Moss: good addition to Vikings for this year
Wide receiver Randy Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders three months before Zygi Wilf purchased the Vikings from Red McCombs in 2005. On Wednesday, Zygi put Moss back in purple.
It's been six years, but the dynamic wide out arrives with the same questions as he left, his attitude.
His oft-overplayed declaration that "I play when I want to play," was taken out of context and overblown. It was in response to how someone can motivate him to play better. Meaning that he doesn't need someone else to motivate him, he does it himself. That's not to say he hasn't quit though, he's quit on every team he's played for.
The key is keeping him interested and since coach Brad Childress has already shown the ability to bend the rules for superstar divas, you can expect a good showing this year.
A year after the 41-donut debacle, coach Denny Green could see the writing on the wall. With a penny-pinching owner unwilling to spend, he resigned. McCombs, promoted offensive line coach Mike Tice and paid him with happy meals.
Tice entered his first full season as coach in 2002 and immediately put Moss first.
Cris Carter had been the undisputed leader of the team. As the Vikings' all time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns, he tried to help Moss develop and mature. But, they never really gelled and their conversations became more and more animated (and public). The locker room began to divide and Tice wrapped his arms around his young gun.
Carter exercised an out-clause in his contract; Tice handled Moss like a kid. He showered him with praise, brought Randy along on his interviews, gave him his own seat on the team bus and changed the rules of the entire offense.
"He's my dog," Tice would say routinely.
Tice's biggest rule-change was the Randy Ratio. He figured if the team threw 40 percent of their passes to Moss, whether he was open or not, they would win.
The inexperienced coach abandoned that game plan half way through the season, but the damage was done. Tice had proven that Moss was bigger than the team, that he had special rules.
2003 was my first year in the Vikings locker room and the purple started the season 6-0. During those first three home games Randy was like most of the other "star" athletes, meaning he was in the locker room and would take questions when he needed to, but usually waited for the post-game press conference.
That all changed though.
The Vikings lost their next four games, eventually needing a win at Arizona in the final game of the year in order to make the playoffs. The Cardinals Nate Poole ended that hope.
Moss' entire demeanor changed that year. After their first loss Randy shut himself down, cut himself off from the media. He usually left before the locker room was open to the media, if he was there he would have his headphones on and no one was allowed near his locker.
No one else can motivate Moss. If he loses interest he quits on his team. He quit in Minnesota, he quit in Oakland and on Monday, he quit in New England.
"I think he's an emotional guy," Childress said Tuesday when asked about Moss' attitude. "It's part of what makes him a good football player. Do people always agree when you have 53 football players and 20 coaches? Not always."
Moss' ability to stretch the field will undoubtedly help the offense, but this trade must be made with the understanding that Moss isn't joining the team. He's simply trying to get away from the Patriots.
Play him for the year, but don't sign him to another contract. Next year's quarterback situation is a huge black hole and Randy won't wait around it to develop. Without a big name to throw him the football he'll easily lose interest again.
Moss will be a great addition for the year, but no one will be able to motivate him to play next year.