Agent: Vikings trade Moss to Raiders
BY SEAN JENSEN
The Vikings have agreed to trade Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders for starting linebacker Napolean Harris , the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft and a 2005 late-round pick . Trades can be worked out although not announced until next month, and Moss' agent, Dante DiTrapano, told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday that the deal is done.
"Nothing is official until March 2," DiTrapano said. "But don’t be surprised if Randy Moss is wearing the Silver and Black this upcoming season."
Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski would only say, "We've had some discussions with them (the Raiders), but there is nothing to announce."
Despite repeated denials, the Vikings have been shopping Moss for months, and they found a willing suitor in Al Davis, a maverick owner who embraces controversial players.
"In speaking with Moss, although he has a lot of ties to Minnesota and did not particularly want to be traded, he’s very excited with the possibility of playing for Al Davis and being a part of the Raider tradition," DiTrapano said. "The Raiders have vowed to use Randy’s talents the way they should be used, and that’s to throw the ball vertically down the field.
"Randy’s desire to win a Super Bowl is enhanced with a move to a team like the Raiders, because the Minnesota Vikings seem to be in a constant rebuilding mode."
The Vikings will wind up with the seventh overall pick for the third time in the last four years. In 2002, they drafted left tackle Bryant McKinnie, a starter. Two years ago, they had the seventh pick but a botched trade with Baltimore resulted in them picking two spots later. Still, they landed the player they coveted, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who has emerged into a Pro Bowl player.
The Vikings have the 18th pick in this year’s draft.
With the departure of Moss, the Vikings' top receiver is third-year receiver Nate Burleson. But the Vikings are expected to bolster that group via the draft or free agency. With a weak free agent class headlined by Pittsburgh's Plaxico Burress, the Vikings’ options could increase with potential salary cap casualties such as Isaac Bruce, Muhsin Muhammad and Derrick Mason.
The NFL Draft in April also offers two promising players, Michigan's Braylon Edwards and Southern Cal's Mike Williams.
Harris was selected by the Raiders with the 23rd pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, and he has recorded 249 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and five passes defended over the past three seasons. He is 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, and he can play inside and outside.
The Raiders will assume Moss’ $7.25 million base salary for next season while the Vikings realize a cap savings of nearly $2 million. Four seasons remain on Moss’ eight-year $75 million contract.
Sean Jensen covers the Vikings and the NFL. He can be reached at email@example.com