Patriots send Randy Moss to Vikings

Randy Moss' improbable return to Minnesota has become reality.

The Patriots have completed a blockbuster trade sending the Pro Bowl wide receiver to the Vikings.

The Vikings will send a third-round 2011 draft pick to the Patriots in return for Moss and New England's seventh-round draft pick in 2012, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was "grateful" for the opportunity to coach Moss and wished him the best "for the remainder of his Hall of Fame career.

"Over the course of the past several months, I have spoken with Randy and his representative about Randy's place on our team and his future in football," Belichick said in a news release announcing the trade.

"While I will keep private the details of internal conversations with players and staff, suffice it to say that many things were taken into consideration before making the trade," Belichick said. "In this business, there are complex and often difficult decisions, but it is my responsibility to make them based on what I feel is best for our football team, in both the short term and long term."

Vikings coach Brad Childress was expected to discuss the trade at a news conference at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The Patriots now have two picks in each of the first four rounds of the 2011 draft -- their own picks and a first-round pick from Oakland, a second-round pick from Carolina, the third-round pick from Minnesota and a fourth-rounder from Denver.

A source close to Moss told ESPN NFL senior analyst Chris Mortensen that Belichick informed Moss of the trade on Wednesday morning by telephone. The source said the conversation was cordial, with both men expressing appreciation for the time they spent together.

Moss will report to the Vikings on Wednesday and is said to be "excited" about returning to his original team with Brett Favre at quarterback, the source said. No contract extension talks have been conducted, but it is expected the two sides will have a discussion later in the day, the source said.

FoxSports.com earlier reported the trade talks.

The seven-time Pro Bowl receiver is in the final year of his four-year contract with New England and has voiced his displeasure with being in limbo.

"When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted," Moss said before the season began on Sept. 6. "I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of a bad feeling -- feeling not wanted. It is not like my production has gone down."

Moss made similar comments during a press conference following the Patriots' season-opening victory over the Bengals. The next day, he apologized for the timing of his remarks and said he loves playing in New England.

But the Boston Herald, citing an unnamed source, reported on Tuesday that Moss wanted out of New England after a Week 1 win on Sept. 12, telling his agent to ask the Patriots to trade him.

Although the Patriots crushed the Dolphins on Monday night, Moss did not have a catch -- the first time that's happened for him in a New England uniform.

Moss and Belichick did not speak or even see each other on Tuesday, a league source told Schefter.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been an unabashed fan of Moss since the receiver arrived in New England prior to the 2007 season. The two hooked up for 23 of Brady's record 50 touchdown passes that season. Last season, Brady came to Moss' defense when a Panthers defensive back questioned Moss' effort. And after Moss said he didn't feel wanted by the Patriots a few weeks ago, Brady again came out strong in support of Moss.

"Randy is important, was important, will be important, especially from my standpoint as a quarterback," Brady said during an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "I love Randy and I'd love to play with him for a long time."

Moss, 33, has only nine catches for 139 yards and three TDs through four games this season. That comes after hauling in 83 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. His career year came in his first with the Pats, when he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 TDs, an NFL record.

The Vikings have been looking for help at receiver for Favre, but they were unable to work out a deal for the Chargers' Vincent Jackson.

Pro Bowl receiver Sidney Rice is sidelined for at least the first six weeks of the season because of a hip injury and Percy Harvin has struggled all season with migraine headaches.

Without the deep threat that he had in Rice, Favre's production has dropped dramatically. The Vikings have lost two of their first three games and their receiving group lacks the prototypical big-play receiver who can outjump smaller cornerbacks for passes down the field.

That's Moss in a nutshell.

Moss immediately energized a lagging Vikings franchise when he was chosen in the first round in 1998. He averaged 19.0 yards per catch and hauled in 17 TDs as a rookie to help the team reach the NFC title game. His first season coincided with a string of sellouts at the drab Metrodome that remains going to this day.

The move will no doubt delight Favre, who will turn 41 later this month. He openly campaigned for the Packers to acquire Moss toward the end of his time in Green Bay. But the Patriots ultimately ended up parting with just a fourth-round pick to pry Moss away from the Raiders, and Favre privately fumed at the swing and miss by the Green Bay front office.

Favre was traded to the Jets a year later and signed a two-year deal with the Vikings last season.

The Vikings made room for Moss on their roster by trading defensive end Jayme Mitchell to the Cleveland Browns for an undisclosed 2012 draft pick. The teams agreed in principle to the deal Tuesday, but didn't formally announce it until Mitchell passed his physical Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.