In Moss trade, an absence of skepticism

Does time heal all wounds? Or does it just make you forget something you should remember?

Judging from their tweets and some columns, the ink-stained wretches of area newspaper sports departments — and a blogger or two in public radio — are giddy at the news that the Vikings have reacquired Randy Moss. There hasn’t been so much as a dose of skepticism that Moss is anything but the savior of a team whose wheels came off in the first two games of the season.

It’s hard to know whether their joy is over the possibility of a trip to the Super Bowl, or that filling up the Monday morning column will be a snap with a guy like Moss around. Moss is to the sports reporter what Jesse Ventura was to the political wags.

Take Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse, for example.

February 2005 – No great loss

Moss is one of the five biggest pains in the NFL. He had started missing more practices, and finally games, with injuries. He was not devoted to off-season conditioning.

What are the Vikings surrendering by trading Moss? Big numbers individually and nothing more. The Vikings were 29-37 (1-1 in the playoffs) in Moss’ last four seasons.

March 2005After Moss was traded

There are a couple of two-word combinations that have not been used together for a long time: class organization and Minnesota Vikings.

There was hope that a Randy Moss trade meant the Vikings were committed to changing their long-running, low-class image. Wednesday’s early indications were not promising

January 2006 – “Coach killer

The Vikings traded Moss because they saw a player with an enormous salary starting to run into injuries. And they saw that &”team” was becoming even less important to him. They were right on both counts….

Moss to Oakland was addition by subtraction for the Vikings. Unfortunately for Tice, it added only to nine victories, one shy of the total he needed to have a chance to come back.

February 2008 – Patriots are a perfect fit

A Moss victory will bring great joy to Syd Davy and the thousands of Vikings fans who still wear Moss jerseys to the Metrodome. They remain convinced that dumping Moss was the worst decision in franchise history.

Randy’s Minnesota army (with a high-ranking officer from Winnipeg) gives him full benediction for playing as if he had a restraining order…

April 2009

The Vikings demonstrated on Saturday, when they made the strange decision to take the injury-prone, undersized, dope-smoking Harvin over Michael Oher, a starting offensive tackle for the next decade, that selling tickets is currently the team’s top priority.

Thanks to Randy Moss, followers of the Purple have a greater fondness for explosive, defiant receivers than any fan base in football. The Vikings were reminded of this last week, when they let out word of an interest in Harvin and the public responded with enthusiasm.

October 2010 – A motivated Moss is a sight to behold

“He doesn’t reach for the ball before it gets to him, and he doesn’t give away with his eyes. He’s so fast the defender is always running with his back to the ball, and Randy doesn’t give any hint when the ball is coming.”

Belichick must have known this when he decided to unload a discontented Moss for a third-rounder:

On Halloween night, his mediocre secondary will face the fury of hell.

Meanwhile, in Boston, the sportswriters are also adopting the company line.

It’s certainly true that Moss does well when he gets a fresh start. But this isn’t a fresh start. He’s leaving a 3-and-1 team for a 1-and-2 team, but bringing all his baggage with him. He talked his way out of New England because he didn’t feel appreciated by the Patriots’ refusal to extend his contract. He’s joining a team that also has refused to extend his contract.

Interestingly, beat writers weren’t the ones to get the Moss trade story, network sports reporters were. And, so far, they’re also the ones asking the good questions with a sober assessment. Like Mike Silver at Yahoo Sports, who says Moss may be moving into a toxic situation:

Locker-room sources say the frost between Childress and Favre is palpable right now, a bad situation obviously exacerbated by the Vikings’ disappointing 1-2 start. The surprising trade that brings Moss back to Minneapolis, on the heels of a failed attempt to land disgruntled San Diego Chargers wideout Vincent Jackson(notes), is a last-ditch effort to salvage an increasingly volatile situation – one which could take down virtually all of the leading figures if things break the wrong way.

Oddly enough, I kind of love the move. Though I can see disaster unfolding the way you can 10 minutes into a bad action thriller, another part of me believes it’s just crazy enough to work.