The Patriots have traded Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings, the team that drafted the receiver 21st overall in 1998. The move ends a highly successful on-field marriage between Moss and Tom Brady, a relationship in which Moss caught 50 touchdowns in three-plus seasons with the team.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report that the Moss-to-Minnesota deal was done. Schefter said the Patriots will receive a third-round pick. Moss will play for the Vikings on Monday night vs. the Jets.
“While I will keep private the details of internal conversations with players and staff, suffice it to say that many things were taken into consideration before making the trade,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said via a release. “In this business, there are complex and often difficult decisions, but it is my responsibility to make them based on what I feel is best for our football team, in both the short term and long term. I am grateful for the opportunity to have coached Randy Moss and aside from facing him as an opponent, I wish him the very best for the remainder of his Hall of Fame career.”
New England acquired Moss from Oakland on draft weekend 2007 for a fourth-round pick.
The deal leaves New England with two picks in each of the first four rounds of next year’s draft.
Moss has played 190 NFL games and caught 935 passes for 14,604 yards and 151 touchdowns. He expressed frustration with his contract situation after the Patriots’ first game of the season, a 38-24 win over the Bengals. Moss opened his postgame press conference with comments that included his belief that 2010 would be his last season in New England.
The move finally connects Moss with quarterback Brett Favre, who lobbied for the Packers to acquire Moss while he was in Green Bay.
Moss recently spoke about his fondness for the Vikings when talking about his former team, which comes to Foxborough to play the Patriots Oct. 31.
“The Minnesota Vikings know that they drafted me there and when it’s all said and done I’m their baby, I’m a Viking,” Moss said in a Sept. 14 interview with Boston.com’s Steve Silva. “But the opportunity that I couldn’t pass up to become a New England Patriot in 2007 is, from a football player’s standpoint, that’s a dream man, because you want to be part of an organization that is about winning. Their three Super Bowl rings is not what brought me here. What they’re able to continue to do after those Super Bowl rings is what brought me here, but their ability to stay together, their ability to love the team concept, win or lose, that’s something I can hang my hat on.”
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reported today that Moss and quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien, who also calls the Patriots’ offensive plays, were engaged in a heated exchange at halftime of the Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins. In an interview with ESPN Radio Chicago, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said he believed Moss was becoming a “distraction” for the Patriots.
“You have to understand, too, Belichick didn’t win any Super Bowls with Moss,” said Harrison. “They set a bunch of records offensively, but Belichick realized the locker room is more important than one individual.”
With the trade behind him, Moss has little time to waste. Barring something unexpected, Moss will play for the Vikings Monday night against the New York Jets and familiar foe Darelle Revis. Revis added fuel to the fire today before his potential second matchup of the season with the wide receiver.
“He came out full force, early in the game,” Revis told the Newark Star Ledger of the game Moss played against the Jets this season while with the Patriots. “In the second half, you could tell he was kind of like putting his foot on the brake. But everybody knows that’s Randy: sometimes he comes out and plays 100 percent, sometimes he doesn’t.”
Said Favre of his new teammate, “This is an exciting move, I think everybody feels that in the locker room. It’s rare you get to play with a future Hall of Famer and get to appreciate their talents up close. Randy Moss is a great player and his career speaks for itself. I’ve admired him from a distance for a long time and you can’t help but be impressed by the guy.”
Globe reporters Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker, and Boston.com sports producer Steve Silva contributed to this report.