Report: Vikings 'very close' to deal that would bring Randy Moss to Vikings
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Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported on Tuesday night the Vikings are "very close" to completing a trade with the New England Patriots that would bring seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Randy Moss back to Minnesota.
The hang-up, per Glazer, is that a new contract likely must be finalized first for Moss, whose base salary this season is $6.4 million -- more than $3 million below the average of the top 10 receiver salaries in the NFL in 2009.
According to Glazer, the sides are working on that new deal for the 33-year-old receiver, although ProFootballTalk.com reported they've yet to discuss terms and NFL Network reported the Patriots haven't given any team permission to discuss a deal with Moss' agent, Joel Segal.
It's no secret the Vikings have been looking for a big target to help Brett Favre as their downfield passing game has sputtered without top receiver Sidney Rice (hip surgery) during a 1-2 start. They signed Javon Walker before cutting him, pursued suspended San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson last month and signed Hank Baskett.
Still, a deal to bring back Moss -- the Vikings' first-round draft pick (21st overall) in 1998 who was traded to the Oakland Raiders in 2005 -- would be nothing short of stunning, despite the apparent unraveling of his relationship with the Patriots.
Moss (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) has only nine catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns this season, and he didn't have a reception in Monday's 41-14 win at Miami. He's also made clear he wants a new deal -- telling reporters after the Patriots' opener that he preferred to stay in New England but felt unwanted, and reportedly having his agent, Joel Segal, request a trade.
He was a divisive figure during his seven seasons in Minnesota, too. Moss' trangressions on the field (squirting a water bottle at an official in 1999, leaving the field early during a 2004 game at Washington, pretending to moon fans at Green Bay in a 2005 playoff game) and off it (pushing a traffic cop with his car in 2002) at times overshadowed his remarkable production (six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career before being slowed by a hamstring injury in 2004).
The Vikings traded Moss to Oakland on March 2, 2005, for linebacker Napoleon Harris and two draft picks, including the No. 7 overall selection they used on receiver Troy Williamson. The deal in essence was a bust for both sides, as Moss managed only 102 catches over two seasons before getting dealt to New England on draft weekend for a fourth-round pick in 2007.
That marked one of at least two occasions on which Favre, who has said this is his last season, pushed hard for the Green Bay Packers to acquire Moss. Favre was livid when the Packers balked at Moss' demand that he receive only a one-year deal, rather than a two-year deal, and the Patriots got him instead.
The Packers showed interest in Moss again after the 2007 season before he re-signed with the Patriots on March 3, 2008 -- one day before Favre announced his first retirement.
One other point of intrigue in all of this: the Vikings visit the Patriots on Oct. 31.