Raider Vault: The Time Randy Moss was a Raider

2 of 5


Randy Moss stormed into the league as a rookie in 1998, part of a receiving corps that included Hall of Famer Cris Carter in an offense led by legendary scrambling quarterback Randall Cunningham. Moss was exceptional as a rookie, leading the league in receiving TD’s with 17 and averaging 19 yards per reception as the Vikings went 15-1 and ended up a missed kick short of reaching the Super Bowl. He would score 10 or more touchdowns in six of his seven seasons in Minnesota, including each of his first four. It didn’t matter who was throwing the ball – Cunningham, Brad Johnson, Dante Culpepper, Jeff George, even Gus Frerotte – Moss was catching it and scoring with it. He was excellent for Dennis Green, and he was excellent for Mike Tice. He was the most physically gifted wide receiver in the league, he was tall, he was fast, he had great hands, he could get open. As Jerry Rice’s career came to a close, many around the league were ready to crown him the best wide receiver in the game.

Unlike the stoic, composed Rice, however, Moss’ great play began to be eclipsed by his other antics. He got a reputation for trash talk, for taunting, and for being selfish and even lazy.  In 2004, he admitted to sometimes taking plays off, and drove much of white middle America into conniptions with his pretend mooning of Green Bay fans and subsequent declaration that “rich people don’t write checks” and that he would pay his resultant fine in “straight cash, homie.” Vikings management had had enough, and on March 2nd, 2005, traded Moss to a team that was still known more as a destination for “bad boy” players than as a veterans graveyard: the Oakland Raiders.

The trade rocked the NFL world in 2005.  The Raiders were only two seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and not far removed from having sure-fire Hall of Fame receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown both on the roster. Moss had missed a few games in 2004, but had still logged 13 TD receptions, and of course was a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro who was widely considered the best wide receiver in the league. In exchange for Moss, the Vikings got capable middle linebacker Napoleon Harris, the Raiders first draft pick (7th overall), and the Raiders 7th-round pick. Most observers at the time considered the trade an absolute coup for Al Davis: in exchange for a decent linebacker and a single high draft pick, the Raiders would get a 28 year old athletic freak of a wide receiver who had already scored 90 TD’s for his career.