Viking Ship Sinking: Where the Randy Moss Release Went Wrong

Josh DelpContributor INovember 2, 2010

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - OCTOBER 6: Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress answers questions from the media during a press conference at Winter Park on October 6, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Childress made it official that the Vikings signed wide receiver Randy Moss.   (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

“This decision was made based on what we thought was in the best interests of the Minnesota Vikings, both in the short and long term. We wish Randy the best as he moves forward in his career."

Those words were uttered by Vikings coach Brad Childress upon the release of Randy Moss after he played in only four games. Moss’s second stint with the Vikings fell short simply because he was his usual outspoken self. Apparently Childress didn’t get the Randy Moss 101 memo and decided to can him.

The Vikings traded a third-round draft pick to reacquire Moss from the Patriots, which begs the question: Why did they trade for him if they knew what they were getting into? A draft pick was wasted in the ultimate desperation move for this team. They are rapidly circling the drain.

Now the Vikings' fan base is calling for Childress’s head, and rightfully so.

In a poll taken by a Minnesota newspaper, over 80 percent of the ticket-buying public wants Childress fired immediately. This move is the last straw for Childress. His coaching skills have been questioned in the past—most recently in the Packers and Patriots games—and now that he has ousted Moss so quickly, he is done for. A loss to the Cardinals this weekend will spell doom for Childress’s NFL career.

Before all hell breaks loose on Childress (although it may have already happened), let’s examine the motives for releasing him to see if they were credible.

Moss is forthright with his words. That is one of the things I love about him. He doesn’t sugarcoat things. He is also incredibly self-centered. In his press conference after the loss to the Patriots, Moss gave a lengthy speech about how he missed playing with Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots.

Moss was fined $25,000 by the league for neglecting to talk to the media. In the same press conference, Moss expressed his frustration by saying he wasn’t going to answer any more questions from the media for the rest of the year. I certainly don’t blame him. It is unquestionably dumb to fine a guy for not talking to the media.

He also threw Childress under the bus, saying that the Vikings didn’t heed his advice on certain plays the Patriots would run against them. This isn’t the first time he has disagreed with Childress.

Remember the end of the first half against the Packers, when the Vikings had two timeouts and 30 seconds to get downfield for a score, but Childress decided to let the clock run down? Favre had just completed a bomb to Moss on the previous play, though it was called back for pass interference. Childress has supplied the ammo for criticism. As a result, Moss and Favre have cocked and loaded the gun and pulled the trigger. 

Then there was the food tirade heard 'round the practice facility. Apparently Moss disrespected a post-practice team meal that was catered by a local St. Paul restaurant. As his teammates lined up to chow down, Moss went off on the quality of the food and refused to eat it. The unnamed player who witnessed Moss’s outburst characterized it as an uncomfortable moment. He also felt that Moss deserved to be cut because of it.

Really? For complaining about food? Okay.

The bottom line remains: The Vikings, especially owner Zigy Wilf, knew what they had with Randy Moss, and they traded for him anyway. I am interested to hear Wilf’s side of this. Did he want Moss gone or was this all Childress’s doing?

Moss’s absence on the field will have a huge impact on Percy Harvin. He flourished in the natural slot position with Moss on the field. Now that the Vikings no longer have a deep threat on the field, Harvin’s effectiveness will shrink. Add to this the fact that Harvin might not play next week as he nurses his injured ankle, and the Vikings receiving corps consists of Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo and Greg Lewis. Great…

As harsh as it may sound, Childress needs to be fired immediately.

He has lost all confidence and credibility in his locker room. Favre’s spats with the coach have been well-chronicled, but Moss’s qualms solidify Childress’s status with this team.

It’s time to promote Leslie Frazier and try to salvage what little life is left in this wasted season.