(Sports Network) – Randy Moss will wear a Minnesota Vikings uniform for the first time in nearly six years on Monday night, when the future Hall of Famer and his new-old team meet the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday night.
Moss, the No. 21 overall pick of the Vikings in the 1998 Draft, enjoyed seven star-studded seasons in Minnesota (1998-2004), earning Pro Bowl honors five times over that stretch, but what was perceived as his declining attitude and increasingly disappointing team results led to his trade to the Oakland Raiders in March of 2005.
Moss’ questionable effort in Oakland prompted another trade, to New England, on Draft Day 2007. The wideout enjoyed three-plus quality seasons with the Patriots – setting an NFL single-season record with 23 touchdown catches in his first season with the team – but Moss’ growing unhappiness over his contract had become something of a distraction with New England. In his final game as a Patriot, last Monday night against the Dolphins, Moss was held without a catch for just the fifth time in his career.
On Wednesday, he was dealt back to the Vikings along with a seventh-round 2012 draft pick in exchange for New England’s third-round 2011 draft choice. Five days later, the 33-year-old Moss will appear with Minnesota for the first time since Jan. 16, 2005, when he caught three passes for 51 yards in the team’s playoff loss at Philadelphia.
The Vikings, a disappointing 1-2 with just 43 points scored through their first three games, have added Moss to revive an offense that has struggled in large part due to the injury absence of wideout Sidney Rice (hip).
Quarterback Brett Favre – who spent one memorable season as a Jet back in 2008 – has struggled to a 60.4 passer rating, with two touchdowns (and only one to a wide receiver) and six interceptions during his second year as a Viking to date.
Moss won’t be the only fresh face displaying his wares on Monday night, though the others will be participating for the home team.
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, having completed a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL substance abuse policy, will make his formal debut with Rex Ryan’s team in Week 5. Holmes, the hero of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl XLIII win over the Arizona Cardinals, posted career-highs with 79 catches and 1,248 yards in 2009, before the troubled former first-rounder was traded in April.
Also expected to be in the Jets lineup for the first time this season on Monday night is pass rusher Calvin Pace, who suffered a foot injury in the preseason but has resumed practicing with the club.
Those figures will re-join a New York team that has followed up an opening- night loss to the Ravens with impressive victories over the Patriots (28-14), Dolphins (31-23) and Bills (38-14).