On Monday, less than 24 hours after the New England Patriots defeated the Minnesota Vikings 28-18 at Gillette Stadium, the Vikings and coach Brad Childress unexpectedly waived wide receiver Randy Moss.
The move came just weeks after the Vikings traded a third-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft to the Patriots for Moss. It also came just a day after Moss had a bizarre "interview" in which he stated that he would refuse to answer questions from the media, and professed his love for the Patriots.
When I first heard the rumors about the trade, I was completely confused by the idea that Moss would be traded to the Vikings. There are few coaches in the NFL that Bill Belichick loathes more than Childress.
Patriots fans likely remember Childress claiming tight end Garrett Mills off waivers in 2007. Childress also noticeably crowed about "snatching" Percy Harvin one pick before the Patriots' first selection in the 2009 Draft, causing New England to ultimately trade out of the first round. But Belichick's enmity began earlier than that.
It goes at least to 2006, when the Patriots humiliated the Vikings 31-7 in the Metrodome, literally giving the rest of the NFL the blueprint for defeating the Vikings (quite simply, forget about running against the Williams Wall and just throw over it).
The Vikings, who had entered that game at 4-2 with significant talk of a playoff berth, ended up losing seven more of their 10 remaining games and finished 6-10. (As an added bonus, Belichick left in his starters against the Vikings' second- and third-string quarterbacks. The Vikings' final possession went sack, sack, sack, punt.)
It likely goes even further. Belichick had little good to say about Childress or his receivers (especially Freddie Mitchell) when Childress was the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXXIX.
So with no love lost between them, why on earth would Belichick help Childress?
Well, the short answer appears to be "He didn't."
Whether or not Belichick saw Moss' meltdown coming, he likely saw this as a move that would, at worst, have the two teams come out of even. More likely, he saw it as giving the Vikings a seeming malcontent—improving the Patriots by subtraction—and getting a draft pick in the process.
So ultimately the Vikings got a four-week rental of Moss and paid a third-round pick for him. And if Moss was truly sincere about wanting to return to the Patriots, it's even possible that Belichick might get Moss back and still keep the Vikings' pick.
He who laughs last laughs best—and Belichick's probably having a hard time keeping a straight face right now.