Minnesota Vikings: Randy Moss to the Vikings, Is the Third Time the Charm?
Randy Moss has played for four different teams in his 13-year career—and three of them were in 2010.
The often controversial Moss finds himself on the free agent market for the 2011 season. No doubt there will be plenty of teams willing to take a chance on the 34-year-old Moss. According to WalterFootball.com, Moss is ranked the 20th-best free agent wide receiver—not very impressive for the four-time First-Team All-Pro.
There's no doubt that Moss has talent, but his attitude has often been questioned. After being accused of taking plays off, he was quoted in 2001 saying, "When I want to play, I'll play."
Even before he joined the NFL, Moss had troubles dogging him. Because of concerns for his off the field issues, he fell to the 21st pick of the first round of the 1998 NFL draft, passed over by 19 teams until the Minnesota Vikings selected him.
Moss, the 1998 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, must have thought this game was easy after leading the 15-1 Vikings in receiving yards and touchdowns. In his first three years, the Vikings made the playoffs.
His downfall in Minnesota correlates with the team's record. As the Vikings faltered, and the coach that drafted him was run out of town, Moss' issues came to the forefront. Following the 2004 season, the Vikings traded Moss to the Oakland Raiders.
Currently tied with Terrell Owens, Moss is the active leader in touchdown receptions with 153 and has led the league five times over his career.
The one thing that has eluded Moss has been that Super Bowl Championship. His teams have gone to the playoffs in six of his 13 seasons. His best chance came in 2007, his first year with the New England Patriots when they finished the regular season 16-0 and were defeated in Super Bowl XLII by the New York Giants.
So where will Moss end up in 2011?
Here's an assessment of 10 potential suitors for Randy Moss.
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How likely is it that the Tennessee Titans would look to resign Randy Moss?
The Moss experiment in Tennessee lasted eight games. The record in those eight games: 1-7. The Titans record before Moss joined the team: 5-3.
Moss actually played more game with the Titans (eight) than passes he caught while being a Titan (six).
I guess this was when he decided he did not want to play.
Move on, people, nothing to see here.
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Perhaps third time's the charm?
Randy Moss' second stint with the Vikings only lasted four games. After criticizing then-head coach Brad Childress in a press conference following the Vikings loss to the Patriots, Childress promptly took it upon himself to release the wide receiver the Vikings he had spent a third-round draft pick to acquire.
This move, not fully endorsed by the entire front office, including owner Zygi Wilf, may have helped to speed Childress' exit from Minnesota.
New head coach, and former defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier, is considered a players' coach.
Perhaps, like Dennis Green who drafted Moss in 1998, Frazier can find that on-off switch in Moss.
On the flip side, the Vikings are in the beginning stages of rebuilding, a new coaching staff and a rookie quarterback will not bring a third reunion between the Vikings and Moss.
New England Patriots
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If Randy Moss wants to win a championship ring before his career is over, his best chance could be with the team he felt didn't want him—the New England Patriots.
His statements early in the 2010 season when he stated he did not feel wanted in New England because he did not have a contract extension demonstrated that he had not become a team player.
When he announced that 2010 was going to be his last in New England, Bill Belichick helped facilitate that and accelerated his departure, trading him after only four games in 2010.
Opening the season 3-1 with Moss, the Patriots demonstrated that they truly did not need him, finishing the season, 11-1, without him.
In 2010 with Moss the Patriots averaged 222 passing yards and 2.25 touchdown passes; without him, the average increased to 247 passing yards and 2.33 touchdown passes per game.
Been there and done that, there's no chance that Belichick brings Moss' me-first attitude back to Foxboro.
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The two worst years in Randy Moss' career were spent with the Oakland Raiders in 2005 and 2006.
Following the 2004 season, the Vikings traded Moss to the Raiders for a first round draft choice and linebacker Napoleon Harris.
While in Oakland, even if Moss decided he was going to play, chances were the Raiders were not going to do any better than 6-26.
In 2006, Moss' 553 receiving yards are the second lowest in his career—the lowest came last season with three teams and only 393 yards. He would also catch the fewest touchdowns in his career (3).
Perhaps it was the quarterbacks who were throwing to Moss. That season was split between Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks.
Walter, a third round draft choice in 2005, who would go 2-6 that year. His entire career would span 15 games over three seasons for Oakland. Brooks would do even worse, going 0-8. His career would be over at the conclusion of the 2006 season.
Looking like his best days were past him, the best the Raiders could get in return for Moss was a fourth round draft choice from the New England Patriots.
The Raiders are still reeling from their eighth straight season without a winning record, the longest in team history.
There's no return for NFL bad boy Randy Moss to the silver and black.
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What could be better than for the Cincinnati Bengals to part ways with one of the two co-active leaders in touchdown receptions and then replace the 37-year-old Terrell Owens with the 34-year-old Randy Moss?
Owens, who broke into the league two years ahead of Moss, is ranked the 15th best free agent wide receiver by WalterFootball.com for the 2011 season.
Owens' presence in Cincinnati turned a 10-6 playoff team from 2009 into a 4-12 team in 2010. It's unlikely that Batman and Robin will remain intact in Cincinnati.
It's also as unlikely that Moss would complete the trifecta of diva wide receivers, following Chad Ochocinco and Owens.
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Why not pair the number one overall pick of the 1998 with the 21st?
Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning has played in more games than any other draft pick from the 1998 NFL draft, with 208 games. Randy Moss is currently fourth among all 1998 draft picks having played in 202 games.
With Moss' return to New England unlikely, the Colts might offer the second best chance in the AFC to make a return to the Super Bowl.
Manning has led Indianapolis to eight straight playoff appearances and 11 of the past 12 years including two Super Bowl appearances in the last five years.
Moss, who has led the NFL in touchdown receptions five times, averages 12 touchdown receptions per season, more than any of the Colts top wide receivers of Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie had last season.
Not much of a chance of Moss going to Indianapolis and disrupting the number one ranked passing offense from 2010.
San Diego Chargers
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In 2010, no San Diego wide receiver played more than 11 games during the season.
The team's leading receiver was running back Darren Sproles with 59 receptions. Their receiving yardage leader was tight end Antonio Gates.
Wide receivers Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee are all free agents in 2011.
The Chargers have used their franchise tag on Jackson, who was suspended for three games for violating the league's substance abuse policy in 2010.
In his six seasons with the Chargers, Jackson has never caught more than 68 passes and has only toe 1,000-yard seasons. The most touchdowns he has caught in a season is nine in 2009.
Randy Moss, seven years Jackson's senior, might be the touchdown scoring threat the Chargers need to bolster their wide receiving corp.
The price tag for Moss would also likely be much lower than what San Diego would have to pay for Jackson.
Green Bay Packers
Randy Moss the fans at Lambeau Field
If Randy Moss is in search for a ring, he may want to make his way back to the site of the full moon.
In the history of the Packers franchise, they have made it a habit of appearing in back-to-back Super Bowls.
They won the first two in 1966 and 1967 and split the two games in 1996 and 1997. Perhaps the Packers are destined for the Super Bowl for the 2011 season.
Moss, who came into the league one year before Donald Driver, is two years younger than the Packers oldest wide out. Excluding Moss' 2010 season, he has averaged 15.6 yards per reception. This would have been the second best for the Packers last year. Moss' 153 touchdowns are 100 more than Driver.
Back in 2006 then Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre lobbied the Packers front office to acquire Moss before the Raiders traded him to the Patriots. Perhaps Aaron Rodgers should make some inquiries to Ted Thompson, executive vice president, general manager and director of football operations.
By signing with the Packers, Moss would have the opportunity to show up the Vikings twice a year.
As a long-time Vikings fan, this is my favorite choice, hoping that Moss can replicate the success he had in 2010 with the Packers in 2011 and perhaps turn a 10-6 team into a 6-10 team.
New York Jets
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This is the most likely spot for Moss in 2011.
With back-to-back playoff appearances and a playoff victory over division rival New England, the Jets appear to be on the cusp of becoming a power in the AFC.
When Mark Sanchez took over as the starting quarterback in 2009, the Jets finished 31st in the league in passing. That improved to 22nd last season.
The Jets found some worth in signing the veteran LaDainian Tomlinson after he spent nine years in San Diego.
With two shots against the New England Patriots, perhaps Moss would decide he wanted to play and could help the Jets to their third straight playoff appearance.
Sacramento Mountain Lions—UFL
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Perhaps a reunion with Daunte Culpepper with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL is just the ticket to get Randy Moss playing like he did back in his early days when the two were teammates at Minnesota.
Maybe, just maybe, NFL owners and coaches have seen enough of Moss and his selfish attitude to let the current active leader in NFL touchdowns play his trade elsewhere.
Of course, this is not ever going to happen because there will always be someone, like Woody Johnson, willing to take a chance on the enigma that is Randy Moss.