The Minnesota Vikings waived wide receiver Randy Moss on Tuesday, just 27 days and four games after acquiring him in a trade from the New England Patriots. Head coach Brad Childress unceremoniously waived the 33-year-old wideout and as of this writing has yet to explain his reasons.
There are plenty of reasons being speculated upon, and chief among them is that Moss, who earlier in the season talked his way out of one of the most successful franchises in recent NFL history over a contract extension dispute, opened his mouth in front of the media again, and forced the coach’s hand in Minnesota to get rid of him again.
Like a jilted lover, Moss, after giving what appears to be a marginal effort in a game against his former teammates, proceeded to hug every one of them in sight after the game, praise them effusively in a post game press conference (saying how much he missed them) and then dumped blame for the loss on his current coaches from Minnesota.
Not exactly a Minnesota Hallmark moment.
In a span of a weekend, Vikings fans got a glimpse of the Moss they remembered from the first go-round: focus of the opposing defense’s game plan; half-hearted effort when he wasn’t the focal part of his offense; played when he wanted to play; rumors of him blasting people affiliated with the organization (the food service on Friday afternoon); and then theater of the absurd in front of the microphone. He topped it off by reportedly telling the coaches he would be remaining in New England after the game and not flying home with the team.
If any of this, if true, doesn’t conjure up images of the first seven years Moss spent in Minnesota, then you weren’t paying attention or weren’t able to see past his incredibly gifted play on the field. That is understandable, he is very possibly the most talented receiver to ever play the game. Exciting winning football has a way of covering up a lot of bad behavior.
But if everything coming out about his short stay during Moss in Minnesota 2.0 is true, then it appears to be pretty clear that Randy didn’t want to be here. It is entirely possible that now, adrift on the waiver wire of the NFL, Moss regrets the first press conference that precipitated his boot out of New England more than the one that got him waived in Minnesota. While the first may have been designed to get him a new contract, this one may have been designed to get him a new team.
If that is the case, then you can hardly blame Childress for making it happen. But that doesn’t mean Childress is blameless for this situation in the first place. Childress has control over the roster. Childress had say so when Moss was brought in. Moss’ reputation was known around the league and certainly at Winter Park, for Childress to not be aware of it is his own failing.
Perhaps he was aware of it, and is now cutting bait before things could get worse. But did he not know that making Moss a mere decoy first in Green Bay and then in New England might rankle the infamously itinerant Moss? Moss was unhappy because he wasn’t barely getting a look with the Patriots. He wanted love, respect and a contract extension from New England. Certainly the Vikings knew he would require the same once he got to Minnesota. Everyone who knows Moss certainly feared that the old Moss might rear his head once back in the familiar confines of Winter Park.
The deed is done, and he is waived; the only questions that remain are 1) Why? 2) How did you not see this coming? 3) What did you do to prevent it? and 4) Was waiving him the only option, because now you lost a third-round draft pick? How about a talk, a suspension, a fine, anything before this? Childress will hold a press conference on Wednesday when some of these questions will undoubtedly be asked. It remains to be seen if he cuts open a vein similar to the one Moss did on Sunday night, because now it is Childress in the crosshairs of a very unhappy Purple faithful.
It may have seemed that Moss had grown up a little during his absence, but his ego didn’t shrink after five seasons away. Even though he lost a step, his talent wasn’t diminished either–at least not in his eyes. Did the Minnesota coaching staff actually think that Moss would just be happy to be here having Brett Favre not throwing passes to him? Conventional wisdom around Minnesota was waiting for the other shoe to drop–because we all saw the first one.