*The Minnesota Vikings have decided to end Randy Moss’ brief second stint in Minnesota just weeks after they traded a third-round draft pick to acquire him from the New England Patriots.
“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,” head coach Brad Childress said in a statement. “We wish Randy the best as he moves forward in his career.”
What may have led to the abrupt removal, according to YAHOO! Sports, was that Moss alienated some teammates and staff members when he roundly criticized a post-practice meal in front of the local restaurant owners who catered it.
Every Friday, the Vikings invite a local establishment to cater the team’s post-practice meal. Last Friday, it was center Matt Birk’s turn to pick the eatery, and he chose a St. Paul restaurant that served chicken, pasta, ribs and other dishes.
While his teammates lined up to dig in, Moss lashed out, according to the report.
Moss yelled “What the [expletive]? Who ordered this crap? I wouldn’t feed this to my dog,” a player who witnessed the incident said, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The player who witnessed Moss’ food tirade called it “an uncomfortable moment,” adding that he felt Moss deserved to be cut after the incident, Yahoo! Sports reported.
“This wasn’t a chain — it was a mom-and-pop restaurant, and you could tell it was their best stuff,” the witness said, according to the report. “And [Moss] is at his locker saying, ‘You know, I used to have to eat that crap — but now I’ve got money.’ You just felt so sad for them. I had never seen anyone treated like that. And by the way, the food was actually really good.”
Moss’ perceived lack of effort in the Vikings’ last two games and his postgame comments after Sunday’s loss at New England have also been speculated as reasons for the Vikings giving up on the wide receiver after a month, despite parting with a third-round draft choice to bring him back to Minnesota.
Following the Vikings’ 28-18 loss to the Patriots, in which Moss had one catch for 8 yards, the veteran receiver announced that he would not be answering any more questions from the media for the rest of the season.
He also criticized the Vikings for not heeding his advice on certain plays the Patriots were likely to use against the Vikings. He also expressed his admiration for 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.’ “
But a source who was at a team meeting on Monday, in which Moss informed the Vikings that Moss would be leaving, said it was clear Childress was referring to Moss’ criticism of the locker-room meal when he said “This just doesn’t fit with how we treat people, how we talk to people and how we act,” according to Yahoo! Sports.
Various league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and even the Patriots are among the teams possibly interested in claiming Moss.
A team can claim Moss and pick up the final year of a contract that pays him $6.4 million in base salary. Winless Buffalo has the worst record in the league and the first shot to claim Moss, followed by Carolina and Dallas. If no team claims him, the Vikings owe Moss the remaining $3.388 million on his deal. He’d be available for around $450,000 and Moss could choose the team he would like to join.