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Cris Carter: Hot Tamales and a Coke

Posted Sep 5, 2017

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Cris Carter was already a bona fide star wide receiver and had 89 career touchdown catches before Randy Moss arrived in the Twin Cities. 

But when the two joined forces, they created perhaps the greatest wide receiver duo of all-time, a tandem that struck fear into every defensive coordinator around the NFL.

That’s evident by the 93 combined touchdown catches from 1998 to 2001.

A strong commitment to one another and shared healthy competitive nature was at the heart of their relationship.

“Randy helped keep me motivated,” Carter said. “For a long time, I was clearly the best receiver on the team, but when Randy came in … I really didn’t mind sharing the spotlight because I knew it was going to be a rare opportunity. I wanted to maximize the moment.

“We constantly kept pressure on one another,” Carter recalled. “We used to make little bets during the game … $100 for the first touchdown and $200 if his was over 50 yards.”

Moss hauled in 14 touchdowns over his first four seasons that went for 50 yards or more.

“It was good money to lose,” Carter said with a laugh.

Moss and Carter trained together in Florida right after the draft. It didn’t take long for the future Hall of Famer to be impressed.

Carter said he knew the first day he saw Moss in action that he would end up in the Vikings Ring of Honor. Both superstars now reside in the special place in franchise history.

“Even when people called him ‘The Freak,’ they didn’t really know,” Carter said. “But working out with him, he was very competitive. And not good hands, but great hands.

“If I could make a wide receiver, he would have so many of the attributes that Randy had — his size, overall speed, overall quickness, his football IQ,” Carter added. “Randy was special and had an unbelievable chemistry and magic with the fans there. He truly had an impact on the franchise and our fan base like very few players have.”

The two best wide receivers in Vikings history created plenty of memories over the years.

But what sticks out in Carter’s mind is Moss’ first career game, a 31-7 win over the Buccaneers in Week 1 of the 1998 campaign.

Carter said Moss nearly missed the morning deadline to arrive at the stadium before the game.

The rest is history.

“We’re playing Tampa Bay. They have Tony Dungy, the Tampa 2 (defense), one of the best defenses in the NFL,” Carter said. “He said he was a little nervous and said he couldn’t eat. … He said he was playing video games (the morning of the game).

“I asked him what he was going to eat before the game, he broke out a box of Hot Tamales and a Coke,” Carter said.

Fueled by a sugar buzz, Moss promptly announced his presence within the division with four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

“I was like, ‘Damn man, maybe if you eat some food and get some nutrients inside of you, you’ll be alright.’ That was the first game,” Carter chuckled. “Seeing him eat Hot Tamales and drink a Coke for a pregame meal, then go out there against one of the best defenses, it was confirmation that he was the guy.”