Didn’t do much good. Moss scored at least 10 touchdowns in all but one season in his first tour with the Vikings.
“The things I’ve seen him do, I don’t think I’ll ever see another player do the things he did,” Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser said. “Great career. Tough to see him not playing because I think he had a lot left out there that he could have done for somebody.”
He also got into several controversies along the way, bumping a traffic cop in downtown Minneapolis, squirting a referee with a water bottle during a game and leaving the field early in a game against Washington, just to name a few.
Sensing a change of scenery was needed, the Vikings traded Moss to Oakland in 2005, where he spent two quiet seasons before his career was revived in New England. He re-emerged as a force with the Patriots, hauling in a single-season record 23 TD passes from Tom Brady to help the Patriots reach the Super Bowl.
Vikings fans were euphoric at the news of his return last season, but things soured in a hurry. He caught 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns in four games back in purple, clashed with coach Brad Childress in the locker room and brought embarrassment to the organization when he berated a caterer at team headquarters.
He hugged former Patriots teammates after a Vikings loss, and then bizarrely stepped to a podium to fawn over the Patriots, criticize the Vikings for ignoring his strategic advice, and announce his plan to interview himself the rest of the season instead of letting reporters do it.
An enraged Childress unilaterally decided to cut Moss shortly after, a decision that helped seal his fate with Vikings ownership.
Moss finished the season with eight games in Tennessee, but only caught six passes. Segal said earlier this summer that the receiver was training hard and determined to prove to the doubters that he could still dominate the game like he had in the past.
“Randy has been a great player for a long time,” said Bob Pruett, Moss‘ college coach at Marshall. “He’s choosing this on his own terms and I think that’s good. If that’s what he wants to do, that’s what he should do.”
While many grapple with what Moss‘ legacy will be, there is no denying the impact he had on the game. The Cover 2 defense has become a fashionable scheme over the past 10 years, and it was designed in large part to prevent Moss from burning opposing defensive backs for long TDs.
“He’s a guy who changed defenses,” Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. “You had to put two defenders on him to take him out of the game so it opened up the rest of the offense. Great guy, great teammate, I have a lot of respect for him, he’s brought a lot to this game and I wish him well.”
Whether the 34-year-old Moss is truly done is anyone’s guess. That, of course, appears to be completely up to him.
“He’s one of the best receivers of all time to play this game,” Vikings receiver Percy Harvin said. “I’m sure he hung it up with no regrets, so I wish the best for him. He had a great career and did a lot of great things.”