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Randy Moss: Vikings 'Have to Embrace' Opportunity for Success

Posted Oct 12, 2016

Randy Moss began filling highlight reels with show-stopping offensive plays in his rookie season of 1998.

The receiver helped the Vikings to a 7-0 start and franchise-best 15-1 mark in that magical season.

The 2016 Vikings have opened the season 5-0, but they have been paced by the defense.

That’s OK with Moss, too.

Now a member of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team, Moss returned to Minnesota to cover the Vikings Week 4 game against the Giants and sat down with “Voice of the Vikings” Paul Allen for a Vikings: Beyond The Gridiron segment.

“I haven’t seen a Minnesota defense this fun to watch,” Moss told Allen.

“The one thing that stands out to me is how much pressure they get with four guys rushing,” Moss said. “They come up there with the double-A gap, they try to bluff it, they try to make the offense think of where the pressure is coming from, who’s coming, who is not.”

Moss, who was teammates with Everson Griffen and Brian Robison in 2010, said it’s good to see the defensive ends “enjoy their success.” Griffen is in his seventh season, and Robison is in his 10th, and both are hungry for a deep postseason run.

“One thing about it, if you’ve been on a team for six or seven years and … haven’t enjoyed success, and now you have an opportunity to enjoy it, man, you have to embrace this,” Moss said. “The Vikings are heading the right direction. How far they go, I don’t know, but I like what I see. I like Coach [Mike] Zimmer, I like what he brings to the table.

“The Vikings are heading the right direction. I’m glad they beat Green Bay here a couple of weeks ago,” Moss added with a laugh.

Moss had one of the best games of his career the first time he played the Packers. In just his fifth pro game, Moss recorded 190 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions at Lambeau Field to push the Vikings to 5-0 before their bye.

Moss told Allen the impact of that Monday Night Football game went beyond the box score.

“I’ll never forget it because of the impact I was able to make as a rookie,” Moss said. “I’m coming on a team with Randall McDaniel, John Randle, Randall Cunningham, Cris Carter, I didn’t really know my place. I knew my place in college, but being a rookie, seeing these guys, Pro Bowlers and everything they started and what they had established, it was hard to find my niche and way on the team, but after that game, they knew that something special was brewing in Minnesota.”

It also instilled in Moss the intensity of the Vikings-Packers rivalry and the challenge of going against a team with Brett Favre and Reggie White.

“Everyone was saying how hard it was to win in Green Bay, and I really took it upon myself to go out there and try to do whatever I could to make plays and lead the team in the right direction and just compete against Favre,” Moss said. “I know I played receiver and he played quarterback, but that was my mentality. We’ve gotta out-do Favre. If Favre scores 14, we’ve got to get 15. However we get it in the air or ground, that’s the memory of the rivalry.”

After seven seasons in Minnesota, Moss was traded to Oakland, where he played two seasons, followed by three-plus in New England.

Moss told Allen that he had a special request on his way to the Patriots, that his locker be side-by-side with Tom Brady’s.

“I always wanted to know what Tom Brady was doing before he audibled,” Moss explained. “I wanted to feel and understand his approach to the game.”

Moss caught a whopping 23 touchdown passes that first season with the Patriots, his fourth of five total seasons of leading the NFL in touchdown catches.

Moss opened 2010 in New England, before returning to Minnesota and briefly became a teammate of Favre’s before Moss finished the season in Tennessee. He capped his career in San Francisco in 2012 after a year away from the game.

Moss said his time as a teammate of Favre’s was enjoyable but too little and too late.

“It was exciting,” Moss said, “but at the same time, me and Favre both agree that we should have hooked up with each other a little bit earlier.”