Potential sale complicates trade process

The Minnesota Vikings are willing to trade Randy Moss, but the potential sale of the team could delay any move.

Vikings owner Red McCombs gave permission this week for the personnel office and coach Mike Tice to trade the wide receiver, team sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Sunday.

The Vikings, involved in negotiations to sell the team, denied that Moss was available, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported in Monday's editions.

Owner Red McCombs told the paper he has not given vice president of football operations Red Brzezinski permission to shop Moss.

"I don't know why this thing keeps being brought up," Brzezinski told the Star Tribune. "It hasn't even been discussed at all."

Dante DiTrapano, Moss' agent, told the paper he has spoken to Brzezinski but agreed to postpone trade discussions until later.

The Vikings want a combination of draft picks and players, preferably a defensive starter, the sources told Mortensen.

The Ravens, Jets and Raiders are expected to have serious interest. The Jets made an offer last year, sources said, but it fell far short of serious consideration.

Moss has four seasons remaining on an eight-year, $75 million contract, but economics likely would not preclude a trade.

The Vikings would recoup about $2 million in salary cap space for 2005 if they traded Moss. Because Minnesota has already paid the $18 million signing bonus that was part of Moss' landmark contract, any team acquiring him would be responsible only for the remaining base salaries on the deal.

Those salaries -- $7.25 million for 2005, $8.25 million for '06, $9.75 million for '07 and $11.25 million for '08 -- might be considered exorbitant by most NFL teams. But any team acquiring Moss could restructure the contract, applying much of the base salary due the wide receiver into a signing bonus.

For 2005 alone, a team could reduce Moss' salary cap charge by more than $5 million simply by lowering his scheduled $7.25 million base salary to the league minimum and giving him the difference as a guaranteed bonus.

Two general managers from teams other than the Vikings, in Jacksonville to attend Super Bowl XXXIX, said Sunday that they believe Moss will be traded in the offseason. They said they expect the Vikings to initiate discussions with potential suitors well in advance of March 2, when the league trade moratorium is lifted.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.