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Moss, Vikings sign huge pact

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Randy Moss hinted he might have to look elsewhere for a Super Bowl ring. Maybe now he believes he can get it with the Minnesota Vikings.

Or it might just be that an eight-year, $75 million contract offer was more convincing.

The Vikings' star wide receiver, who said he wanted to be the highest-paid player in the league, agreed Wednesday to a contract extension that includes an $18 million signing bonus.

Because NFL contracts — which aren't guaranteed — usually contain complicated performance clauses, and early retirement can cut short a player's earning power, it's tough to tell exactly whose deal is worth the most.

But based on annual averages, Moss is now the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league and third-richest player overall — behind Drew Bledsoe and Brett Favre.

It's not hard to figure out that the Vikings had no interest in leaving open the possibility of Moss playing for another team.

Minnesota opens training camp Sunday, and owner Red McCombs had said he wanted to have an extension in place before the regular season opened. Moss had one year left on a four-year deal that would have paid him a base of $3.5 million in 2001.

"We'll sign everybody who we think we have to have," coach Dennis Green said. "We think this is Red McCombs' commitment to having an outstanding team."

Moss wasn't around the team's practice facility Wednesday to discuss his new deal, but issued a statement through the team.

"I've been planning on this day for a long time," he said. "Security for me and my family is now here. I would like to give a big thanks to God for making my talent and my name stand out and being able to keep me healthy so that I could be in this position."

Moss' agent, Dante DiTrapano, confirmed the details of the contract.

"It was important for him to be recognized not only as the best wide receiver in the game but as one of the best players in the league," DiTrapano said.

Moss has proven that in three seasons with 226 catches, 4,163 yards and 43 touchdowns, the best for any wide receiver over that period in NFL history, including Jerry Rice.

Moss, 24, who slipped to 21st overall in the 1998 draft because of off-field problems in college, has admitted to taking plays off and been fined a couple of times for on-field conflicts with officials.

Green downplayed that.

"That's yesterday," Green said. "The only thing we really worry about is what we can accomplish on the field."

Early this year, after a 41-0 loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game, Moss suggested his future might be elsewhere.

"I'm going to have a Super Bowl ring," Moss said. "I can't really say I'm going to be a Minnesota Viking in a couple of years."

Moss' deal could further complicate the Vikings' already-tight salary cap situation, which forced them to let go of three defensive starters this offseason: John Randle, Tony Williams and Dwayne Rudd.

"We can't keep them all," Green said. "We like this football team."