The Minnesota Vikings waived probable future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. If that sentence alone doesn’t make you surprised, then the fact that the Vikings traded a third-round pick for Moss just a month ago should definitely make you confused. Although I have much respect for the Vikings organization and what it is trying to achieve here, this move was a big mistake.
On Sunday night in Foxboro, Mass., the Vikings visited the Patriots and Moss had his first opportunity to play against the team that had traded him away just a month ago. In the last year of Moss’s contract, head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization decided to trade him away in an effort to get younger and allow some of the unproven guys on their team to get more playing time. The Patriots unloaded Moss for a valuable third-round pick and sent Moss to a team that was looking to contend for this season. Belichick even held an unscheduled press conference to praise Moss for what he had accomplished over his career and time with the Patriots.
At that point, the Vikings were the definition of desperate. Before the season even began, they went all out on getting quarterback Brett Favre to return for another season. After a disappointing 1-2 start, the Vikings were seeking to make a splash. They pulled the trigger and all seemed well until the Vikings didn’t really noticeably improve. The main catalyst for Moss’s departure then came in the game against the Patriots.
During the game, the Vikings must have been disappointed in Moss’s lack of effort. The most telling play was when Favre launched a deep pass to Moss, who lost his balance due to pass interference from a Patriots safety but was able to regain his footing and make the catch if he chased the ball down. Instead, he slowed down to a jog and dodged the ball as it landed. Although the Vikings later went on to score a touchdown on the drive, the body language and lack of hustle Moss displayed must have angered the Vikings. But not only was he not focused on the field, Moss took shots at the Vikings organization in his press conference after the game. He continued to praise the Patriots and criticize the Vikings for not listening to his play-calls. The Vikings had the right to be upset with Moss at this point.
However, being upset with a receiver and waiving the receiver is a different story. Such a move admits to everyone that getting Moss was a mistake. This mistake falls solely on the organization. The Vikings knew what kind of personality he had, especially from dealing with him years ago. They knew the talent that he could bring to the field, but also the lack of focus that he may often display. They knew how frustrating he could often be and how disgruntled he could get if things didn’t always go his way. But that was supposed to be why they parted with a valuable third-round pick to get him. If the organization had a problem with him, they had the rest of the season to try and solve it internally. Giving up on him just becomes an insult to him, especially as the Patriots had the patience to control his personality and tap into his deep potential.
Not only that, Randy Moss is no ordinary receiver. His career has been a long and great one as he has become an established deep threat that is recognized by the entire league. The Patriots had the respect to at least trade him away to another team. Just waiving him like he was useless to the team is a questionable move, especially since the Vikings did part with a draft pick. In reality, a receiver like Moss would be valuable to any team in the league, and to just waive him is a low blow to Moss.
Finally, I can only feel so bad for the Vikings fans. With Favre getting injured this week and now with Moss waived, the team is in ruins with its 2-5 record heading into next week. For what was supposed to be a promising season after appearing in the playoffs last year, the fans can only be frustrated that they lost two Hall of Famers in the same week. Not only that, part of the future was given up, too, as the draft pick for Moss was essentially wasted.
Brad Childress and the Vikings organization waived Moss to make a statement to the team. However, they might have just also made a statement about themselves.