Agent: Moss frustrated by Vikings' frugality

Friday, February 25th 2005, 6:25 pm
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Randy Moss enjoyed his time with the Minnesota Vikings but had grown weary of owner Red McCombs' unwillingness to spend big money on free agents, the receiver's agent said Friday.

``I think that part of his frustration with the organization is that they're (over $30 million) under the salary cap,'' Dante DiTrapano told The Associated Press. ``You need good players to advance in the playoffs and you can get a heck of a lot of good players for $30 million. He felt they weren't spending the money to get a supporting cast to advance. If they don't score 40 points, they're not going to win the game.''

Tired of dealing with his distracting antics, the Vikings reportedly have agreed to trade Moss to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris, the No. 7 pick in April's draft and a later round pick.

Neither team has confirmed the deal, which cannot officially be announced until Wednesday.

DiTrapano said Moss would be introduced at a press conference in Oakland on Wednesday.

When the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs by the Philadelphia Eagles, trade rumors began to swirl around the controversial and extremely talented receiver.

Moss initially said he preferred to stay in Minnesota, telling DiTrapano that he would only agree to a trade to Baltimore or Atlanta.

DiTrapano said Moss had some reservations upon first hearing of his trade to the Raiders, but those were eliminated after a conversation with Raiders executive Mike Lombardi and some stars from the past.

``Lombardi did a great job of describing the organization and the tradition and the history,'' DiTrapano said. ``And before long he was really excited about getting out there and playing.''

That excitement only increased on Thursday night after former Raiders greats Fred Biletnikoff and Willie Brown flew to Boca Raton, Fla., to have dinner with Moss.

``They spent a lot of time talking to Randy about the organization, the pride of the Raiders. They told him that being a part of that team is like a family, that once you're a Raider, you're always a Raider,'' DiTrapano said. ``Now Randy wishes the season started next month. He can't wait to get going.''

Moss will wear No. 18 in Oakland _ the same number he wore during the preseason of his rookie year _ and team with quarterback Kerry Collins, who loves to throw the deep ball.

Getting downfield more is something Moss looks forward to doing after seeing that part of his game decrease gradually in Minnesota over the last few seasons, DiTrapano said.

``He told me, 'This is the way I'm supposed to play football _ throw it deep to me and I can score a lot of touchdowns,'' DiTrapano said. ``He didn't have that opportunity as much in the past four or five years in Minnesota. When he was a rookie, (Randall) Cunningham would go back there and just heave it, and that's a lot of what's going to be done in Oakland.''

And while Moss received much criticism for his distracting antics over the years, DiTrapano said the receiver was often frustrated by his teammates' commitment to winning.

Moss was fined $10,000 for pretending to pull down his pants and moon the Green Bay crowd during Minnesota's playoff win and also drew criticism for leaving the field with 2 seconds left in a regular-season loss against Washington.

Other transgressions included bumping a traffic control officer with his car in 2002, verbally abusing corporate sponsors on a team bus in 2001 and squirting an official with a water bottle in 1999, in addition to his infamous ``I play when I want to play'' comments.

Last season was the first in his seven as a pro that Moss failed to go over the 1,000-yard mark. He struggled with a hamstring injury for much of the season, but did score 13 touchdowns.

Still, he was never really 100 percent after returning from the injury, and was often well-covered downfield.

DiTrapano said Moss often told him that he didn't think some of his teammates wanted to win as desperately as he did.

``After a loss, he'd tell me how some of his teammates were talking about going to clubs and stuff,'' DiTrapano said. ``That's not Randy.

``It was time. If there was going to be a change, this was perfect time for him.''