Randy Moss' Top 10 Games as a Minnesota Viking
In seven years with the Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss had 574 receptions, 9,142 yards, and 90 touchdowns. That averages out to 82 catches, 1,306 yards, and 13 touchdowns per season—impressive statistics that show just how impressive Moss was in Minnesota.
Plenty of pundits have gone back and forth as to whether Moss will be the missing piece for the Vikings this season, and time will tell.
One thing should be said: any article about Randy Moss going back to Minnesota that does not mention Adrian Peterson can't see the forest for the trees.
Let's look back at some Moss moments from the past and remember just how explosive and dynamic he was in purple.
10. vs. San Francisco 49ers (Sept. 28, 2003)
Terrell Owens came into this game and the Metrodome full of confidence and himself. He and many others were proclaiming Owens was the best receiver in football.
Randy Moss begged to differ.
With Gus Frerotte filling in for an injured Daunte Culpepper, Moss had eight receptions, 172 yards, and three touchdowns—the fifth and last time Moss had three TDs in one game for the Vikings. Those stats fail to capture just how overmatched the Niners' secondary was.
The Vikings took a 35-0 lead over the 49ers before San Francisco tacked on a late touchdown to make the final score 35-7.
Owens finished the game with five receptions for 55 yards, no touchdowns, and one spastic shouting match with his offensive coordinator. That was his last season in San Francisco.
9. vs. New York Giants (Nov. 19, 2001)
Everybody should rightfully hate Mondays, except Randy Moss. He has owned Monday Night Football from his first shot on the big stage to, well, last week. He'll get another chance on Monday night this week in New York against the Jets.
Moss played the other team from New York nine seasons ago and convincingly earned NFC Player of the Week honors with 10 catches, 171 yards, and three touchdowns. He added one rush for 18 yards as well. With the game still in doubt, he caught a 57-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to help give the Vikings a 28-16 victory over the Giants.
He might not repeat that performance this Monday night, though he may repeat it at some point this season.
8. vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sept. 6, 1998)
In his first game as a professional, Randy Moss gave a preview of things to come—namely, touchdowns.
Minnesota beat Tampa Bay, 31-7, as Moss had four receptions for 95 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown and a 31-yard touchdown.
In his first game as a professional, Moss was already one of the most formidable players in the NFL.
7. vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Dec. 20, 2003)
The Vikings were battling for a playoff spot with an 8-6 record after coming off an inauspicious 13-10 loss to a 5-8 Chicago Bears team and about to play the 12-2 Kansas City Chiefs.
Thankfully, they had Randy Moss and his afro.
"I knew he was going to play well as soon as I saw the hairdo," said then-Minnesota coach Mike Tice.
Two early touchdowns for Moss fueled the Vikings, who built a 31-0 lead before winning, 45-20.
Moss finished the game with seven catches, 111 yards, and two touchdowns. But the positive impact he gave the team during such a negative time is what gets this game on the list.
Then this happened the next week.
6. vs. New Orleans Saints (Jan. 6, 2001)
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Randy Moss gets unfairly hit with the "He doesn't produce in the playoffs" tag by plenty of really uninformed people. In eight playoff games with the Vikings, Moss had 35 receptions for 723 yards (20.7 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns.
Arguably his most extraordinary game was in the 2001 divisional round against the New Orleans Saints. He only had two receptions: a 53-yard touchdown and a 68-yard touchdown. Minnesota took a 24-3 lead on the 68-yarder, which was a quick pass to Moss at the line of scrimmage. He took a step to the right, found a sliver of space, and showed his inhuman speed.
The Vikings eventually won, 34-16, and went to the NFC Championship Game.
5. vs. Denver Broncos (Oct. 19, 2003)
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Randy Moss had 10 catches for 151 yards in this game, but his signature play of the game was a lateral.
In the closing seconds of the first half, Daunte Culpepper hit Moss for a deep pass but it wasn't deep enough. As Moss was being tackled at the 15-yard line, he lobbed the ball over his head to a streaking Moe Williams, who caught it and walked into the end zone as time expired to give the Vikings a 14-7 halftime lead. Minnesota went on to win, 28-20, and improve their record to 6-0.
That lateral displayed Moss' selflessness and intelligence—traits that usually don't get the praise he deserves.
4. Games That Fell Through the Cracks
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It is hard to remember all the gems, so some of Moss' greatest games slip through memory's cracks.
For instance, Moss' single-game high for receiving yards came in his second year: 204 vs. the Chicago Bears. Anyone remember that?
How about a game in his third year against the Detroit Lions, when he had seven catches for 168 yards and three touchdowns?
One Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers, he had five catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns. He also torched the Bears for three touchdowns in one game during his rookie year.
Moss was and still is capable of taking over a game and leaving an opposing defense helpless, to the point that his dominance has become routine and expected.
3. vs. Green Bay Packers (Oct. 5, 1998)
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In his first Monday night game, Randy Moss established that he played his best under the bright lights.
Against the Green Bay Packers—then the king of the division—Moss had five catches for 190 yards, and two touchdowns.
The Packers drafted defensive backs with their first three picks in the next draft. The opposition couldn't jump with him and couldn't keep up with him. At the age of 21, he was a man among boys.
The Vikings won that game, 37-24, to go to 5-0. They finished the year 15-1 and Moss won Offensive Rookie of the Year with an NFL rookie-record 17 touchdowns. However, Minnesota lost in the NFC championship game, leaving the season with a hollow, unfulfilled feeling.
2. vs. Green Bay Packers (Jan. 9, 2005)
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The Vikings had backed into the 2004 playoffs and probably didn't deserve to be there. But there they were, playing at Lambeau Field against their division rival Green Bay Packers in the first round of the NFC playoffs.
The Vikings jumped out to a 17-0 lead on the back of one Randy Moss touchdown and some poor Brett Favre decision-making (he finished the game with four interceptions). Green Bay rallied, but Minnesota was still leading, 24-17, in the fourth quarter.
With a little over 10 minutes left in the game, Moss scored a 34-yard touchdown. His celebration was not liked by Joe Buck and the enemies of pantomime.
Moss finished the game with four receptions, 70 yards, and two touchdowns. The Vikings won, 31-17.
"They better talk about this W that we put on Lambeau Field today. They can talk about end-zone celebrations all they want to, but I know what better be behind it is that W," Moss said after the game.
1. vs. Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 26, 1998)
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This was the game—a Thanksgiving game in Dallas—that showed just how dangerous Randy Moss could be.
Three catches, three touchdowns. A 51-yard touchdown, 56-yard touchdown, and another 56-yard touchdown. Receiving yards: 163. Yards per catch: 54.3.
He had the size, speed, and hands all receivers want. Even at the age of 33, he is still one of the handful of best receivers in the game. He won't be the Moss of old, but the current Moss isn't a bad consolation.
At his first press conference back in Minnesota, Moss said: "To all the Vikings fans who are coming to the Metrodome, pull your No. 84 jerseys out because this is going to be a fun ride."
And he would know.