Mired in third place in their division and with their Super Bowl aspirations in jeopardy, the Minnesota Vikings addressed their need for a vertical receiving threat in stunning fashion on Wednesday, trading a 2011 third-round pick to New England for receiver Randy Moss, an NFL source confirmed.
No new contract extension for Moss was part of the trade, a league source said. Moss will report to Minnesota and is expected to play in the Vikings' next game, Monday night at the Jets. But the more interesting game could come in less than four weeks, when the Vikings travel to New England, Moss's team for the past three-plus seasons, to play on Halloween afternoon.
News of trade talks between the receiver-needy Vikings (1-2) and the Patriots (3-1) first surfaced Tuesday evening in a report by FoxSports.com.
Moss was in the final year of a three-year contract in New England and has been vocal in his dissatisfaction with the fact that the Patriots have shown no interest in signing him to an extension of any kind. According to a Boston Herald report Tuesday night, Moss and his agent, Joel Segal, requested a trade from New England after the first week of the regular season.
The Vikings have been seeking a front-line replacement for Pro Bowl receiver Sidney Rice, who will miss most of the first half of the season following August hip surgery. Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is good friends with Moss and has been lobbying for years for the chance to play with his former NFC North rival, dating from Moss' 1998-2004 stint in Minnesota.
The Vikings, who had their bye last week, reportedly were willing to trade a second-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick to San Diego last month for All-Pro receiver Vincent Jackson, but a deal could not be reached. Moss comes at a lesser price tag perhaps because of his age, 33, and his history of being a problematic player at times in the locker room.
New England won 41-14 at Miami Monday night despite Moss going without a reception for the first time since 2006, with Oakland. The loss of Moss in the Patriots lineup will weaken New England in the short term, but the team is encouraged with the development of second-year receiver Brandon Tate -- who returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown Monday night -- and the receiving ability of rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez. Moss has just nine catches for 139 yards in four games this season, but he has caught three touchdown passes.