5 Minnesota Vikings Jerseys You Likely Rocked During Your Childhood
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As any child of the 1990s or early 2000s can attest, the Minnesota Vikings weren't known for their defense. It wasn't until the mid to late 2000s that the defense really picked up.
During that time period it was all about the offense. Rolling with Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss' afro. Cris Carter dropping to one knee and Robert Smith busting off long runs.
Those are the memories that will stick with kids of that time period and those were most of the players whose jerseys they sported.
This slideshow pays homage to yesteryear and remembering the jerseys young Minnesota fans sported in that time period.
These are the top five I can recall seeing on the youth around the Twin Cities (in no particular order).
Outside of Kevin Garnett, Randy Moss was the biggest name in Minnesota athletics at the turn of the century.
The way he burst onto the scene, snagging 17 touchdown receptions and 1,313 yards as a rookie in 1998 and following it up with five straight seasons of 1,000-plus yards kept him in the forefront of the Minnesota sports scene.
Those No. 84 jerseys popped off shelves like popcorn from the beginning to the end, even in his lowest points (hitting a traffic cop, "play when I want to play," etc.).
He inspired a new generation of Vikings fans with his amazing on-field displays and his sometimes inappropriate off-field demeanor—but who can ever knock "straight cash homie"?
Opinions outside of Minnesota may vary, but the masses inside the state approve of Moss.
Before Randy Moss, there was Cris Carter.
Carter came to Minnesota after battling substance abuse with the Philadelphia Eagles. Combining his on-field performance with his inspiring off-field victories, Carter became a fan favorite.
He didn't wow from Day One, failing to record more than 1,000 yards or 85 receptions in his first three seasons. But from 1993 until 2000, he caught at least 78 passes and accumulated 1,069 yards.
With Minnesota showcasing a dynamic aerial attack during those years, fans flocked to stores to get their fingertips on No. 80 Carter jerseys.
If not for Moss, Carter would have been the greatest receiver in Vikings history.
This is the wrench in this list.
Full of years with dynamic offenses, John Randle terrorized opposing quarterbacks. From 1991 through 2000, Randle never recorded less than eight sacks per season and posted a career-best 15.5 in 1997.
After going undrafted in 1990, Randle worked his backside off to make Minnesota's roster. His loose lips, work ethic and on-field displays entrenched him deep in the hearts of fans across the land of 10,000 lakes.
For youth aspiring to play defense, he was the guy they pretended to be.
Once Randy Moss was gone, the young fanbase belonged to Daunte Culpepper.
And even before that, young fans were impressed by Culpepper's sheer size (6'4" and 265 pounds) combined with his mobility.
Culpepper had two monster seasons (2000: 3,937 yards passing with 33 touchdown passes; 2004: 4,717 yards passing with 39 touchdown passes and a career-low 11 interceptions).
He was drafted in 1999, 11th overall, to be the future of the quarterback position for Minnesota.
Until he suffered a severe knee injury in 2005, it looked like he was the future. But Brad Childress' arrival after the 2005 season combined with a serious knee injury was his ultimate downfall in Minnesota.
Despite all the interceptions and fumbles, fans have positive memories of Culpepper.
He made magic for most of his Minnesota career,.
Had it not been for Randy Moss and Cris Carter, Robert Smith would have won the hearts of young Minnesota fans.
Smith's first four seasons lacked a 1,000-yard effort, but the running back posted four straight such seasons from 1997 to 2000 to end his career.
The former Ohio State Buckeye was the type of versatile back that most teams seek today. He could sneak from the backfield and burn the defense for 30 yards off a simple dump pass. He could take any pitch around the outside for 30 yards, too.
Running up the middle wasn't his strength, but he wasn't built for that.
Young fans were in awe of his ability to turn broken or simple plays into big gainers. Had he played longer than eight seasons, more youth would have flocked onto the Robert Smith bandwagon.