Randy Moss returned to where it all began Monday night.
The receiver didn't lace up his cleats or don his No. 84 jersey, but he did take the field in Purple.
Moss — wearing custom Vikings shoes and the purple jacket he was gifted with earlier in the day – was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor during halftime of the Vikings-Saints season opener.
Fans already on their feet following an exciting first half in which Minnesota took a 16-6 lead over New Orleans maintained an electric atmosphere when Moss was introduced by "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen and by Vikings Owners Zygi, Mark and Lenny Wilf.
"On behalf of the Wilf family and the Vikings organization, congratulations on a tremendous career," Zygi Wilf said. "One of the greatest players in Vikings history.
"We love you. The fans love you," Zygi Wilf added, triggering another wave of reaction from fans.
When Moss got to the podium, he leaned into the mic and looked up into the stands.
"Did you pull your 84 jerseys out tonight?" he asked the crowd, which roared in response.
"First and foremost, I want to give honor to God for [blessing] me with this talent to be able to showcase to you guys – without Him, none of this would be possible," Moss continued.
In addition to expressing his gratitude to the Wilf family, he also thanked his former teammates and Vikings that came before him.
"Ya'll paved the way for players like me to have this purple jacket on," Moss said.
Moss' name joins an upper echelon of Vikings Legends that include the likes of Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Paul Krause, and Moss' former teammate, Cris Carter. Moss became the 22nd Vikings alum in the Ring of Honor, which was established in 1998, coincidentally Moss' rookie season.
Moss made his mark on the NFL soon after the Vikings drafted him 21st overall in 1998.
That season, he had a record-setting performance – recording 69 catches for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns – en route to receiving Rookie of the Year honors.
He started 108 of 113 games with the Vikings and appeared in eight playoff contests over seven-plus seasons in Minnesota. During that time, he played in five Pro Bowls (1998-2000; 2002-03) and was named All-Pro three times (1998, 2000, 2003).
He grew noticeably emotional as he took in the scene surrounding him that featured "84" and "Randy Moss" displayed by fans during a card stunt across the lower bowl.
"I'm going to close by saying this: I played 14 years in the National Football League; I was drafted here in 1998 by a very special man by the name of Coach Dennis Green," Moss said. "Without that man giving me an opportunity to be here before you guys, man, I will forever be grateful to the Green family.
After thanking a couple of specific fans from his time with the Vikings, and even calling one up on stage, Moss concluded with: "I want to close out by saying … *SKOL!" *
As Moss exited the field and offered another wave to fans, a chant of "Randy! Randy!" broke out in the stadium as an affectionate send-off to one of Minnesota's all-time favorite players.
Moss ranks second in NFL history with 156 receiving touchdowns, is third all-time with 15,292 yards and holds the NFL's record for touchdown catches in a season with 23 as a New England Patriot. He also ranks second in league history with 10 seasons of 1,000-plus yards and 64 career 100-yard games. He totaled 982 receptions in 14 seasons.
Moss viewed the game from two perspectives: both as a former Viking and as a current member of ESPN's broadcast team. Prior to the pregame show, he made time to give back to the Minnesota community when he surprised 15 students from ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students) on the sideline and encouraged them in their education endeavors.