BEST EX-VIKING - 2005
When owner Red McCombs traded the most electrifying player in Viking history to the Oakland Raiders for a bag of peanuts, fans had to wonder: What the hell was he thinking? Was this just another case of McCombs playing budget ball? Or was Red, bitter about the stadium stalemate, flipping the bird at Minnesota? No doubt, the answer lies in some combination of the two. Why? Because there is no rational explanation for the deal with the Raiders. In Moss's seven seasons in the NFL, his productivity hasn't been merely astounding; it has been historic. At this point in his career, he has exceeded the pace set by Jerry Rice, universally accepted as the game's all-time greatest wide receiver. Moss's critics--mainly the blowhards of NFL orthodoxy--have never understood the West Virginia kid. Branding him as a "problem player," they see in Moss a lazy diva who hurts team chemistry and refuses to put out adequate effort. In his final season with the Vikings, Moss demonstrated the opposite. Sure, there were a few flake-outs. But the big picture is this: While hobbled with injury for much of the season, Moss came up with enough plays that a deeply mediocre Vikings team actually managed a postseason victory (against the hated Packers, no less). It is hard to imagine that future Vikings fans won't look back on the Moss trade as a colossal fiasco, perhaps on the level of the notorious Herschel Walker swindle.