Pepp and Moss: Movin' On

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper is going to find himself playing somewhere else this year, as will his former running buddy Randy Moss. The Vikings organization was crucified by fans for trading both Moss and Culpepper, but, with hindsight as our guide, both would appear to have been good moves considering their post-Vikings life.

The Vikings organization came under fire when it trade Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper in consecutive springs. As a pair of fan favorites, nobody came close to selling as many jerseys as Nos. 84 and 11 – and still haven't.

But considering the decisions made over the past two months, perhaps the Vikings knew what they were doing. Fans were outraged that Moss was only worth one first-round pick, despite being the seventh overall selection. They thought he should be worth a pair of first-rounders or better. As it turned out, Moss did very little with the Raiders in his two seasons there – getting accused of being a cancer in the locker room and a constant source of trouble for former coach Art Shell and a non-entity with new coach Lane Kiffin.

When the Raiders traded Moss draft weekend, all they could settle on in return was a fourth-round pick from the Patriots – and many felt they were happy and/or lucky to get that. What a drop from the seventh overall pick to a fourth-rounder as compensation in two years.

The same would seem to be true with Culpepper. Fans were again outraged when Pepp was traded for just a second-round pick to the Dolphins last spring. Then-coach Nick Saban was convinced that Culpepper was a steal and, despite doctors reports that he should rest his ailing knee and trifecta of ligament tears, Culpepper was pushed out early, played in the preseason and started for the Dolphins in the season opener before he should have.

When Saban went turncoat on the Dolphins, Culpepper's future went out the door with him. The new regime seemed bent on acquiring Trent Green and, after months of talk, got that done. With injury liabilities, the Dolphins don't want Culpepper at their minicamp and, if a trade can't be worked out – who wants to assume Pepp's $5.5 million salary without knowing if his knee will ever be 100 percent? – he probably will be released today before minicamp begins.

Vikings fans' outrage over the trading of their two biggest stars in consecutive seasons was only made worse by the fact that the picks they received for Moss and Culpepper were used on Troy Williamson and Ryan Cook – a pair of players that don't exactly demand fan confidence. But the reality is that, in hindsight, the Vikings made the right moves by shipping off the players when they did. Neither player performed anywhere near the level they did when with the Vikings, and the value the Vikings got back in return was much greater than what the teams that received them got.

While Moss and Culpepper still have a future in the NFL and could make the Vikings eventually eat their words, as the dust settles on both their careers, it has been straight downhill since leaving the Vikings, and the Vikes would seem to come out better in the exchange.


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