yards and 17 touchdowns, both career highs. He is the only wide receiver in the history of the National Football League (NFL) to have over 1,000 yards receiving in his first six years. This past season, Moss had 49 catches for 767 yards and 13 TDs.
Despite the numbers he produced and the headaches he gave defenses, he also gave the Vikings organization headaches with his spontaneous behavior and poor decision making on and off the field.
According to FOXSports.com, Moss in 1999 was fined $25,000 by the NFL for squirting an NFL referee with a water bottle. In 2002, he was fined $1,200 by a judge for bumping his car into a traffic officer in downtown Minneapolis.
In this season alone, Moss’s actions have put the Vikings in a number of situations where they had to explain themselves.
After walking towards the locker room in the final seconds of the Vikings 21-18 loss at the Washington Redskins, team leaders quarterback Daunte Culpepper and center Matt Birk confronted Moss in the locker room afterwards.
Then one week later in the Vikings 31-17 Wild Card Playoff victory at Green Bay Packers, Moss after scoring his second touchdown early in the fourth quarter went towards the end zone goalpost, turned his back to the Green Bay fans and faked as if he was going to pull down his pants.
“He’s my good friend, but you almost get to thinking that maybe enough is enough. Maybe the Vikings organization has had enough,” Culpepper said at this year’s Pro Bowl, according to a Thrusday report from Sportscenter anchor Steve Levy.
The Vikings in the end, got rid of a player who was a distraction and grabbed a player in Napoleon Harris who could be of some serious help to a defense that was ranked the bottom half of the NFL.
How will Moss now fit in Oakland? He should fit in quiet well with a team that has a lot of mercurial personalities like defensive tackle Warren Sapp and cornerback Charles Woodson.
Moss also allows the Raiders on offense the ability to make big plays down the field with the vertical passing game, which is something that Raiders owner Al Davis has embraced forever.
In the 1980s, Davis put together a roster of streaking track stars who can run up and down the field. He hopes that Moss can help duplicate that same type of offense with quarterback Kerry Collins and receivers, Jerry Porter, who just signed a new four-year $20 million deal on Tuesday and Ronald Curry.
While the Vikings lose someone who was the identity of their offense for seven years, they also get rid of someone was a distraction.
The trade will not be made official until March 2, 2005, in which the NFL fiscal year commences.
Moss will bring a lot of excitement to the offense side of the ball for the Raiders, but will he make that team better in the win column that remains to be seen.
The Raiders, according to FOXSports.com would like to restructure Moss’ contract to make it more cap friendly, but the trade will not hang in the balance if a new deal does not get accomplished.