Randy Moss' improbable return to Minnesota is about to become reality.
The Vikings and the Patriots are planning to complete the blockbuster trade that will send the Pro Bowl wide receiver back to Minnesota on Wednesday, multiple league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
NFL sources told Schefter the deal moved closer to completion Tuesday night. Two well-placed league sources predicted the trade will be consummated Wednesday.
Reiss If the Pats do trade Randy Moss, the void at receiver could be mitigated by their plethora of tight end options, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss writes. Blog
Seifert The Vikings have already bent over backwards to bring back QB Brett Favre for one more season, ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert writes, so why not take every step to surround him with a comparable set of skill players? Blog
"I'd be shocked if it doesn't happen," said one source close to the situation.
FoxSports.com first reported the trade talks, but did not specify what the Patriots would get for giving up their primary deep threat.
"I don't know if there have been any discussions, but I can confirm that we haven't traded Randy Moss," Patriots vice president of media relations Stacey James told ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss.
The seven-time Pro Bowl receiver is in the final year of his four-year deal with New England and has voiced his displeasure at his limbo status.
"When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted," Moss said before the season began on Sept. 6. "I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of a bad feeling -- feeling not wanted. It is not like my production has gone down."
A few days later he apologized for the timing of his comments and said he loves playing in New England.
But the Boston Herald, citing an unnamed source, reported on Tuesday that Moss wanted out of New England after a Week 1 win on Sept. 12, telling his agent to ask the Patriots to trade him.
Although the Patriots crushed the Dolphins on Monday night, Moss did not have a catch -- the first time that's happened for him in a New England uniform.
Moss and Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not speak or even see each other on Tuesday, a league source told Schefter.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been an unabashed fan of Moss since the receiver arrived in New England prior to the 2007 season. The two hooked up for 23 of Brady's record 50 touchdown passes that season. Last season, Brady came to Moss' defense when a Carolina Panthers defensive back questioned Moss' effort. And after Moss said he didn't feel wanted by the Patriots a few weeks ago, Brady again came out strong in support of Moss.
"Randy is important, was important, will be important, especially from my standpoint as a quarterback," Brady said during an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "I love Randy and I'd love to play with him for a long time."
Moss, 33, has only nine catches for 139 yards and three TDs through four games this season. That comes after hauling in 83 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. His career year came in his first with the Pats, when he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 TDs, an NFL record.
The Vikings have been looking for help at receiver for quarterback Brett Favre, but they were unable to work out a deal for the Chargers' Vincent Jackson.
Pro Bowl receiver Sidney Rice will miss at least the first six weeks of the season because of a hip injury and Percy Harvin has struggled all season with migraine headaches.
Without the deep threat that he had in Rice, Favre's production has dropped dramatically. The Vikings have lost two of their first three games and their receiving group lacks the prototypical big-play receiver who can out-jump smaller cornerbacks for passes down the field.
That's Moss in a nutshell.
Moss immediately energized a lagging franchise when he was chosen in the first round in 1998. He averaged 19.0 yards per catch and hauled in 17 TDs as a rookie to help the team reach the NFC title game. His first season coincided with a string of sellouts at the drab Metrodome that remains going to this day.
The move would no doubt delight Favre, who will turn 41 later this month. He openly campaigned for the Packers to acquire Moss toward the end of his time in Green Bay. But the Patriots ultimately ended up parting with just a fourth-round pick to pry Moss away from the Raiders, and Favre privately fumed at the swing and miss by the Green Bay front office.
Favre was traded to the Jets a year later and signed a two-year deal with the Vikings last season.