Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Moss can help distract other teams looking for receivers

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Bears, NFC, Super Bowl, Vikings fans, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin Updated: March 12, 2012 - 12:09 PM

Several teams are looking for receivers. At least two of them -- and possibly more to come -- are distracted by the potential that Randy Moss presents at age 35 and a year removed from his last snap in what was a miserable 2010 season.

The Vikings are one of the teams looking for a receiver and obviously one of the teams with zero interest in Moss. So they have to be rooting for Randy to satisfy some other team's thirst for a receiver. Presumably, any team looking to take on Moss' hefty baggage and attitude isn't looking to make him a No. 4-5 receiver. So that team likely wouldn't be pursuing yet another receiver when free agency opens at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

With only one true No. 1-type receiver -- Vincent Jackson -- in free agency, the Vikings are likely to be competing with several teams for some of the talented, but lower-tier receivers such as Pierre Garcon, Robert Meachum, Marques Colston and Laurent Robinson.

Vikings fans are seemingly stuck on Jackson. But that doesn't appear likely to happen.

Jackson is already 29 and is going to need an armored vehicle for the free-agency holdup he's been waiting to pull for about two years. Look for the Vikings to pull themselves out of that race early on, if they even choose to arrive at the starting line.

The Vikings have the money to spend, but teams such as the Bears, Bucs and Redskins have more. The Bears, Bucs and Redskins also have the sense of urgency to throw the $12 million to $14 million a year that it will take to land Jackson. (They're also presumably willing to ignore the character red flags as well. Remember, Jackson did get suspended for three games in 2010 after his second DWI offense).

Meanwhile, the Vikings are executing a serious youth movement that doesn't mesh with a receiver who will be well beyond 30 when Christian Ponder, Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson are able to realistically contend for a Super Bowl.

As for Moss, he worked out for the Saints on Friday. Today, he's reportedly in San Francisco to catch passes from 49ers coach and former Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh.

The Saints make more sense because Moss is more likely to succeed where he can't perform his two favorite B's: bully and berate. In New England, the Patriots' two B's (Brady and Belichick) trumped Moss' B's. New Orleans also has a pretty commanding B (Brees) and a Super Bowl-winning coach (Sean Payton) as well.

The 49ers have a different situation. Quarterback Alex Smith is a free agent, but he told the local CBS affiliate on Sunday night that he's satisfied with the 49ers' three-year offer and that he and his agent, Tom Condon, are close to working out a deal. 

With Smith just starting to find his way as an NFL quarterback, the 49ers will deserve every reason to be second-guessed if they throw Moss into the mix at this point.

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