Moss’s departure from Minneapolis came less than a month after the Vikings acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver in a trade with the New England Patriots.
His exit came a day after he had one catch for eight yards in a 28-18 loss at New England and then criticized his new team while complimenting Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his former teammates.
“This decision was made based on what we thought was in the best interests of the Minnesota Vikings, both in the short and long term,” Childress said last night in a statement on the team’s website. “We wish Randy the best as he moves forward in his career.”
Childress didn’t elaborate on his decision to release Moss, whose 153 touchdown catches are second to Jerry Rice in NFL history. Moss ranks ninth in career receptions with 948 and fifth with 14,778 yards receiving.
“I was shocked by it a little bit,” Vikings linebacker Ben Leber told reporters. “It’s something we have to stand behind. We’re not going to let it be a distraction or anything like that. It’ll be news today and then we’ll come back on Wednesday and it will be forgotten about.”
Moss, 33, played in four games for the Vikings, catching 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
After Minnesota fell to 2-5 with its loss two days ago in New England, Moss wore a black Boston Red Sox cap to his postgame news conference and said the Vikings disregarded his input into how to prepare for the game. Moss played three-plus seasons for the Patriots.
“They come over to me and say, ‘Dag Moss, you was right about a couple of plays and a couple of schemes that they were going to run,” Moss said of the Vikings. “It hurts as a player that you put a lot of hard work in all week and toward the end of the week, Sunday, when you get on the field, that’s when they acknowledge about the hard work you put in. That’s actually a disappointment.”
Moss called Belichick “the best coach in football history” and praised the Patriots’ work ethic.
“I miss them guys, man,” said Moss, who hugged Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after the game. “I miss this team. It was hard for me to come here and play. It’s been an up-and-down roller-coaster emotionally all week.”
Childress said yesterday that he’d permitted Moss to remain in New England after the game.
“I allowed him to stay back there and visit with his family since he’s from there and he’ll be back here Wednesday morning or Tuesday night,” Childress told reporters.
Childress later said that Moss won’t be returning at all to Minnesota, the team he started his NFL career with as a first- round draft pick in 1998. A four-time All-Pro selection, Moss played his first seven seasons in Minnesota, catching 574 passes for 9,142 yards and 90 touchdowns during those years -- all of which trail only Chris Carter in franchise history.
“Randy is very sad to find out about being waived by the Vikings this morning,” Moss’s agent, Joel Segal, wrote in an e- mail to the Minneapolis Star Tribune yesterday. “He has and always will remain fond of the fans in Minnesota. We will let the process of the waiver wire take its course and we will move on from there.”
Moss is eligible to be claimed by clubs in reverse order of this season’s standings. The Buffalo Bills (0-7) have the first option, followed by the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys (both 1-6). With the best record in the NFL at 6-1, New England would have the last option to claim Moss. If Moss isn’t claimed, he becomes a free agent.
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