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Randall Cunningham: The Randy Rule

Posted Sep 5, 2017

Let’s just call it The Randy Rule.

Former Vikings quarterback Randall Cunningham does.

In 1998, Cunningham and Randy Moss teamed up to form one of the greatest deep-threat combos in NFL history.

Their magical season was highlighted by Cunningham, who had a career-best passer rating of 106.0, often chucking the rock deep for No. 84 to chase down the sideline and catch.

“If an NFL quarterback takes a five-step drop and throws it as far as he can, there’s not many people who are going to run under the ball,” Cunningham explained. “We had a rule with Randy. The rule with everybody else is (that you throw it) 40 or 45 yards down the field and then five yards from the sideline — that’s where the ball was supposed to be.

“With Randy, it was 50 or 55 yards down the field. If you took a five-step (drop) and put it out there about 50 yards, he would be able to go get it,” Cunningham added. “It wasn’t the farthest I could throw, but I would definitely put it out there where he could go and get it. If I put it out there, the chances were that he was going to come up with the ball.”

When Cunningham looked Moss’ way in 1998, the results were staggering. Moss caught 57 passes for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns from the 35-year-old quarterback that season. 

“There’s been a lot of players with great speed in the league, but the difference with Randy is that he was 6-foot-4 and had long arms,” Cunningham said. “Him putting his arms up in the air was going to give you another three of four yards you could put it out there because he was so tall.”

The duo connected on five touchdown passes of 50-plus yards. And of the 13 passes that went for at least 40 yards, nine ended with Moss gliding into the end zone.

Not bad for a quarterback who began the season as the backup after running a marble-and-granite business the previous year.

But Cunningham said Moss helped him make a seamless transition to being the starter.

“Having a player like him, he became a friend as well,” Cunningham said. “Randy was really down to earth, and that’s what I loved about him.

“He was a kid at the time, but he had always tasted success. It had followed him wherever he went,” Cunningham said. “We got to share that, which was a blessing.”

Moss retired in 2012 at the age of 35. But if the wide receiver wanted to play today, Cunningham said there’s no question he could still take the top off the defense.

“I think if Randy wanted to come back and play today, he could still play,” Cunningham said with a laugh. “He’d fit right in and would probably run about a 4.5 (-second 40-yard dash) today. His hands and moves haven’t gone anywhere. Randy could still play at 40 years old.”