The Minnesota Vikings reportedly have pulled the lever on a deal for New England Patriots' wide-receiver Randy Moss that would send Moss back to Minnesota for a third-round draft pick. The arrangement reportedly does not include an extension on Moss' current deal, set to expire after this season.
The trade makes all kinds of sense for a Vikings' team bereft of wide-receiver talent. It makes almost no sense, however, if the Vikings are unwilling to extend Moss.
Despite the on-going labor issues in the NFL and the possibility of a lock-out next season, the Vikings must do what fiscal acumen suggests they ought not do. They must extend Moss. If they cannot swallow this pill and the possibility of paying considerable money for a player that might well never play in for the team again after this season, there is no point to making this deal.
While Moss' 2009 accomplishments, alone, put to shame the career numbers of current Vikings' wide-receivers Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis, and Greg Camarillo, his numbers when in pouting mode are best reflected by his stat line against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night--zero receptions for zero yards. In short, when Moss is in the middle of a contract, he performs at a high level. When he is at the short end of a deal, he hibernates.
Minnesota needs performance, not hibernation from Moss. And the only sure way to get Moss to perform is to put him in a good contract situation. That's an unfortunate commentary on any player, and a difficult situation for an organization to be in, but it is reality. At his happiest, Moss can be a distraction. At his unhappiest--where he was in New England prior to today--he can be a disruptive, divisive, unwanted distraction.
If the Vikings have indeed made the deal for Moss, as it appears that they have, they will be wasting a third-round pick, and possibly their 2010 season, if they do not go one substantial step further and pay Moss. And that just might make dealing with other players on the last year of their contracts all that more difficult.
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