It turns out that the return of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings was a short-lived one.
The Vikings announced today that they have waived Moss, one day after the enigmatic wide receiver delivered a rambling five-minute post-game press conference that criticized Vikings coaches and praised his former head coach, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.
The decision to release Moss adds another layer of intrigue to a Vikings season that has delivered plenty of drama but has not resulted in a winning record for a team many had labelled a Super Bowl contender at the start the season.
On October 6th, Minnesota acquired Moss from the Patriots in exchange for their third-round draft pick in the 2011 draft. The Patriots also sent their seventh-round pick of the 2012 draft to the Vikings as part of the trade.
At the time of the trade, Minnesota’s passing game was struggling, and Moss’s addition was expected to revive the Vikings air attack. However, Moss failed to deliver big plays in Minnesota and struggled during his short stay with the team.
In four games with the Vikings, he managed just 13 receptions for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This week, against his former team in New England, Moss caught just one pass for eight yards.
Because the trade deadline has passed, Moss will be on waivers for 24 hours. ESPN is reporting that a number of teams are interested in Moss.
Of the playoff-contending teams, the Redskins, Rams, Bears, Raiders, Seahawks, and Chiefs are most in need of help at wide receiver.
With Moss on the shelf and with two more bye weeks remaining, his owners are left with the unenviable task of trying to replace the player they likely tabbed as a WR1 entering the season.
At this point, the only route to replacing a WR1 is via trade. However, moving Moss when he has little to no trade value is not a viable option. Moss owners should hold onto him and hope he ends up on a wide receiver?needy team that will be likely to use him in the starting lineup.
At this point in the season, only playoff contenders are likely to acquire Moss, given his surly reputation; and only those teams willing to use him as a starter are likely to be interested in paying for his services. However, given his lack of production in both New England and in Minnesota—and his quick flameout with the Vikings—don’t expect him to ramp up his production with the team he signs with.
The best hope for Moss owners lies in the Patriots bringing him back into the fold and reinserting him in the starting lineup. While that may seem a far-fetched proposition at initial glance, a closer look reveals valid reasons for the Patriots to bring him back.
While Moss clearly sulked his way out of New England, the Patriots passing attack has suffered since he left. This year quarterback Tom Brady passed for 911 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions with Moss in the lineup. In his three games without Moss, Brady has thrown for only 691 yards and three touchdowns with the same number of interceptions.