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Randy Moss: His Way

Posted Sep 10, 2017

Randy Moss always did it his way.

He stayed true to himself as he journeyed from his small West Virginia hometown to a prolific two-year stretch at Marshall University to his Purple reign in Minnesota, where he began an unforgettable career in 1998.

Now, Moss has landed among Legends. He will be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor tonight at halftime of the Vikings 2017 season opener on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints.

Moss, who will be the 22nd member of the prestigious club, said there is a sense of pride and accomplishment in going down in Vikings lore.

“Hard work does pay off,” Moss told Vikings.com in June. “I don’t think enough tears can really show, and I don’t think enough bruises, emotional bruises, can show you how much that I sacrificed to put into this game to make sure I came out every Sunday and entertained the fans.

“No one knows what you sacrificed but you,” Moss added. “My hard work and all the sacrifices, all the late nights … hard work does pay off. And that’s why I’m a blessed man.”

Moss spent seven-plus of his 14 total NFL seasons with the Vikings, instilling fear into opposing coaches and defensive backs.

He ranks second all-time with 156 receiving touchdowns, third with 15,292 receiving yards and is 15th in league history with 982 receptions. All are numbers that are likely to land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

More than 40 percent of Moss’ touchdowns catches (66 of them) went for 30-plus yards. His highlight reel of touchdowns that went for 40-plus yards includes 46 plays, can be found online and needs almost 10 minutes to watch its entirety.

But those numbers only tell part of the story of Moss’ dominance in the NFL.

Opposing coaches tried every trick in the book to stop Moss, tailoring their defenses to the freakish vertical threat. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he had scout team wide receivers line up two yards past the line of scrimmage just to mimic Moss’ speed when Zimmer was with the Dallas Cowboys in the late 1990s.

In hindsight, it’s safe to say Moss should have been one of the top picks in the 1998 NFL Draft. But the wide receiver fell to the 21st spot where the Vikings and former Head Coach Dennis Green welcomed Moss with open arms.

“I’m here in Minnesota going into the Ring of Honor, but he brought me here,” Moss said. “All the teams passed on me, all the negative comments they said about me, Coach Green took a chance and made a lot of people in this state happy.”

Moss scored on the 16th play of his professional career, hauling in a 48-yard touchdown that required superb hand-eye coordination and blazing speed.

Moss had all that and more, blending nightmarish size and strength to produce one touchdown catch after another. He caught 17 of them as a rookie, the best total for a first-year player, helping the Vikings produce a franchise-best record of 15-1.

The wide receiver spent seven full seasons in Purple before briefly returning to the Twin Cities for another stint in 2010.

But Moss’ legacy will now reside in Minnesota forever in the Vikings Ring of Honor.

It’s the culmination of a path that Moss undeniably carved out for himself. But it is exactly where Moss belongs. 

“I think a lot of people look at this chip on my shoulder as arrogance. No, the chip that I carried on my shoulder was me determined day-in, day-out, play-in, play-out, game-in, game-out to be able to go out there and be the best at whatever it was I was setting out to do,” Moss said. “I burned a few feathers along the way (with) straight tunnel vision. I think a lot of people don’t understand that when you have tunnel vision, you’re not looking to the right and not looking to the left. That’s why they call it tunnel vision … you’re looking straight down and don’t come off the track until you reach what your goals were.

“I think that’s the chip that I carried on my shoulder. I was determined to come into the National Football League and prove a lot of people wrong. I didn’t really care what was on the side of that tunnel,” Moss added. “All that I cared about was the straight and narrow. Now that I’m older and I can honestly say it, ‘Yeah, I carried the chip,’ And I wouldn’t change it for nothing.”