Vikings on a Moss mission

The Vikings are trying hard to get Randy Moss back in purple, according to multiple reports, and a deal could be done as soon as Wednesday morning. The trade would bring Moss back to Minnesota and join him with Brett Favre, who has long wanted to play with Moss.

The Vikings are working on a trade for the kind of receiver they haven't consistently found since Randy Moss left Minnesota. And Randy Moss might be the receiver coming back.

FoxSports.com reported Tuesday night that the Vikings and New England Patriots are in "serious trade talks and are very close to a deal" that would put Moss back with the team that drafted him in 1998.

Since then, Moss has been a fan favorite for many Vikings followers and the receiving game hasn't been consistent since the franchise shipped him to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris, a first-round pick and a seventh-round pick in 2005.

That deal was made before Zygi Wilf officially owned the team, before Brad Childress was the head coach and before Rick Spielman was hired as the vice president of player personnel.

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. Now, however, Moss is in the final year of his contract and a report from Comcast in Boston says he was unhappy Tuesday morning after being targeted only once and held to no catches in a Monday night win over the Dolphins. The report also said Moss and New England head coach Bill Belichick had words.

It wouldn't be the first time the Vikings tried to take advantage of a star player unhappy with his contract. That happened in 2008, when the Vikings lured Jared Allen from Kansas City after his relationship with then-Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson became strained beyond repair. The Vikings gave up a first-round pick, two third-round picks and traded sixth-round picks to acquire Allen and signed him to a long-term deal before the 2008 draft.

Clearly, Vikings players were intrigued by the possibilities of Moss joining the Vikings. On Twitter, receiver Greg Lewis wrote, "Moss to the Vikings. Hmmmm!" Bryant McKinnie wrote that his timeline was filling up with questions about Moss.

Percy Harvin tweeted that it was news to him and that everyone would "find out together."

Brittany Favre, the oldest daughter of Brett Favre, wrote that she called her dad after hearing of the team's reported interest.

"Just called dad. No "hello" just "I don't know yet." Guess I wasn't the first to call," Brittany wrote.

She was hoping for it to happen and wrote that she had her "fingers crossed."

"I hope I wake up to moss on our team. Could be better than Christmas," she wrote later Tuesday evening.

THIRD TIME A CHARM?

Those who know the history of Favre's desire to play with Moss can rest assured that the quarterback is hoping it will happen. Former Packers contract negotiator Andrew Brandt detailed Favre's desire to play with Moss when the Raiders were making him available in 2007.

Brandt, who is now the president of the National Football Post, wrote on his web site that Favre and Tom Brady were both trying to lure Moss to their respective teams in 2007, but Moss reportedly wanted a one-year deal then so he could be back on the free-agent market after what he hoped would be a much more productive season and therefore garnering a bigger payday. The Packers weren't willing to do a one-year deal, leaving Favre "livid" – Brandt's word – that Green Bay let him go to the Patriots.

"I truly empathized with Brett. He had befriended and admired Randy for years and the two of them had dreamed of playing together," Brandt wrote. "Here was an opportunity for us to make it a reality. But ultimately, we stood on our principles requiring more than a one-year commitment."

When Moss exploded for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2007, he got his financial reward – a three-year, $27 million contract with $14 million guaranteed. But the Packers were among the teams hoping to sign him as a free agent that year. As Brandt pointed out, when Moss re-signed with the Patriots on March 3, 2008, Favre decided to retire – from the Packers, at least – on March 4.

Now, Moss could be looking for a deal in that $9 million per year price range. (Interestingly, Moss' agent is Joel Segal, the man behind the infamous "poison pill" contract that the Vikings signed with Steve Hutchinson back in free agency in 2006.)

Moss asked for a trade after Week 1 of this season, according to the Boston Herald, and the trading deadline is at 3 p.m. Central Oct. 19. The Vikings traded defensive end Jayme Mitchell on Tuesday for a 2012 late-round pick, and they didn't immediately fill his spot. That could be a sign the Vikings are hoping to have Moss on the roster when they resume practice on Thursday (their schedule is later this week with a Monday night game against the New York Jets).


Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.

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