Randy Moss' second stint in Minnesota is over after four games in which he averaged about 44 yards receiving per contest, assuming he appears on the waiver wire today. While we wrote soon after he was dealt that Moss couldn't solve Minnesota's offensive problems, not even the most pessimistic expectation suggested Moss would be done with the Vikings by November. And yet, here we are.
The loss of a draft pick aside, from a tactical standpoint, it was easy to waive Moss because he really wasn't producing all that much. Our concern with the Vikings' offense was Brett Favre's struggles on intermediate-range passes, throws from 7-14 yards downfield (check the Green Bay tapes as a guide). His completion percentage on those throws had slipped from 71 percent in 2009 to 45 percent in 2010. Moss didn't help those issues out very much; during Moss's four-week tenure, Favre was 15-of-29 on those throws, for a completion percentage of 51 percent. Moss himself had a catch rate of 52 percent, well below the 61 percent figure he was at a year ago, but better than his 41 percent rate as a Patriots player.
Based on his form in New England and Minnesota, Moss just isn't playing like someone who can dominate at every level. He can still jump over defensive backs and make fantastic catches, but he has only two plays with more than 10 yards after the catch, and his success rate -- the percentage of the time he pushes his team toward a new set of downs -- has fallen from 57 percent in 2009 to 46 percent this year.
So, it looks like Moss is going to be best used as a complementary wideout that stretches defenses downfield, like a rich man's Chris Chambers. (Ouch.) And although the waiver process dictates that Moss doesn't have a choice over where he ends up, we can safely assume that he is going to want to play for a winner, and teams that are totally out of the playoff hunt won't bother to claim him and pay him the more than $3.4 million he's owed.
Let's go through the league by waiver priority (with thanks to AFC East blogger Tim Graham for compiling the list) and use context, scheme and this year's performance to see where Moss might be best suited. We'll give each team a score for fit, with zero representing a terrible situation for Moss and 10 an ideal one.
1. Buffalo: No hope of going to the playoffs and a similar player in the lineup in Lee Evans. Wouldn't spend the cash anyway. Fit: 0/10
3. Dallas: Money ain't a thang, but one of the few positions the Cowboys are deep at is wide receiver. Would be solely for PR distraction purposes. Fit: 2/10