JETTISONED: Moss release gives strange Vikings season bizarre twist
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. _ Super Bowl? How about super bizarre? A Vikings season that began with high expectations took another controversial turn Monday. Less than a month after shocking trade to reacquire Randy Moss, coach Brad Childress jettisoned ...
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. _ Super Bowl?
How about super bizarre?
A Vikings season that began with high expectations took another controversial turn Monday.
Less than a month after shocking trade to reacquire Randy Moss, coach Brad Childress jettisoned the recalcitrant wide receiver after only four games.
As always, there was a unique Vikings twist.
Childress did not inform owner Zygi Wilf of his intentions, according to an NFL source, and angered many in the organization by working alone. As a result, Moss was not put on waivers by the 3 p.m. CDT deadline and the team did not confirm he was gone until issuing a statement Monday night.
"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," Childress said. "We wish Randy the best as he moves forward in his career."
After reaching the NFC title game last season, the Vikings brought back every starter in an attempt to take the next step: the Super Bowl. But after a 2-5 start, Childress' job might be in jeopardy and failure to follow team protocol won't help his cause.
He might not care. A member of the franchise who was privy to details of a team meeting Monday said Childress told players that Moss' actions were not consistent with what he wanted from his guys. The coach said his superiors could fire him, but he was going to make the move regardless.
If Moss is claimed off waivers, the team that gets him would inherit the final year of a contract that is worth $6.4 million in base salary. But if Moss' passes through waivers, the Vikings will owe Moss the remaining $3.888 million on his deal and another team could sign Moss for approximately $450,000.
All of this activity came a day after a 28-18 loss at New England, which traded Moss to the Vikings on Oct. 6 for a third-round pick in the 2011 draft.
In his homecoming, Moss had only one catch for 8 yards and then broke his recent media silence with a rambling statement in which he refused to take questions and went on to criticize the Vikings for not paying closer attention to what he told them about the Patriots' tendencies. He then made it clear just how much he loved the Patriots organization.
Interestingly, Childress conducted a news conference that began at 12:30 Monday afternoon and featured 12 questions about Moss. The media did not know that he intended to waive Moss, he did not mention it and did his best to appear unaffected by Moss' 4 minute, 52 second statement.
"Do I find it incendiary?" he said. "I just think he was going back to a spot that he has a lot of affection for and I thought by and large those comments were regarding the people there, the coach there, the ownership there and obviously there's a fondness in his heart for those guys on that football team. Hey, you'd like to go out there and beat their tails off, nothing he would like better, but at the same time he enjoyed his stay there."
Childress went on to say that he hadn't talked to Moss because he had allowed him to stay in the Boston area to spend time with family. "He'll be back here Wednesday morning, Tuesday night," Childress said.
The closest Childress came to tipping his hand happened when he was asked if he was sorry he traded for Moss. "Do I regret acquiring him?" Childress said. "Not at present I don't, no."
But shortly after he finished addressing the media, NFL Network reported that Moss was going to be waived. Confirmation came from linebacker Ben Leber, who was the only player in the locker room when the media was allowed in around 2 p.m. Monday.
Moss' locker at Winter Park continued to have his name plate above it and was filled with his belongings. A few stalls over safety Jamarca Sanford addressed the expected move.
"As far as I'm concerned, he was a good teammate, from what we know," Sanford said. "But you never know what goes on behind closed doors. So, I'm not trying to get into to that. As far as I know he was a great teammate and he's a great guy."
Moss, 33, who was the Vikings' first-round draft pick in 1998 and became a fan favorite before being traded to Oakland in 2005, had only 13 receptions for 174 yards with two touchdowns in four games with the Vikings.
His departure continues a turmoil-filled season that includes the NFL's ongoing investigation into whether quarterback Brett Favre texted inappropriate pictures of him to former Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger when he was with that team in 2008.
"Every time I come to work I see the news trucks sitting out there," Leber said.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.