The 1998 first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings is a Viking once again after the team traded a third-round draft pick to the New England Patriots to acquire Moss.
Moss is in the final year of a three-year extension he signed with the Patriots in 2008, and the Vikings were willing to make the trade without another extension in place in order to get Moss to Minnesota before the heavy lifting of this week's game-plan installation starts on Thursday.
"I think Randy still might be a little shocked of the initial deal," former Moss teammate Cris Carter said on SportsCenter on Wednesday morning after the Moss deal was finalized. "Randy's thing is, right now is No. 1, he wants to be appreciated … and the appreciation comes with a contract extension."
That hasn't happened yet, but the trade pairs Moss with Brett Favre, the quarterback who wanted his former team to unite the two in Green Bay. Favre wanted the Packers to trade for Moss when the Raiders made him available in 2007, but the Patriots acquired him for a fourth-round pick. When he came up for free agency in 2008, Favre wanted the Packers to go for Moss again. He re-signed with New England on March 3, 2008, and Favre decided to retired – from the Packers, at least – the next day.
"I truly empathized with Brett. He had befriended and admired Randy for years and the two of them had dreamed of playing together," former Packers contract negotiator Andrew Brandt wrote on the National Football Post.
Right now, the Vikings have Moss for 13 games.
"It's nice for one season … if he gets the extension, he will be very happy," Carter said.
In 13 career game against the Packers, he's 6-7 with 66 catches for 1,243 yards (18.8-yard average) and 12 touchdowns. While he's caught more passes against Chicago (86) and Detroit (72), the yardage and touchdowns are his personal bests.
The Vikings will want Moss to be in uniform for their practice on Thursday, when their preparation for the Monday night game against the New York Jets starts in earnest, but Carter said Moss is a quick study.
"He has great football knowledge, so that's going to help the learning curve," Carter said, adding that Favre will help vocalize what sort of pattern he wants Moss to run on specific plays.
In his first season in the league, Moss had 1,313 yards receiving – last year, Sidney Rice had a breakout season with 1,312 yards but is on the physically unable to perform list after having hip surgery Aug. 23, leading to the Vikings' desire for a big-bodied receiver. Ever since his rookie season, Moss never looked back. His high point in Minnesota was 1,632 yards in 2003, but his low point in purple was the next season, when he had 767 yards in an injury-riddled campaign in which he still played in 13 games.
In seven seasons with the Vikings, Moss had 9,142 yards and 90 touchdowns, an average of 1,306 yards and almost 13 touchdowns a seasons. In his past three seasons with the Patriots, he had 3,765 yards and 47 touchdowns, an average of 1,255 yards and nearly 16 touchdowns per season.
His two seasons with the Oakland Raiders produced a combined 1,558 yards before the Raiders traded him to New England, where he experienced a rebirth with Tom Brady and company.
Surely, Favre is hoping for some more of that Moss magic.