Adrian Peterson. Randy Moss. Two of the biggest offensive names for the Minnesota Vikings in the last decade. Just for fun, we decided to make the VT writers choose. We saw an interesting question posed on Reddit: If the two were in the same NFL Draft class and you could choose only one to be a part of the Vikings roster, which do you take? Check out our answers, take the poll and leave us some comments!
Andy: Randy Moss
A couple parameters: 1) I’m drafting for a blank team with no existing players, coaches, philosophy, etc and 2) I’m looking only at college production and not factoring in any NFL history. That being said, I’m taking the PRIDE of Rand, West Virginia Randy Moss. Adrian Peterson was a phenomenal college player at Oklahoma and was frankly robbed of the Heisman Trophy in 2004 (Matt Leinhart won as Oklahoma quarterback and 2003 winner Jason White stole votes from Adrian), but he was also injury prone, fumble prone and had diminishing stats each of his three years in Norman after his 1925-rushing-yard and 15-touchdown apex as a freshman.
Yes, Moss had a checkered past washing out of Florida State and Notre Dame due to off-field issues. Yes, Marshall did not play elite competition in 1997 in the MAC one year after transitioning from I-AA. But I have never seen dominance on display like redshirt sophomore Randy Moss and I might never see it again in my lifetime in college football. No. 88 was a man playing among toddlers putting up 96 receptions for 1820 yards and 26 touchdowns, the latter setting an NCAA single season record and still remains the second most in history (La Tech’s Troy Edwards broke it the following season hauling in 27 scores).
Moss was a potential once-in-a-generation type talent with baggage, but I’d still roll the dice with him over a very talented yet injury prone running back. Also, this.
Carl: Adrian Peterson
Randy Moss certainly tore the NFL up as he said he would when he entered the league as a Viking in 1998. His eight seasons with the Vikings were electric to say the least. A Rookie of the Year Award, five Pro Bowls in his first seven seasons with the Vikings, 92 touchdowns and nearly 10,000 all-purpose yards wearing purple will long be remembered. Yes, my answer might be different if Moss had played his entire career as a Viking, but it’s not really about the years or stats … it’s simply about the heart. Adrian Peterson’s effort and desire on every play is the separating factor.
Lindsey: Randy Moss
Although it still bothers me that Randy Moss didn’t play out his career in Minnesota, I would have to choose him over Adrian Peterson if I could only take one. Both have obviously had tremendous careers, but at the end of the day I have to take the receiver over the running back. Peterson is the top rusher in the NFL, and that cannot be dismissed, but Moss was the more versatile threat across the board. Moss changed the way the game was played, and he was making those one-handed receptions ions before Odell Beckham, Jr. In a game where successful running backs are easier to nail down than the elite type of receiver Moss was, I simply don’t think you can pass him up.
Brett: Randy Moss
Having to choose between these two legendary Vikings players is more than tough. And if I’m actually the General Manager for a team having to make the decision, I’m ecstatic that I’m getting at least one of them. From strictly an added value perspective, or in other words, which player would benefit the team more, it’s really a toss-up. Both are “greatest all-time” at their positions. (Okay, that’s likely the homer in me talking, but I’m sure all of us can agree they’re top-5 at their positions…) But because football is an emotional sport and I’m an emotional person, I have to go with the my favorite player of all-time, Randy Moss.
Moss was the reason I became a Vikings fan. As someone who’s from all the way in Las Vegas, a city with no hometown team, the superstar aura that followed Moss made him impossible to take your eyes off of. His big play potential and freak-of-nature catches were absolutely electrifying as a child (or an adult). His larger-than-life attitude and his distaste for authority was just icing on the cake for a pre-teen boy who also thought he was “the bomb.” There will always be a place in my heart for Randy Moss. Even knowing today all the drama he put the team and fans through, if I had the choice to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat – even if it means missing out on Peterson.
Brent: Randy Moss
With his next touchdown, Adrian Peterson will tie Randy Moss with 92 touchdowns as a Viking. Although Peterson will surely surpass Moss in the very near future, I still take Moss if I had my choice. Of course, Moss was temperamental, but he averaged 13 touchdowns a year and could simply do more for the team. Not only was he the deep threat, he could run, return punts and was an every-down receiver (insert ‘play when I want to play’ joke here). Although you can’t necessarily take anything away from Peterson’s contributions to the offense, he is a 2 down back in most cases and can’t be as versatile as a weapon. You could argue that Moss was fortunate enough to play in much more potent offenses, but that simply means Moss made the most with his opportunities.
Austin: Randy Moss
My first memories of the Vikings start with Randy Moss. I was just six years old when the Vikings drafted him in 1998, and immediately, he became the league’s most exciting player. Adrian Peterson may be more valuable to the franchise long-term, and his running has become the foundation of its success in recent years, but Moss will forever be the player who changed the way we view wide receivers. Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-handed catch will always be compared to Moss’s one-handed snags, which seemed to occur on a weekly basis. Kids around the country throw their hands up to let their quarterbacks know they’re open, much like Moss did so often with Daunte Culpepper. His 92 touchdowns are a franchise record, and though Peterson will likely topple Moss very soon in that category, his impact will always be felt. There hasn’t been a receiver like Moss since, and there may never be again.
Guest of the Week
Eric Thompson, The Daily Norseman: Adrian Peterson
Oh man, this is the Sophie’s Choice of the best two Vikings players of my generation. Both players possess some of the most unique athletic gifts I have ever seen; I am so glad that Moss and AP played for my favorite team during the prime years of my Vikings fandom. Of course, both players have proven to be imperfect people off the field, reminding us Vikings fans that we can never truly have nice things.
But if I had to choose only one, I would pick Peterson. Running backs get more touches, meaning AP would get more chances to impact the game. Running backs are also less dependent on quarterback play. Besides Favre and Teddy, the quarterback play this century has been pretty awful in Minnesota. Moss can make any quarterback look much better (isn’t that right Daunte Culpepper?) but there are still limits to what one wide receiver can do. Moss was notorious for taking plays/quarters/games off; nobody has ever doubted Peterson’s effort.
There was nothing more incredible than watching Moss throw up his hand, glide pass his defenders like they were in slow motion, and effortlessly leap into the air to snag a deep ball. However, I’d still have to take Peterson.
I’m just glad this choice was only theoretical, because Peterson and Moss will always be two of my favorite players ever to watch in purple.