EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Randy Moss’s reunion with the Minnesota Vikings lasted 25 days — and three disappointing losses.
Vikings players confirmed Monday that coach Brad Childress informed them during a team meeting that Moss had been let go, a few minutes after the NFL Network first reported the Vikings had waived the frustrated wide receiver less than a month after acquiring him in a trade with New England.
Childress and team officials didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking confirmation of the decision. About an hour before the news came out, Childress took 12 consecutive questions from reporters during his regular news conference about Moss, his effort, and his mindset in response to a rant by Moss following Sunday night’s loss to the Patriots.
Moss, who was fined $25,000 last week for failing to cooperate with the media and make himself regularly available for interviews, stepped to the podium after the game but announced he wouldn’t take any questions. He repeatedly expressed admiration for coach Bill Belichick and his former team, the Patriots, and criticized the Vikings for not taking enough of his game-planning advice.
Moss, who cost the Vikings a third-round draft pick, had only one catch for 8 yards against the Patriots. In four games for the Vikings, he had 13 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Childress didn’t mention the move and said Moss was staying back in the Boston area for a few days to spend time with family. Asked whether he regretted acquiring Moss, the coach said “not at present.”
Moss, who was traded away from Minnesota in 2005 after finding his share of trouble and frustrating the organization with his attitude, expressed eagerness to connect with quarterback Brett Favre when he arrived and talked about how much he still loved Vikings fans some 5½ years after his departure.
While his presence opened the field for wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has blossomed into one of the league’s most dangerous offensive players, Moss never materialized into the deep threat the Vikings sought when they traded for him. His longest catch was a 37-yarder, and he was only targeted twice against the Patriots.
“I’m definitely down that we lost this game. I didn’t expect we’d lose this game,” Moss said. “I don’t know how many more times I’ll be in New England again. But I leave coach Belichick and those guys with a salute: ‘I love you guys. I miss you. I’m out.’”
Childress said Monday he didn’t see Moss’s remarks as “incendiary.” The closest he came to criticizing him was acknowledging he could’ve caught a pass that fell incomplete in the end zone while the Patriots were called for pass interference.
“But again, I don’t know,” Childress said. “He was restricted. If they called pass interference, there had to be some kind of restriction.”
Asked whether he felt Moss had been playing hard, Childress said, “He’s playing hard when he needs to play hard.”
Linebacker Ben Leber said players were surprised by the news. But he didn’t sound happy about Moss’s post-game remarks.
“It was just, ‘Wow,’” Leber said. “Just because it sounded like it was unprompted and sounded like he wanted to get some stuff off his chest. He certainly has every right to do that. I don’t think that’s the way to do it.”
The Associated Press