While an interesting insider's read, one can only imagine what sort of animosity the Vikings-Packers rivalry would have if the Packers had manned up, bent to the wishes of Favre – who badly wanted Moss on the team – and taken a roll of the dice on greatness.
The tone of the story came from inside the Packers organization, where, from 1999-2008, Brandt was a vice president with the team and in charge of negotiating contracts. He was at the center of the hurricane and, when it became obvious Moss was going to get traded by the Raiders, the only question was who was going to be the highest bidder.
Between the first and second day of the 2007 draft, the Packers and Patriots got in a bidding war of sorts for Moss. On a night/morning in which Seattle got a higher pick for pedestrian wide receiver Darrell Jackson from division rival San Francisco than what was being offered up for Moss. Favre and Patriots QB Tom Brady were both working the phones with Moss – an ironic twist given the Vikings' recent covert op to corral Favre three years later.
At the heart of the story was one of the few true Defcon 5 war room moments, what kept Favre and Moss from being reunited in the NFC North. Moss insisted that, while he would tear up the final two years of his deal – a lofty $20 million – for about $3 million, he would only sign a one-year contract. He wanted a big pay day and was willing to put his future earnings on the line. A third-round pick was all that stood in the way. The Packers wanted a two-year deal. It didn't get done.
Turns out, Favre and Moss had forged a competitive friendship and the quarterback was none too happy that Moss got away. He had offered to help the team pick up the $3 million tab by reducing his own salary. He literally put his money where his mouth was. The deal didn't get done and Brett was upset.
Bus Cook, Favre's agent, did the talking with Ted Thompson, or, more accurately, Brandt. Thompson didn't get involved with those discussions and, as a result, the fracture between Favre and Thompson started to widen. Given Moss' record-breaking 2007 season, it didn't help the relationship and, following that season, Favre and the Packers quasi-officially parted ways … but not until the team failed once again to sign Moss to a free agent contract – he re-signed with the Pats to make another Super Bowl run.
Think Favre still holds a grudge about that? Without being prompted, he brought up Moss at Wednesday's press conference. He was addressing a relatively generic question about a tall wide receiver, and his admiration of Moss surfaced once again.
His invocation of Moss for no real reason tends to cut to the heart of what led to the demise of the Favre era in Green Bay. Despite a successful season in which the Packers were an overtime drive away from the Super Bowl, Thompson pressured Favre for a decision on 2008. We have since learned that's not the way to approach an older version of No. 4.
The Favre era with the Vikings will be noteworthy for its hope and promise. But, if not for the inability of the Packers to unite Favre and Moss, they might both be with the Packers right now – unless they won a title and both retired.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.