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Jim Kleinsasser: Loyalty and Friendship

Posted Sep 6, 2017

Take an informal poll amongst Vikings fans, and Randy Moss will likely be included as one of the most popular players in franchise history.

And it’s a good bet Jim Kleinsasser will also be on the list.

The pair had opposite playing styles. Moss was an athletic freak who could blow by anyone on the field, and Kleinsasser’s rugged style led to a successful career as a fullback and tight end.

Yet the players with starkly contrasting attributes were also good friends beginning from the time Kleinsasser was a second-round pick in 1999 out of the University of North Dakota.

“When I came in, I was kind of the ‘Aw shucks, gee whiz, look at all of this’ guy coming from North Dakota,” Kleinsasser said. “I was amazed at everything and that I was even there at the time.

“Randy had such a fun-going personality … but the big thing that really captured you was seeing him on the field,” Kleinsasser added. “He’s probably the most gifted athlete I’ve ever seen. There are a few guys who are just complete super freaks.”

The pair were teammates in Minnesota for all or parts of seven seasons.

Kleinsasser said he has vivid and fond memories of Moss as a teammate and friend, whether it was cracking jokes in the locker room or playing offseason pickup basketball around the Twin Cities.

“His talent and what he brought to the Vikings, maybe it’s got a little muddied with his departure the first time and his departure the second time,” Kleinsasser said. “But I’ve always looked at him as a good person … I think some of the things that have been out there have been a little misunderstood.

“Maybe some of that lies on him, and I think we can all take stock in ourselves sometimes,” Kleinsasser added. “Randy was a loyal guy. People see what’s out there in the public and the media, but as a teammate I’ve got nothing but great things to say about him.”

Moss and Kleinsasser reconnected in June when Moss was in town for a surprise announcement that Moss was going into the Vikings Ring of Honor.

Even then, Kleinsasser could still picture Moss flying down the field and outleaping a pair of defenders for a touchdown.

“I think Randy is one of those once-in-a-generation type players,” Kleinsasser said. “He was just electrifying.”