Nobody wanted Randy Moss in Minnesota more than Dennis Green.
The former Vikings Head Coach told numerous people on April 18, 1998 — the first day of the 1998 NFL Draft — that Moss would be there for Minnesota at pick No. 21.
Green looked like a genius when the Vikings nabbed Moss, while other teams passed on him because of off-the-field concerns.
“Well, I think I’d say Randy is who we thought he was. The guy could really run and make plays,” Green told Vikings.com in 2015. “We were convinced, a lot of people weren’t, but we were convinced his off-the-field incidents when he was younger were part of being young, but his love of the game would keep him from committing the same type of mistakes later, because if you make those mistakes, you can’t play, and Randy really wanted to play, and we were right about that.
“He loved to play the game and play the game with a lot of enthusiasm, and it’s why he went on to be so successful, because his behavior was a thing of the past and he was all about the future,” Green added.
Green was Minnesota’s head man from 1992 to 2001, finishing with a record of 97-62. Green led the Vikings to eight playoff seasons, including four NFC Central championships.
But it was Green’s advocating to draft Moss that turned out to be a franchise-altering move for the Vikings, and the rest of the NFL.
“Randy created a new game,” Green recalled. “At that time, you had very few big, extremely fast receivers, and Randy and the deep ball revitalized the game of football, with his ability to, you’d put it up there, and he’d go down and get it.”
Green passed away on July 22, 2016, at the age of 67.
When Moss was surprised with his Ring of Honor announcement almost a year later, he became emotional when talking about the second-winningest coach in Vikings history.
It was because Green was the one who took a chance on Moss.
“I really don’t know why I was treated the way I was treated on draft day. But Coach Green gave me an opportunity, man,” Moss said after a long pause to compose himself. “I told him, ‘Coach, you’re not going to regret this.’ So, you ask me what I would say to him?
“Man, I’d probably just fall in his arms and give him a hug. Man, it’s no words that I could tell him. The man passed away without me really, really giving him my love and thanks for what he was able to do for me and my family, man,” Moss added. “There was a lot of teams out there that passed on me for wrong reasons. Coach Green gave me that opportunity.
“Man, however you feel about me, you can feel. But if you feel a good way about me, Coach Green brought me here,” Moss continued. “Whatever talents I was able to showcase, he helped me do that. Just fall in his arms and give him a big hug, man. That’s my man. You see how emotional I am about him, I’m very thankful to be able to cross paths with Coach Green.”* *