Moss Trade Hasn't Affected Ticket Sales

Can you believe it has been only 18 days (Randy Moss' new jersey number) since his trade became official? When the Vikings traded Moss to Oakland for linebacker Napoleon Harris and the No. 7 overall draft pick, fan reaction in Minnesota wasn't good. Coaches and general managers across the league reacted, but the moves the Vikings have made lately have had a positive effect on season ticket sales. We look at the reaction from league sources and the Vikings' ticket office.

When news first surfaced on the details of the Randy Moss trade, fan reaction in Minnesota seemed to heavily favor Oakland getting the best of the trade. It was similar around the league.

"Randy Moss is a great player. Our division as a whole was weakened when he left," Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "He meant a lot to the Vikings, and it should help us and the rest of the teams in our division."

Will the Bear's head coach miss Moss?

"Not at all," Smith quipped.

Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera is happy Moss is out of the NFC North division.

"Oh, absolutely," Rivera said. "Now we're thinking if we can get that guy up in Green Bay to retire we'd feel real good about things. It helps you when a great player like that does change teams and conferences, but in the same respect the guys that were there that were playing when he was hurt did a pretty damn good job for them, too, so they're still a pretty formidable offense."

"It does (change the Vikings offense), but I think too you've got to really look at the young guys that were playing receiver for them in 81 and 16 are two guys that were very explosive that we had trouble stopping. The running game was very good for them, too. So who knows, maybe this will change their outlook and force some guys to step up and be even better players than they were for them."

As a coordinator who went against Moss, Rivera knew he always had to account for Moss' positioning on the field.

"You most certainly do have to pay attention to him, and I think that's a direct tribute to his ability as a football player," Rivera said. "When you have to play against a guy that commands you either assign to him, assign two guys to him, he's a special guy, and Randy Moss was certainly a special player for them."

While Rivera is done game-planning against Moss twice each season, former Chicago and Green Bay assistant coach Bob Slowik has the misfortune of following Moss from the NFC North to the AFC West. Slowik is the new Denver Broncos secondary coach. When asked for his reaction on the trade, Slowik said, "Man, I can't get away from that guy."

But the moves the Vikings have made since that trade helped calm the waters Minnesota.

Ever since the trade, the mantra around the Vikings' Winter Park headquarters has been that defense wins championships. Besides getting Napoleon Harris and the seventh overall pick in the draft, the Vikings have added defensive tackle Pat Williams, cornerback Fred Smoot, middle linebacker Sam Cowart and safety Darren Sharper on defense.

That helped calm the initial reaction from fans, according to Joe Mee, the Vikings' manager of ticket operations. Mee said the ticket office initially received numerous phone calls from fans saying they were going to cancel their season tickets. However, most of them wouldn't give their name, so they might not have been season ticket holders.

With the addition of the free agents on defense, the reaction has turned positive. The Vikings still have 2,500 names on their season ticket waiting list.

"The more moves we make, the bigger the list," Mee said.

The team is experiencing about a 95 percent renewal rate, which is about average, Mee said. The ticket office has started calling those fans that haven't sent in their money yet, and most of those fans simply forgot about renewing and had a positive reaction to the Vikings' off-season moves, according to Mee.


While Vikings fans have been encouraged with the moves the team has made since the Moss trade, others around the league had many different reactions to the trade at the combine and since.

Here is a sampling:

  • Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, on the Ravens' pursuit of Moss in a trade: "We do most things aggressively. I'm sure, like a lot of teams, we were involved to see what the parameters were. Obviously, ending up with the seventh pick and a player of the caliber of Napoleon Harris, I don't know that we quite had that combination sitting there at 22, so obviously the price of poker accelerated very quickly. We would covet Randy Moss. He's an outstanding player. He's probably the most impactful player in the league, and Oakland is going to be in great shape with him there."

  • Moss had a mixed reaction, according to Dante DiTrapano, Moss' agent: "It's sort of a bittersweet moment for Randy. He had seven years in Minnesota, and he loved being a Viking. But, at the same time, this gives him a better chance to win a Super Bowl."

    The Raiders were 5-11 last season. The Vikings were 8-8 and won a playoff game in Green Bay.

  • Carl Eller, the most recent Hall of Fame inductee for the Vikings, said he wished Randy Moss and the Vikings could have been happier together. "Randy is going to be remembered as one of the great Vikings (of all-time)," Eller said. "And he has a lot of career left. I would like to see him go to a place where he can be happy and achieve, and realize his full talent."

  • Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green, who drafted Moss when he was coach of the Vikings, predicted Moss will play another seven years and challenge Oakland's receiving records. "He's a very young guy (28)," Green said. "He's got incredible talent. He likes to win. They like to throw deep. I think Al Davis, once again, he did it."

    But Green didn't savage the Vikings for making the trade.

    "Not many players start and end their career with one team in the National Football League," he said. "If Joe Montana can change teams, which he did, if Ronnie Lott can change teams, which he did, if Jerry Rice can change teams, and he did, then Randy Moss can change teams also," Green said. "I imagine he's going to make a push in the next seven years for the all the records the Raiders have, as he did in the (seven) years he played with the Vikings."

  • Some within the Vikings organization are suggesting some of the team's leaders were fed up with Moss and helped facilitate the trade. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper was quoted at the Pro Bowl as saying maybe it was time for Moss to move on. After the trade was finalized, Culpepper tried to shoot down the belief that he had anything to do with the trade.

    "This trade, I hated to see it," he said. "I can't speak for everybody. Moss rubbed everybody in different ways, but he wasn't that bad of a guy. He has a certain way of going about things that I definitely disagreed with him on. But he's still my friend and I never had any real beef with him."

  • Finally, the reaction in Oakland has been positive since the story broke. Raiders head coach Norv Turner offered this anecdote:

    "Driving into work that day, I thought I was going through a real bad incidence of road rage. A guy was honking at me — I thought maybe I had cut him off. He was hitting on his window. I rolled my window down and said ‘What's going on?' He's yelling ‘Randy! Randy!'"

    Syndicated content contributed to this report.

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