Moss stays elusive as he joins Vikings
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The words set off a tweeting frenzy among Twin Cities reporters.
“I had problems here, who didn’t?’’ said Randy Moss. “Imagine if I had been on that boat, then there really would have been problems.’’
The reference was to the infamous “love boat’’ scandal that embarrassed the Minnesota franchise in 2005 — after Moss had been traded to Oakland — and was the highlight of Moss’s first day back with the Vikings.
Aside from addressing the media yesterday, Moss spent they day catching passes from Brett Favre on the practice field, studying a new playbook, and in general starting up again as a Viking, wearing his old No. 84 jersey.
What the day didn’t include was answers about what happened in New England and why he was traded.
Moss acknowledged that he and Patriots coach Bill Belichick had a heart-to- heart talk that will remain private, and he would not address reports that had him verbally sparring with quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien at halftime of Monday night’s game and then giving Belichick and his teammates the silent treatment on the flight home from Miami.
After Belichick expounded in Foxborough on Moss’s many positive qualities, Moss returned the favor in Minnesota. Moss also said he didn’t know why he was traded, even though published reports have indicated that he asked out.
“Did I want to get traded out of New England?’’ Moss said. “I don’t really know what the answer is. But there’s no other place I’d rather get traded to than Minnesota.
“Some things in New England didn’t go according to plan, and here I am. What me and Coach Belichick talked about, I don’t really want to make public.’’
Moss said he had no regrets.
“Me being in New England, that was something special,’’ he said. “I’d never been part of a team, and they’re a team. Now that I’m gone, I’m not going to say anything negative or bash the organization.’’
Moss has written the book on getting out of Dodge and starting anew. He did it his first time in Minnesota (1998-2004), then again in Oakland (2005-06), after which he got to New England and was a happy camper for three seasons.
According to a Patriots source, Moss was indeed a good teammate and a vocal leader in the locker room, but once the games started, those traits did not carry over, especially when he appeared to be getting ignored in the offense. By the end, his locker room presence had deteriorated, too, and by halftime of the Miami game, players heard a “loud, out-of-control’’ Moss directing his anger at O’Brien.
Whether that was the last straw, neither the Patriots nor Moss is saying.
Moss also would not cite his contract as a reason for the trade; he is in the last year of a three-year deal and had complained about not getting an extension.
“I don’t really want to get into contracts,’’ he said. “Some things in New England didn’t go according to plan, and we sit up here now. I think everything will work itself out. If I’m going to be here next year as a Viking, then that’s what it’s going to be. If I’m not, then I’m not. Right now, I have a job to do and that’s play football, so we’ll leave it at that.’’
Favre, whose first game with his new teammate will be against the Jets Monday night at the Meadowlands, was giddy at times when speaking about the potential of having his dream receiver.
He said he was shocked that the Vikings would even have a chance to obtain him, and surprised that the Patriots threw only one pass his way in the Miami game.
“Did I think they would give him up? Did I think anyone would give him up? No,’’ said Favre. “But it happened. I was as shocked as anyone.’’
The Minnesota offense has sputtered this season, and even Favre acknowledged that there are no excuses now.
“I have to admit,’’ he said. “I was talking to Deanna [his wife] about it, and she was like, ‘Do you feel good about it?’ I said, ‘I feel a lot of pressure. More than I thought I was going to feel.’
“The guy is an unbelievable player. I’m like everyone else, I’m watching the Monday night game and I’m like, ‘He’s only been thrown to one time?’ So what if he’s covered?
“That’s the thing about Randy. So what if he’s covered? But does that mean you just throw to him when you’ve got four other guys that are wide open? So there’s this added pressure. Maybe it’s just I’m getting old.
“He offers a totally different dimension, but there’s still other plays that are good plays, and if he’s drawing double coverage, much like Sidney [Rice] did last year, somebody’s got to win underneath, and that’s where Wes Welker has done an unbelievable job of that. They’ve utilized him and they use that to their advantage. We have to find that happy medium ourselves.’’
Favre hopes a chemistry develops between him and Moss the way it did between Daunte Culpepper and Moss years ago and Tom Brady and Moss.
“I hope that there is still some magic left with me, with him, with this team,’’ Favre said. “How could you not want to play with this guy? It can’t do anything but make us better, make the guys around us better. Will it happen Monday night? I have no idea.’’
Moss seemed relaxed, relieved, renewed.
“Just being out there today, I was kind of excited being out there and having Brett Favre throw me the ball,’’ he said. “He’s legendary, what else can I say?
“Being able to come from a place such as New England, having a great Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady, a Hall of Fame coach in Bill Belichick, and then being able to come to a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett, what else can you ask for?
“So I just want to take it in stride and hopefully this thing works out.’’