Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "randy moss"

randy moss

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(photo used with permission)
If you are a Minnesota sports fan and a memorabilia collector, chances are you’ve seen a piece of Ryan Fors’ artwork along the way.Fors is an avid Minnesota sports fan himself, and he has loved to draw and paint for as long as he can remember. It only makes sense that his two interests would combine, but he never imagined it would grow the way it has.

“I got into the stencils and sports paintings about 7-8 years ago as an inexpensive gift I could give family members,” Fors explained, “and things kind of took off from there.”Randy MossOver the past several years, Fors has created over 400 pieces, many of those being likenesses of Minnesota athletes.

Of course, several of the paintings feature Vikings players. Fors has been supporting the purple and gold since Day 1.

“My earliest memory is when I was given an autographed Carl Lee napkin from a family friend,” he said. “As a kid, I thought that was the coolest thing.”

Although Fors didn’t play football himself–rather, he was a basketball player–he loved watching the Vikings and had many player favorites throughout the years. The fan has no doubt in his mind when it comes to his all-time favorite player, though: Randy Moss, hands down.  Moss played with an intensity and natural talent that Fors (and many other Vikings fans!) thrived on, and Fors’ prints featuring Moss are incredibly popular.

Like most die-hard fans, Fors feels plenty of excitement surrounding Minnesota’s current roster and upcoming 2015 season. Despite the unforeseen road bumps in 2014, Fors reflected on the positives of the situation and also high expectations for next year:

“With what we had to deal with throughout the season and with a new coach, I think we did well. Teddy [Bridgewater] got some experience, hopefully AD comes back, and hopefully the new guys and Draft help us out. I think anything less than the playoffs next season would be a disappointment.”

Fors hopes to see Minnesota draft well at the end of the month, and he would love to see cornerback Trae Waynes playing at TCF Bank Stadium next year.The Vikings have made some decent free agency moves as well this offseason, including adding wide receiver Mike Wallace to the roster.

“I’m excited to see Wallace in purple,” Fors said. “I’m hoping he can help Teddy out downfield and also open things up for Adrian [Peterson].”

Who is he most excited to watch next season? Fors said it has to be his favorite player on the current roster: linebacker Anthony Barr, who will be entering his sophomore season with Minnesota.”The combo of speed and power is just fun to watch,” Fors explained. “[Barr has the] ability to make a game-changing play at any moment. Plus, he’s a fellow sneaker lover!”

Play-by-Play with Ryan

Cris CarterTop-Selling Paintings: Cris Carter, Kirby Pucket and, surprisingly, Buster Posey

Vikings Jerseys in Your Closet: Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr

Athlete You’d Like to Paint That You Haven’t Yet: I’ve been trying to clear up some free time to get a Purple People Eaters piece done.

Favorite Movie: So many to choose from! But I think I have to go with Pulp Fiction … with Kingpin being a close second.

Ryan on the Web:
Twitter: @ryan_fors
Contact: info@ryanfors.com
See more of Ryan’s work and his online store at ryanfors.com!

 

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Note: This is the last installment of a three part series detailing my personal, complicated feelings about Randy Moss. I love him for the player he was, but hate him for what could have been. Hit it here for Part I and Part II.

Hate is a strong word.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that a person should never truly hate anything. It simply takes up too much time and mental energy to actively hold disdain for something or someone. But as a younger, less mature man, I can honestly say that I hated Randy Moss. I’m not proud of it. It was the sort of irrational feelings that a fan projects on a player who wasn’t as great as he could have been (despite being a future first ballot Hall of Famer) while sulking his way out of town. Twice.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Note: This is part two of a three part series detailing my personal, complicated feelings about Randy Moss. I love him for the player he was, but hate him for what could have been. Hit it here for Part I. 

 

First came infatuation. Then love. Then hate.

That was my emotional roller coaster with Randy Moss. It never stayed at hate. It mostly boiled down to apathy during his Oakland years, admiration with his time with the Patriots, a mixed bag when the returned in 2010 (which we’ll get to in Part 3), and relatively neutral feelings since then.

It’s akin to the feels you have about an ex-lover. You linger on memories of the great times, but then you get bitter when you remember how they screwed the whole thing up. And exes generally return to your life at least once, so the comparison fits Moss to a T.

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This week’s Vikings Fan Spotlight is Part II of a 3-segment series. I had such an amazing response on Twitter from Vikings fans all over the world, and I decided to break this feature into three separate parts. 

Kristian L. G. Nielsen – Havdrup, Denmark – @klgn

kristianQ: How did you first become a Vikings fan?
A: This a bit funny, actually. In the early 90’s a lot of the kids at my school bought NFL caps. I bought one as well. The first one was actually a Giants cap, but it broke. The next one I bought was a Vikings cap, it was a grey one. I got teased a bit at school, because the Raiders were the popular team. Back then NFL was only shown in a weekly highlight show, and I must admit I didn’t watch it. Actually thought it was a weird sport. I watched a lot of soccer instead. Soccer is the most popular sport over here. As every Vikings fan know Atlanta made it to the Super Bowl in 1999, and the Falcons kicker at that time, Morten Andersen, is Danish, so that Super Bowl was broadcast back here and was the beginning of NFL being broadcast over here live every kristian2Sunday. […] I have a tough time watching a sport and not cheering for a specific team, and since I still had (and have) my grey Vikings cap, the choice was easy for me. I don’t know at what spcific date it happened, but I would probably say the Vikings @ Packers playoff game in 2005 where Moss mooned at Lambeau is the first one I remember cheering vividly for the Vikings. […] Before we had kids I would watch every game live, I would even go to bed early, set an alarm and get up at 2.30 AM to watch the late night games. Now I’ll have to catch those games OnDemand instead. I also listen to a lot of the Minnesota sports radio stations […] and love listening to fan podcasts and discussing Vikings stuff on twitter. I’m spending way too much time being a Vikings fan, but once you’re hooked you can’t get rid of it.

Q: Who is your favorite player on the current Vikings roster?
A: This is a tough one. A year ago I would have said Adrian Peterson, but now it’s a bit tougher. I’m going to go with John Sullivan. He seems like a great dude, and I love listening to him on various radio shows. He’s very articulate and the insights he gives are very good, I think.

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Note: This is part one of a three part series detailing my personal, complicated feelings about Randy Moss. I love him for the player he was, but hate him for what could have been.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Us 90s kids all feel that way.

Around 10-13 years old is when kids really start to take sports seriously. They’re the formative years which a person always looks back on with fondness and will refer to as “the good ole days” for the rest of their life. Something about being on the cusp of becoming a teenager opens up the brain and the mind becomes a sponge for everything related to their chosen interests.

Born in 1985, my sponge opened up at a perfect time in sports. The Jordan Dynasty was back in full effect after the baseball vacation (and before the Wizards experiment), something-called Kevin Garnett out of something-called Farragut Academy was starting to come into his own with the Wolves, and the Vikings drafted a controversial wide receiver from the smoky hills of Rand, West Virginia named Randy Moss 21st overall in the 1998 Draft.

Let’s back it up to 1997, I already knew who Randy Moss was. I was obsessed with him.

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As a 12-year old who had just gotten a rebuilt 15” Zenith television in his room, ESPN and ESPN2 was blaring around the clock. Sportscenter was the soundtrack to my formative years and I was particularly drawn to this Freak of a redshirt sophomore that got more than his fair share of the college football highlights that season. Tiny Marshall University, which had just become a Division 1-A school that season and was playing in something-called the MAC, was being hammered into my sports sponge subconscious because of a 6’4”, blazing wide receiver who wore number 88, had swag for days (even before we knew was swag was), and was truly a man amongst boys. I still root for the Marshall Thundering Herd to this day because of that season. Even though Nathan Poole went to school there and was Moss’ teammate. Yes, that Nathan Poole.

I researched everything I could about my new favorite player. Keep in mind this was 1997, so that meant looking up articles on a 14.4 modem at home and at the school library on top of clipping articles out of Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, SPORT magazine (before they went under), and the Star Tribune when they posted Heisman Race updates. Moss finished 4th that year behind Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning. Charles Woodson won.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was obsessed with this man. Playing 7th grade football that year, I was saddened to find out I couldn’t change my number from 24 to 88 because A) the coach said running backs don’t wear 80s numbers and B) we didn’t have a number 88 jersey (minor details). But that didn’t stop me from bugging my parents until they bought me the knee high, black and white striped Nike socks that Moss rocked on occasion at Marshall. Since I wasn’t the tallest kid on the block, the socks came up to my mid-thigh and were basically pantyhose, but I didn’t care. I was emulating my first sports crush not named Dominique Moceanu.

At the Heisman ceremony that year, Randy Moss wore sunglasses during the entire ceremony leading Chris Folwer allude to the Timbuk 3 song, “future’s so bright, gotta wear shades.” What amazing forshadowing.

Moss was the first player that I followed in college that I wished – with every ounce of my being – would become a member of my favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings. But it seemed far fetched at the time. The Vikings were drafting late in the first round that year (21st) because of a solid 9-7 season under Denny Green, resulting in a wild card birth but falling short in the Divisional Round to the 49ers.

Wide receiver was also not a position of need. Cris Carter was still in his prime, Jake Reed was coming into his own, and then you had gadget man David Palmer, special teams ace Chris Walsh, and eventual defensive back Robert Tate to pick up the leftover receiver bits. That’s not a bad crew. Given that Moss would probably go high and the Vikings didn’t really need a wide receiver, my 13-year old expectations were pretty tempered. As long as he somehow didn’t end up with the Packers, it was fine.

***

I vaguely knew that he was supposed to go to Notre Dame originally, but didn’t because of legal trouble. And that he was supposed to play for Florida State… But didn’t because of legal trouble. I didn’t know the common draftnik phrase of “character issues” at the time, but my dad and grandpa seemed to think it might cost him and he actually might fall to the Vikings at 21. Or maybe they just said that to make me feel better and stop bugging them about “this cool wide receiver who’s totally awesome”.

The draft wasn’t the primetime television spectacle it is today, so it was a Saturday afternoon in April that I tuned in to see where my guy would land and who my team would pick. Hopefully they would be one in the same.

Eli’s older brother went number one to the Colts, after some serious consideration of Ryan Leaf (hindsight is 20/20, but yikes). Chargers took Leaf second (#TrainWreck) and Woodson went to the Raiders at four. Then a bunch of guys who’s names I didn’t know, or were vaguely aware of via TV and sports magazines, went to teams that weren’t mine. A lot of Tom, Dick, and Keith Brookings flew off the board, but no Randy Moss! How could this be?! Didn’t they see the Army game (which I had recorded on VHS and also had a backup copy) where Randy hurdled a guy while taking a screen pass 90-yards to the house? What the hell’s goin’ on out here?!

I almost passed out when the Titans took Kevin Dyson at 16. How on earth could anyone not named “Randy Moss” be the first wide receiver off the board? But Tennessee’s decision (Moss would’ve scored on the last play of Super Bowl XXXIV, by the way) made me realize something, “Moss could be ours. Holy heck. Moss. Could. Be. Ours.”

Two teams stood in the way, the Packers at 19 and the Lions at 20. If The Freak could slip through the NFC Central filter one time, he would be ours. If he didn’t, he’d be a pain in our ass for the foreseeable future. Could you imagine a young Randy Moss with Favre, Antonio Freeman, and Robert Brooks? Or with Barry Sanders, Herman Moore, and Johnnie Morton? The Vikings had a meh defense as is at time and if Moss landed with either team, that’s a guaranteed fitty-burger twice a year.

But our nemesi played ball, Green Bay took defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday out of North Carolina and Detroit took Rocky Top cornerback Terry Fair. Now there was still the issue of the Vikings not having an immediate need at wide receiver, but they took the plunge. Denny made the call, Billick got another weapon, and Carter and Reed got the third and final piece for Three Deep.

I was elated. My favorite team and my new favorite player were going to cross paths. Little did I know how much bittersweetness lie ahead.

 

Check back for the following two parts of the love hate story the next two Saturdays right here on Vikings Territory. 

 

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