Vikings Legend Randy Moss is coming back to Minnesota this weekend as part of ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast crew.
Moss spoke with media members during a conference call on Thursday and said he's had this game circled on his calendar since the schedule was released.
The prime-time matchup will feature teams that are a combined 5-1 so far this season, and Moss said he's looking forward to seeing U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time, even if it did replace the Metrodome, where he created some strong memories and delivered dazzling plays.
Here are highlights from the player who filled Vikings highlight reels. Click here for the full audio.
1. What made the 1998 Vikings and 2007 Patriots special?
Moss has the unique distinction of being a major factor in two of the most prolific scoring and best won-loss records in NFL history. As a rookie in 1998, he took the league by storm and helped Minnesota score 556 points to set a new league record. As a seasoned-veteran by 2007, Moss was still nearly unstoppable, catching a career-high 23 touchdowns and helping New England break the team scoring record with 589 points (Denver topped that with 606 in 2013).
Moss was asked at what point he thought those two teams emerged as better than opponents.
He said the teams "just grew each and every week" and pivoted to what he likes about the Vikings under Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
"Just being able to look at the demeanor of the head coach, Zimmer, and just looking at his relationship that he shows on TV with his players," Moss said. "They don't seem like they're getting too ahead of themselves and he doesn't seem like the type of coach that will let them get to ahead of themselves. It's just not hearing what we say, or the media says, it's just being able to take it one game at a time and not trying to overdo things.
"When I was in Minnesota with the 15-1 season, of course I was young. I don't know how the veterans like John Randle and Randall McDaniel, I don't know how they took it. But they didn't really show if they were getting too ahead of themselves. We just practiced hard and did all the little things, even eating on Fridays. I think it's just understanding what's at stake every week because now you've got a target on your head and teams are really coming at you each and every week like never before. I think it's a good thing, the position the Vikings are in right now, I really do."
2. Impressed by the defense and teamwork
A major part of Zimmer's overhaul since his arrival in 2014 has been improving a defense that ranked at or near the bottom in multiple defensive categories. Minnesota ranked fifth in scoring defense in 2015, allowing 18.9 points per game. So far this season, they're allowing an average of 13.3.
Moss said the Vikings are taking it a step further by creating turnovers and turning takeaways into points.
"They have a defense that is really playing, and the good thing about their defense is that they're turning the ball over," Moss said. "From an offensive standpoint, you want your defense to be a top-ranked defense, but at the same time they're turning the ball over, so that's just extra syrup on top. I like the position that the Vikings are in, and I like that being able to play complementary football is really what stands out to me. They're playing some good football right now."
3. Liking the Bradford acquisition
Moss said he's liked what he's seen so far in the transition that Sam Bradford has made since the Vikings traded for him on Sept. 3. Bradford has started the past two games and has a 107.8 passer rating in the pair of victories.
"I really think that a lot weighs on the offensive line and Sam Bradford's shoulders," Moss said. "One, being able to stay jelling and keeping the chemistry they have going right now, the momentum, because the defense is playing some pretty good ball right now. And also, being able to keep some type of chemistry and relationship between him and Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph.
"Not trying to put no pressure on anyone, but just looking at the season thus far and what they've done, I think it was a smart move by the Vikings," Moss added. "A lot of people had a question mark of why bring in Sam Bradford there, but it is still early and I like what I'm seeing coming out of Minnesota. If they're able to open up the running game, I think the receivers will be able to get some chunks and big chunks."