- Associated Press - Thursday, October 7, 2010

EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. (AP) - To hear Randy Moss tell it, this week’s blockbuster trade that moved him from New England to Minnesota didn’t just bring him back to the place where he started his NFL career.

The headline grabbing move wasn’t about Moss simply coming back to a team that traded him five years ago.

More important than anything for Moss, and thus for the Vikings, is that the star receiver feels like he is home.

“I’m very fortunate to be back home where it all started,” said Moss, the West Virginia native who referred to Minnesota as home seven times Thursday. “It’s been a hectic last 48 hours. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m back home.”

Wearing that familiar purple No. 84 on his back, Moss practiced with the Vikings a day after he was acquired from the Patriots in a trade his new team hopes will get them right back in the Super Bowl conversation.

“To all the Vikings fans that are coming to the Metrodome, pull your 84 jerseys out, man,” Moss said. “I think this is going to be a fun ride.”

With owners Zygi and Mark Wilf watching from the sideline, Moss caught passes from Brett Favre and talked to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell as he prepares for Monday night’s road game against the New York Jets.

“Who woulda ever thunk it?” Favre asked.

Moss spent his first seven seasons in Minnesota, emerging as the best deep threat in the league for one of the most potent offenses ever assembled. He was traded to Oakland in 2005 and spent the last three seasons with the Patriots before being dealt back to the Vikings on Wednesday.

“The people that I meet on the regular outside the state of Minnesota, all they know is me being in the purple 84,” Moss said, adding later: “I still have a lot of love for the Minnesota Vikings, man. Just luckily I did get traded here. For what reasons, I still don’t know to this day. But I am back.”

No matter where he has played _ in college, with the Vikings after he slid down the draft board in 1998 or in New England after many thought he was washed up _ Moss has always played his best with a chip on his shoulder.

That’s what the Vikings are hoping to see again.

“I think there’s always that,” coach Brad Childress said after the trade was announced. “The great thing about this business is you have to do it every week. For anybody that is saying anything bad about Randy Moss, he gets a chance to show them wrong. That’s never a bad motivator.”

Moss became a star in college, when he ended up at Marshall after off-the-field issues caused Notre Dame to rescind a scholarship offer. He had two brilliant seasons with the Thundering Herd, but he fell to the Vikings at No. 21 in the 1998 draft because of concerns about his character.

Moss unleashed all that pent up frustration in his first season, scoring 17 touchdowns and averaging more than 19 yards per catch to help the Vikings reach the NFC title game. In his seven seasons with the Vikings, Moss caught 574 passes for 9,142 yards and 90 touchdowns.

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