Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
(TNS) —Randy Moss returned to Winter Park, Minn., on Wednesday for the first time since he was cut by the Vikings in 2010.
And the team had something planned for him.
The Vikings surprised both franchise legends in Moss and Ahmad Rashad by announcing both would be inducted into the team’s ring of honor this season.
Moss, second in Vikings franchise history with 91 touchdowns, arrived at Winter Park with a meeting on the docket to discuss his role in the upcoming Super Bowl in Minneapolis. To get there, he walked through the hallway that displayed the current ring of honor members from Cris Carter to Paul Krause.
On his way out, Moss noticed something different.
“I know my history, I know my players. So when I come out of the meeting, I’m like hold on — wait a minute — did y’all just put this up here?” Moss said referring to his own jersey hanging on the wall. “It’s definitely humbling; I’m speechless.”
During an 11-minute press conference, Moss covered more ground than even he’s used to while holding court next to the Vikings practice fields on Wednesday.
The 40-year-old Moss, who was first traded out of Minnesota to Oakland in 2005 only to return via trade in 2010 before being released shortly after, said he would’ve liked to have spent his entire career in purple.
“Spending 14 years here, that would’ve been great, that would’ve been phenomenal,” Moss said. “I think sometimes my passion for the game got in the way of the business side of it. You live and learn, you mature. I think I learned a lot from my mistakes.
“All the memories I have — good and bad — I wouldn’t trade them for nothing.”
Moss credited both his favorite Vikings memory and his NFL career to the late Dennis Green, who coached Moss for four seasons after drafting him with the 21st-overall pick in 1998. Moss became emotional discussing Green, who passed away last summer. He was 67.
“I really don’t know why I was treated the way I was treated on draft day, but coach Green gave me an opportunity,” Moss said. “I told him, ‘Coach, you’re not going to regret this.’ You ask me what I’d say to him (today)? I’d probably just fall into his arms and give him a hug.” There’s no words I could tell him. The man passed away without me really, really, really giving him my love and thanks for what he was able to do for me and my family, man. There’s a lot of teams that passed on me for wrong reasons. Coach Green gave me that opportunity. So when all y’all Vikings fans are sitting up here going through the past remembering the teams I played on, the teams Ahmad played on, the teams coach Green coached, however you feel about me you can feel. But if you feel a good way about me, Coach Green brought me here.”
Moss, third in NFL history with 15,292 receiving yards, is now eligible this summer for a gold jacket from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He hopes he’s a shoo-in.
“I mean, the love I get out there on the streets, the love I get from my peers, the love I get from coaches, past and present,” Moss said, “Yeah, I hold my hat on first ballot, I really do.”
Ahmad Rashad was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972, but he reached his athletic potential with the Vikings for seven seasons from 1976 to 1982. The Pro Bowl receiver caught 34 of his 44 career touchdowns for the Vikings. He nabbed three catches for 53 yards in the Vikings’ Super Bowl XI loss to the Raiders.
Rashad also grabbed the Hail Mary pass from Tommy Kramerin 1980 that helped seal a come-from-behind victory over the Cleveland Browns to lock in a division title and playoff appearance. The game would become known as the ‘Miracle at the Met.’
Rashad, who became a sports broadcaster after his playing career, said the Vikings ring of honor is now one of his top accolades.
“I’ve won Emmy awards, I’ve won receiving titles and all those kinds of things, but this is closer to my heart,” Rashad said. “I always say once a Viking, always a Viking. You’ll never get out of that.”
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