When the Minnesota Vikings re-acquired receiver Randy Moss a couple weeks ago, they knew they were once again welcoming one of the most physically gifted athletes in the National Football League. What they might not have been sure about is what kind of teammate Moss would be off-the-field.
So far, that risk seems to have been rewarded. Moss has been an outspoken leader who hasn't hesitated to rally the troops despite his five-year absence from the Vikings' locker room.
Twice during the team's 24-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys last weekend (at halftime and after the game), Moss called the team together. And as the Vikings prep for this weekend's pivotal match-up with the Green Bay Packers, they will need his experience and leadership (not to mention his big play capabilities) if they are to get back into the NFC North Division race.
Don't get me wrong. The Vikings are not short on leaders.
Quarterback Brett Favre is a future Hall of Famer who most players around the league respect and look up to—although his ongoing indecision on retirement and the recent allegations of inappropriate conduct haven't done anything to polish his legacy.
Then there's Pat and Kevin Williams. And Antoine Winfield. And Jared Allen. And E.J. Henderson. And Steve Hutchinson.
The list of veteran leadership on the Minnesota Vikings goes on and on.
But Moss brings a unique blend of other-worldy talent, experience and brashness to a team that apparently needed one more piece in an otherwise puzzling 2010 season. Exactly how that piece fits, in the long run—and whether he helps to bring a championship to Minnesota—remains to be seen.