On the same night that Minnesotans celebrated the 25th anniversary of the "Miracle on Ice," it couldn't hold a torch to the story of the day – the end of the Randy Moss era in Minnesota.
The questions are numerous. Let's reduce them to a Top 10. There's no grading. But, there is a pattern.
No. 1 -- Who owns the Vikings? If you showed me a house, I agreed to buy it at your price and you tear down the garage, I'm either signing off on it or pretty upset. Soothing words from Reggie Fowler are in order … soon.
No. 2 – Motivated Moss? When Moss entered the NFL, he had a chip on his shoulder. How did he respond? 1,300 yards and 17 TDs – and he was credited with just 11 starts. Arguably, he hasn't been motivated since – and still set Rice-ian records. The only time (aside from a Super Bowl meeting) that the Vikes will see him is 2007 at the Metrodome (refer to Question 1, Glen). Prediction? 175 yards and three TDs.
No. 3 – Is it easy being green? Can money play into what looks like a low-ball deal? The Vikings got a bargain with Moss' original four-year deal. By moving him now, they absorb a cap hit of $4.5 million the next two years. But, with base salaries of $7.25 million, $8.25 million, $9.75 million and $11.25 million on the final four years of his contract, Moss was going to fill a lot of cap space. Thanks to the Raiders' cap purgatory, Napoleon "Dynamite" Harris – who is also under contract until 2008 – has base salaries of $541,000, $659,000, $776,000 and $894,000. Even if he stinks, he's worth that kind of ching.
No. 4 – Re-upping those season tickets? When Moss arrived in Minnesota, Vikings fans in the 75-mile blackout zone missed half their home games. Now there's a waiting list of more than 10,000. Coincidence? We'll see.
No. 5 – What to do with the seventh pick? If the Vikings don't lock up a wideout like Derrick Mason in free agency (refer to Question 1), do you replace Moss with the Raiders' No. 7 overall pick with someone like Mike Williams or, if insanity prevails, Braylon Edwards is still available and you have a choice? Don't be shocked if the better offers come for that pick than came for Moss.
No. 6 – We have more cap room, right? Yesterday the Vikings had $30 million in salary cap room. Hard as it is to believe, they have more room now. What do they do with it? That is a question that could move up as high as No. 2 in a hurry if the team sits still for the next month.
No. 7 – Is Napoleon Harris all that? He better be.
No. 8 – Will there be retribution? This trade can't be measured by what Moss does from here on through, but he should have gone into the Hall of Fame as a Viking. He won't. At least Cris Carter has THAT on him.
No. 9 – Whose team is it anyway? Daunte Culpepper has enough stroke with the team that he could have nixed the deal. He didn't. Welcome to franchise tag, Daunte. Your legacy depends on it.
No. 10 – Whose legacy is defined by this trade? Seeing as the Vikings coaching staff has one year left on its collective contract, Mike Tice could find himself watching Moss tear up the AFC from his couch in 2006 if the Vikings don't win in December. Moss' legacy is set. And Al will make a ton of money on silver and black Moss jerseys. I might buy one. He's that good.
How you answer these questions will go a long way to determining your allegiance to the Vikings. As far as I'm concerned, Moss should be inducted in the Vikings Ring of Honor. Not because they owe it to him – he has deserved it.
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