FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Randy Moss was quiet in his return to New England only until the game ended.
Once the Patriots finished off a 28-18 win over Moss and the Minnesota Vikings, the sometimes troubled and often outspoken star receiver opened up about the trade that made him a visitor Sunday.
"It was hard for me to come here to play, an up and down thing. I was on a roller coaster all week," said Moss, who had one catch for 8 yards for Minnesota. "To see these guys running plays and I know what they are doing, I know what type of feeling they have in the locker room.
"I miss every last helmet in that locker room."
Moss had not spoken to reporters since Oct. 13, taking a $25,000 fine from the NFL for failing to cooperate with the media. The money didn't sway him to open up last week in the days leading up to his return to New England, which traded him to the Vikings on Oct. 6.
Moss had little impact on the game, and his few accomplishments were overshadowed by the injury to Brett Favre, who was knocked out of the game with a cut to his chin that required eight stitches in the fourth quarter.
Moss' biggest contribution was drawing two penalties during a late touchdown drive that got the Vikings back in the game, but cost them Favre.
The Patriots were called for illegal contact on Moss, who was trying to get open for a pass from Favre before the QB took a shot to the chin and did not return.
Moss exchanged a long hug with Patriots coach Bill Belichick and several former teammates before leaving what was his home field less than a month before.
"He's a Hall of Famer. He made a lot of great contributions for this team," Belichick said after the game. "But today he was the competition. That's the way it is in this league."
By the end of the game, Moss said some fans were cheering instead of jeering and he was touched by the reception, although still disappointed by the final score.
"I'm definitely down that we lost this game. I didn't expect we'd lose this game," Moss said. "I don't know how many more times I'll be in New England again. But I leave coach Belichick and those guys with a salute: `I love you guys. I miss you. I'm out.'"
Moss didn't see the ball until an 8-yard completion from Favre early in the third quarter. Fans barely had time to boo before Favre rolled out on the next play and found Adrian Peterson for a 25-yard pass that set up the Vikings at the 13-yard line and led to the field goal that put Minnesota up 10-7.
He was a non-factor until he drew a pass interference penalty that gave the Vikings first-and-goal at the 9, then drew another penalty on the play that knocked Favre from the game.
"Whether he had 20 catches or zero catches, the main goal for us as a team is to win and that didn't happen," Vikings receiver Greg Lewis said. "So that's frustrating."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press