The trade of Randy Moss from the Patriots to the Vikings proves once again that the more things change, the more things stay the same.
You can go home again
I remember a frigid Saturday in February 2005 when Vikings management called me at home urgently looking for Bus Cook's cell phone number (Cook is Brett Favre's agent). They were in active talks to trade Randy Moss and wanted to run it by Cook, an advisor to Moss. The Vikings wanted no more of Moss and his off-the-field petulance and immaturity. Moss had overstayed his welcome in the Twin Cities and was shipped to the Raiders.
That was then, this is now. With a chilling need at the position and with the window for top-level success closing on this group, times have changed. Moss is now welcomed back to the Minnesota, with the powerful quarterback leading the charge. Speaking of which...
The Favre factor
As I recounted, Brett Favre has long envisioned playing with Randy Moss. To Brett, Randy was the white whale. Now, as someone close to Brett told me, with his birthday this weekend, he has received a great gift.
The Packers tried -- with varying degrees of effort -- to obtain Moss in both 2007 and 2008. After the second futile attempt, when Moss re-signed with the Patriots on March 3, 2008, Favre retired the next day.
Now Favre has a coaching staff and front office that allows and welcomes his input in ways the present regime in Green Bay would not consider. The welcome mat has been out in Minneapolis for Favre since June 21, 2008 when the Packers told Brett those three fateful words that started the divorce proceedings: "We've moved on".
From Viking ownership to management to coaching staff to players, Brett receives the warm embrace of affection that he expected from the Packers, for which he was the face of the franchise for 16 years. When the Packer relationship ended in divorce, the Viking courtship began and remains in full bloom.
The Vikings treat Favre differently from their other players and make no apologies for doing so. They hold the door open to Favre despite his spending the offseason at home, they send teammates to fetch him to report, they add money to his contract with no strings attached and now it appears they welcomed his input in adding this special talent to the roster.
Moss is probably commiserating with Favre on the coldhearted treatment he is receiving his now-former team. Just as Favre felt neither bedside manner nor personal touch from the Packers front office, Moss is experiencing the same in New England.
The Patriots do what they do with player negotiations. As for public comment, they simply do not engage, letting the player or agent's words fall quietly to the ground with no response nor escalation. As with Minnesota in 2005, Moss appears to have worn out his welcome and is cold product. It would be the Patriot way to move on and acquire compensation before he left as a free agent next year.
No new contract
There have been no discussions between the Vikings and Moss about an extension past the 13 games remaining on his contract. Certainly, the plans of a certain quarterback that professed to be in the last year of his career will factor into extension plans.
Further, there is the issue of the locker room in Minnesota. Were Moss, an incoming player, to receive an extension, the line at the door that has been waiting patiently for their turn at the trough would go into revolt. Special treatment for Favre is one thing; the same for Moss would be fractious for that team.
For now, though, Moss is short-term fix for a team built to win now. The rest is -- pardon the pun -- a secondary concern.