Just when we thought all the same stories and rumors were making their way around the Minnesota Vikings, the improbable occurred. The team was sold (pending league approval), a star player was traded, and the Vikings intend on spending some money from the salary-cap vault, which has been secured as if it were contagious.
While the chain of events could be attributed to the proposed change in ownership, all indications are the organization was well on its way to making some tough decisions about this team. Despite repetitive claims of denial regarding the status of star wide receiver Randy Moss, the Vikings had been in discussions with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.
Simply, this was a deal that had to be made. Moss' attitude, questionable work ethic and separate set of rules had worn out its welcome within the Vikings' organization. While he remains a star-caliber, game-breaking performer, there was a notion that the explosive nature of the player — not only the one viewed on the field — may be on the verge of losing some of his luster.
As the 2004 season progressed, there had become serious reservations about the receiver gathering negative feedback, from some of the people within the organization that had been solidly in his corner. Whether issues were pointed to his lack of focus, effort or injury woes, signs in Minnesota were not overly positive.
"Randy was Randy, and we as an organization had dealt with his differences for quite a long time," a team source said. "He (is a game-breaking, explosive player, and that personality was carried over into the daily routine here and enough had become enough. If there was ever going to be a time to rid ourselves of the indifference, it was going to be now. There may never be a time where his value would be higher, and with the salary-cap ramifications his contract would have on the organization, the timing was almost perfect."
Moss was scheduled to make $7.25 million this year, followed by base salaries of $8.25 million, $9.75 million and $11.25 million through 2008. As his base salary began its rapid appreciation, he may have been harder to trade in the coming years, especially if his attitude and injuries continued to grow with his salary.
Following the departure of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and now Moss, concerns regarding the overall talent, scheme, and direction of the Minnesota offense are resounding. From who replaces the vertical threat in Moss to who is going to call and manage the offense, there are now questions on the offensive side of the ball for what had been one of the best offensive teams.
"Actually, not taking anything at all away from Scott (Linehan), but this may force us to get back to what we do best, be an offense which is diversified and balanced. We got away from that," the team source said. "We have already targeted some players we believe can come in here and are extremely productive. There are a couple receivers available that have been explosive players, as well as sound professionals. Our philosophy heading into the offseason is to compete for players we identified as guys we would like to acquire, step to the plate to get a deal done, but be fiscally responsible in this ever-growing time of throwing dollars around without accountability.
"You may never replace a player, a dynamic such as Randy Moss, but we have a plan which should minimize the impact. You never know what may happen when opportunity knocks and we are banging on the door."
Source Explains Decision To Trade Moss
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