Moss practices with Vikes in old jersey
Randy Moss has returned to where it all began.
Wearing his familiar purple No. 84 jersey, the star receiver
practiced with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday a day after he was
acquired from the New England Patriots in a trade his new team
hopes will get them right back in the Super Bowl conversation.
”To all the Vikings fans that are coming to the Metrodome, pull
your 84 jerseys out, man,” Moss said. ”I think this is going to
be a fun ride.”
With owners Zygi and Mark Wilf watching from the sidelines, Moss
caught passes from Brett Favre and talked to offensive coordinator
Darrell Bevell as he prepares for Monday night’s road game against
the New York Jets.
”Who woulda ever thunk it?” Favre asked.
Moss spent his first seven seasons in Minnesota, emerging as the
best deep threat in the league. He was traded to Oakland in 2005
and spent the last three seasons with the Patriots before being
dealt back to the Vikings on Wednesday.
”I thought about this time and time again,” Moss said. ”How
is this thing going to play out? Is the love for me still here in
Minnesota? All I’ve been seeing is nothing but positives.”
No matter where he has played – in college, with the Vikings
after he slid down the draft board in 1998 or in New England after
many thought he was washed up – Moss has always played his best
with a chip on his shoulder.
That’s what the Vikings are hoping to see again.
”I think there’s always that,” coach Brad Childress said after
the trade was announced. ”The great thing about this business is
you have to do it every week. For anybody that is saying anything
bad about Randy Moss, he gets a chance to show them wrong. That’s
never a bad motivator.”
Moss became a star in college, when he ended up at Marshall
after off-the-field issues caused Notre Dame to rescind a
scholarship offer. He had two brilliant seasons with the Thundering
Herd, but he fell to the Vikings at No. 21 in the 1998 draft
because of concerns about his character.
Moss unleashed all that pent up frustration in his first season,
scoring 17 touchdowns and averaging more than 19 yards per catch to
help the Vikings reach the NFC title game. In his seven seasons
with the Vikings, Moss caught 574 passes for 9,142 yards and 90
But the Vikings eventually grew tired of Moss’s occasionally
petulant behavior, and shipped him to the Raiders in 2005. A few
nagging injuries and Oakland’s struggles on the field combined to
make his two years there largely unproductive.
The Patriots got Moss from the Raiders for just a fourth-round
His first year in New England ranks among the very best from any
receiver in NFL history, with 98 catches for 1,493 yards and a
record 23 touchdowns to help the Patriots reach the Super Bowl. He
caught 50 touchdowns in 52 games with the Patriots.
Moss entered this season in the final year of a three-year, $27
million contract and made no secret of his desire for a new deal.
He complained about not feeling wanted in New England and said that
he expected this year to be his last with the Patriots.
After going without a catch Monday night against the Dolphins,
Moss was traded to the Vikings.
”There was never any incident or discipline problem with
Randy,” coach Bill Belichick said Thursday. ”There never has been
one with me in four years. And it certainly wasn’t about contract
Now the Vikings are hoping Moss can find enough motivation to
return to his dominant form and revive a stagnant passing
”He looked right at home,” Childress said.
Favre has long hoped to play with Moss, and now he has the deep
threat he’s been missing since Sidney Rice had hip surgery in
”Did I want to get traded out of New England? I don’t know what
the answer is,” Moss said. ”All I can say is there’s no other
place I’d rather get traded to besides Minnesota.”