As a columnist who totally backed Brett Favre in his showdown with Packers general manager Ted Thompson, it kills me to admit this:
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The Minnesota Vikings are living the nightmare Thompson avoided when he dumped Brett Favre for Aaron Rodgers.
Saddled with a 1-2 record, a one-year $20 million contract for Favre and a Super Bowl-or-bust mentality, the Vikings are doubling-down on their conundrum by trading for Randy Moss.
Think about it. The trade of the league’s most talented receiver says far more about the level of desperation in Minnesota than it does about Bill Belichick’s dissatisfaction with Moss or Tom Brady’s inability/unwillingness to land Moss a contract extension in New England.
Oh, you believed the three years of “happy talk” Belichick and Brady showered on Moss? You believed Belichick when he said Moss was the smartest receiver in the league and Brady when he professed his undying loyalty to Moss?
You fell for the pimp game. Belichick and Brady said whatever was necessary to get Moss to show up for practice and run fly patterns on Sundays.
Moss is the unstable, super-hot girl you never marry. You tell her what she needs to hear, you might even give her the code to your garage door but you never commit. You enjoy the ride while it lasts and you move on without any hard feelings.
Moss was never going to retire a Patriot. Belichick got three good years out of Moss and a third-round pick. Mission accomplished.
The story here is Favre, and the actions the Vikings must take to try and make their 40-year-old quarterback happy.
It makes no sense to trade for Moss unless you’re willing to give him a new contract. The lack of a new deal is what caused Moss to be unhappy starting the season and has surely contributed to his nine-receptions-in-four-games start to the 2010 campaign.
So, the Vikings are surrendering a 2011 third-round draft pick for Moss and likely going to hand the 33-year-old deep threat a three- or four-year contract extension with, let’s say conservatively, $12 million in guaranteed salary.
Yep, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is going all in, pushing all of his chips into the middle of the table. The acquisition of Favre left him no choice. Once the Vikes $weetened Favre’s 2010 salary they gave the Old Gunslinger all of the leverage. This year, Favre is basically co-owner of the Vikings.
Favre has wanted to play with Moss for four years. Thompson’s reluctance to pursue Moss in 2007 ignited much of the bitterness between Favre and Thompson. Moss had a record-breaking 2007 season in New England, catching 23 touchdown passes and helping the Patriots complete an undefeated regular season.
Does Moss have any of that magic left?
Bill Belichick doesn’t think so. Mr. Bill has made his name ruthlessly jettisoning big-name Pats at the very moment their production slipped.
I can envision Favre getting Moss focused and excited for the rest of this season. Moss will take the eighth defender out of the box, move the safeties back a few yards and create additional running lanes for Adrian Peterson.
The problem is, Moss isn’t going to block for Favre or cure Percy Harvin’s health problems. Pass protection, and Harvin’s inconsistent practice habits and play have been the issues slowing the Minnesota offense.
I still contend Favre, the NFL’s iron man, won’t survive the season in one piece.
Rex Ryan and the Jets — Minnesota’s opponent Monday night — are not afraid of Randy Moss, especially with Darrelle “The Human Blanket” Revis returning to the lineup. The Jets are going to get after Favre.
Playing in New York, it’s likely the Vikings fall to 1-3. Then what? They host Dallas and travel to Green Bay and New England — 1-6 or 2-5 are real possibilities.
OK, the NFC is such a mediocre mess that 9-7 would be a strong wild-card resume. Do you see the Vikings winning two or three playoff road games to reach the Super Bowl?
Yep, this is looking like the nightmare Ted Thompson envisioned. Favre is going to leave Minnesota $20 million richer and the Vikings are going to be stuck with a middle-aged, moody receiver who struggles to give consistent effort.
Zygi Wilf originally acquired Favre to win a Super Bowl and inspire Minnesotans to pay for a new stadium. It appears he’ll have to settle for Randy Moss.