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Vikings/Raiders-Moss on The Move; Deal Analysis

During Super Bowl week, scout.com was told that Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Randy Moss could be traded before the NFL Draft in April. Then on Super Bowl Sunday, February 6, we received <a href="http://vikings.scout.com/2/350114.html"> more information.</a>

There were so many denials by team officials that Moss would be traded that we wondered if indeed who was telling the truth? Our sources or the team?

A little over two weeks later, on February 23, it appears that the rumors not the subsequent denials will eventually become fact.

On March 2, Moss will be traded to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris, the Raiders first-round pick in this year's draft (seventh overall), and an undisclosed draft pick (expected to be a second day pick).

Who makes out in this deal? What does it mean for each team?

For the Vikings:

They won't have to continue to answer questions about Moss and his off and on the field antics anymore. They won't have to deal with a player that's a distraction. You know the rest.

While that may be the case, they gave up a first ballot future Hall-of-Famer and one of the best receivers of all time if he doesn't even play another game. They won't be able to replace what his talent brings to the table.

Who will replace him? The most likely possibility is former University of Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams should Williams prove he's in shape and his private workout goes well next month. Williams brings a physical presence to the position and has a big upside but he also hasn't played football in two years and at this point is an unknown quantity.

If they choose to go with another position with Oakland's pick, they could choose to sign a veteran receiver such as Plaxico Burress who would be a nice fit for the vertical passing attack which the Vikings employ. They could always look toward a defensive player such as University of Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle. He would help solidify their secondary.

In the meantime, third-year receiver Nate Burleson, who had a terrific sophomore season, will have to have his maturation process accelerated even further this season. With Moss done, more will be expected and also from veteran receiver Marcus Robinson who at times last season showed that he had some gas left in the tank.

With Harris, they get a linebacker who is in the prime of his career. While he's nowhere near an All-Pro, Harris is a decent linebacker who can come in and start inside for the underachieving E.J. Henderson. Harris is a good tackler and a smart player who will fit well in defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell's system.

Overall, the Vikings still didn't get enough value for the league's top receiver when you compare what they received in return. For a player who brings so much to the table of raw numbers such as Moss, two first-round picks and a top-flight starter would be more like it. It makes you wonder if they talked to other teams and if they did, what was offered?

The one positive of all this is the Vikings have more cap space than any team in the NFL and if they choose to spend most of it, they can still put a pretty good team on the field in 2005.

For the Raiders:

They'll have to find a replacement for Harris. As of now, they don't really have one on the roster assuming they stick with their 3-4 defensive alignment. There should be decent enough inside linebackers in free agency to replace him.

What they get with Moss is obvious. You get the best receiver in the game who is in the prime of his career. You also get a perfect fit for there down field passing game that head coach Norv Turner uses.

Couple Moss with Jerry Porter and what you have is perhaps the best receiver combination in the NFL with a quarterback in Kerry Collins who has a gun for an arm.

You also get a player that will play hurt. Moss hadn't missed a game until this past season.

The negatives are also obvious. Moss is far from a team leader and those close to the Vikings say that he's far from a supportive teammate. You know about his antics and everything that comes with it.

Overall, the positives with Moss outweigh the negatives and no matter how you slice it, the Raiders made out on this deal and will be a better team for it.


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