Randy Moss: A steep risk-reward

October, 5, 2010
10/05/10
10:42
PM ET
Excitement about Randy Moss' possible return to the Minnesota Vikings isn't just consuming the Twitterverse or the team's fan base. A certain quarterback's official Web site just put out an e-mail alert to subscribers.

The subject line: "Breaking News Randy Moss to the Vikings????"

And really, that's the rub. That's why the Vikings would even consider bringing back one of the most dynamic, divisive and volatile players in franchise history: Because they've already bent over backward to bring back quarterback Brett Favre for one more season, guaranteeing him $16 million for a final run at the Super Bowl. If you're going to make that type of commitment, why not take every step to make sure you've surrounded him with a comparable set of skill players?

[+] EnlargeRandy Moss
AP Photo/Morry GashRandy Moss became a star with the Minnesota Vikings, but he also caused distractions -- as illustrated in this photo, when he pretended to moon the Green Bay crowd during a 2005 playoff game.
One could argue that the Vikings' roster already has enough elite-level players to make a deep playoff run. But anyone who has watched their offense over its first three games of the season knows it could use a player to stretch the field. And as former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt has written, Favre once salivated over the possibility of the Packers acquiring Moss. As he demonstrated with Vikings receiver Sidney Rice last season, Favre loves the idea of a big receiver he can trust to catch the ball even if he's covered.

I'll be honest. I don't know if this deal will happen or not. There appear to be multiple moving parts, from compensation to a possible new contract to the fact that the Vikings and Patriots will play later this month. I've put out feelers to a number of sources and got no indication that the deal is completed.

But without question, there have been discussions, as ESPN's Adam Schefter has confirmed, and that alone is enough to illustrate the level to which the Vikings are willing to sell out to make 2010 their year. Favre would no doubt be thrilled, and knowing Moss' history of short-term motivation, I think you could expect some serious ballin' for the remaining 13 regular-season games. But I hope the few team officials who remain from the first Moss era have informed the new regime -- owner Zygi Wilf, vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and coach Brad Childress -- how completely unpredictable and destructive Moss' behavior was in those days.

He was their best player and their worst nightmare. He was good for a dozen acrobatic touchdown passes a season, and nearly as many sideshows. He walked off the field in frustration on the day the Vikings clinched a playoff spot in 2004, freely admitted he didn't always play hard and was reviled by players and coaches alike at the end of his tenure. He wore out his welcome after two years with the Oakland Raiders and, even after being placed in the most ideal scenario imaginable, appears to have done the same with the New England Patriots.

A short-term union with Favre could produce some of the highlights of both players' careers -- a possibility worth getting excited about if you're a Vikings fan. But with Moss, there has always been a price. I can only assume the Vikings know that.

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