*EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — *Quarterback Sam Bradford said Thursday that Vikings players would “run through a wall” for Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
“We all love him and have a great deal of respect for him,” said Bradford in part of his comments about how offensive players enjoyed Zimmer, considered by many as a defensive guru, spending more time with that side of the ball.
Approximately 24 hours before, Vikings Legends Randy Moss and Ahmad Rashad spoke at the same podium after Owner/President Mark Wilf announced the former receivers will be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2017.
Moss will be inducted on Sept. 11 when Minnesota hosts New Orleans on Monday Night Football. Rashad’s induction is scheduled for Oct. 1 when the Lions visit the Vikings.
Both men made sure to thank their head coaches for helping their careers.
Moss needed a long pause when asked what he would say to the late Dennis Green, who passed away July 21, 2016.
Green took a chance on Moss when others wouldn’t and selected him with the 21st overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft.
Moss picked up a digital recorder and tapped it against the podium, trying to gather himself.
“Man, I don’t know, man. I don’t know.
“I was 6-years old playing this game. On draft day, 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. “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,” Moss said. “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 credited Green with helping showcase his talents and said the second-winningest coach in Vikings history uniquely contributed to his favorite memory as a member of the Vikings before a Monday Night Football game against the Packers.
“Coach Green is up here at a podium kind of like this, if any of you knew Coach Green he could play the drums, he knew rhythm very good,” Moss said. “So he’s up here playing a beat on the podium, so we never knew why he was playing that beat. So, when he starts playing the beat, he was basically telling Randall Cunningham, Randall McDaniel, the offense, Cris Carter and them, ‘This is the rhythm that we’re going to have to play to the whole night in order for us to be successful.’
“The rest is history.”
Moss delivered a whopping 190 yards and two touchdowns on five catches in his fifth pro game, and Minnesota won 37-24.
Rashad was a first-round pick (fourth overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972. He didn’t flourish in the NFL, however, until arriving in Minnesota in 1976. Rashad spoke about how much it meant to him to play for Hall of Famer Bud Grant.
“Bud Grant was one of the most wonderful people that has come through my life of anybody,” Rashad said. “He was just a wonderful, wonderful man. He was all about football, but he was also about life. Bud was a guy that could prepare as hard as he could, go out and play the game as hard as he could and then go home and have dinner.
“Nothing got Bud that excited, and you found yourself trying to do things to make him excited,” Rashad said. “I remember I could make a touchdown and I could walk by him and Bud would say silly things like, ‘I could’ve done that. I just don’t have the right shoes on.’ You know, just things you would never expect to come out of Bud’s mouth.”
Rashad also remembered another light-hearted exchange with Grant during a preseason game in which the Vikings receivers were hampered by injuries.
“Bud just kind of looked at me and goes, ‘Well, it’s either you or me. But, I don’t have my helmet.’ ”