Vikings deny Moss trade talk

OWINGS MILLS -- In the latest installment to the Randy Moss saga, the Minnesota Vikings have denied another report that the controversial wide receiver is on the trading block.<br><br> After ESPN reported that Vikings owner Red McCombs has granted permission to his football staff to trade Moss and that the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders would have serious interest in the All-Pro, McCombs and Moss' agent said that's not true.

"I don't know why this thing keeps being brought up," Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brezinski told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "It hasn't even been discussed at all."

Moss' agent, Dante DiTrapano, told the newspaper he has spoken to Brezinski and agreed to postpone potential trade discussions until later in the off-season.
No trade can be officially consummated until March 2, the launch of the free agent signing period.

The Vikings are reportedly seeking a combination of draft picks and players and prefer to obtain a defensive starter.

A year ago, the Vikings were asking for three first-round draft picks in exchange for Moss. One report has the Raiders dangling cornerback Philip Buchanon and draft picks in exchange for Moss. Another says that the Ravens would consider offering their first-round draft pick and outside linebacker Adalius Thomas.

Now, it's more likely that Minnesota would ask for two first-round draft picks and a starter.

Moss has four years remaining on his eight-year, $75 million contract with $36.5 million owned on his current deal in base salary as the $18 million in guaranteed money has been paid.

Moss' remaining base salaries are $7.25 million for 2005, $8.25 million for 2006, $9.75 million for 2007 and $11.25 million for 2008.

However, a team could lower Moss' base salary and salary-cap impact if his base salary was restructured to the league minimum and converted the difference into a guaranteed bonus payment.

Meanwhile, McCombs has been involved in discussions with Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler about possibly selling the Vikings.

It's unclear what Fowler's opinion is of a potential Moss trade; if he views him as an untradeable asset or a valuable commodity that could be bartered to upgrade the franchise's overall depth.

Moss, who turns 28 Feb. 13, has caught 574 career passes for 9,142 yards and 90 touchdowns. In an injury-shortened 2004 campaign, Moss caught a career-low 49 passes for 767 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Those totals still eclipse what Travis Taylor, the Ravens' leading receiver in terms of yardage, registered with his 34 receptions for 421 yards and no touchdowns.

With Kevin Johnson leading the team with 35 receptions, Baltimore is the only NFL team to not have a receiver catch 40 passes as the Ravens finished with the 31st passing game in the league.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times and Ravens Insider


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