Today Is an Important Day in Vikings History

Vikings Throttle 49ers
RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

We are just a little over a week away from the NFL draft.

Front offices and coaches are continuing to do extensive work on the prospects. Media members and fans continue to wonder what is going to happen. Who will be drafted where? Who will make the most trades? The good news is we’ll know what will happen in less than two weeks.

When it comes to the draft, you do not just wonder what will happen in the upcoming one. You also look back at what happened in the previous ones.

Today Is an Important Day in Vikings History

The Minnesota Vikings have been around since 1961, so you can look back at plenty of previous drafts. The 1998 draft is, without a doubt, one of the most memorable ones in team history.

Why? They drafted a wide receiver 21st overall out of Marshall University named Randy Moss 25 years ago today.

(13) Vikings Select WR Randy Moss (1998 NFL Draft) – YouTube

Moss was very well known to be a tremendous player with freakish athleticism. In his two collegiate seasons, he caught a whopping 53 touchdowns. However, 20 other teams passed on him due to his off-the-field issues.

important day
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

When it came time for the Vikings to make their selection, head coach Dennis Green took a chance on the talented wideout. Despite his off-the-field concerns and the team already having Cris Carter (arguably the best wide receiver in 1997) and Jake Reed, Moss’ game-breaking ability was just too much to pass on.

Three years earlier, the Vikings drafted defensive end Derrick Alexander over Warren Sapp. There were reports that Sapp failed numerous drug tests before the draft. Well, Alexander did not pan out for the team. Sapp, on the other hand, became one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history. You had to think that was on Green’s mind when Moss became available.

Moss is not only one of the best players in team history but also one of the best receivers in NFL history. Many consider him the second-best of all time behind Jerry Rice.

2004 NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Photo By Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2004 Bruce Kluckhohn

The kid from West Virginia immediately made a big impact on the field. In his rookie season, he caught a league-high 17 touchdowns. Still a record for a rookie wide receiver. In his debut, he caught two touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (a very good defense, by the way, that was coached by Tony Dungy). His big-time play also energized the whole fan base.

The Vikings as a team went 15-1 and scored a then-NFL record 556 points. During his seven seasons with the organization, they sold out every game. Even in 2001 and 2002, when they went a combined 11-21, Moss made the team fun to watch, regardless of their record.

The Vikings receiving Moss, Carter, and Reed trio was nicknamed the “three deep.”

The previous two seasons before Moss, the team struggled to sell out games despite being in both seasons’ playoffs. Fans knew that every time you watched the Superfreak, there was a very good chance you would see something very special. His blazing speed, vertical jump, and exceptional hands made him a treat to watch.

Randy Moss
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

During his first preseason, he already showed he had the potential to be an exceptional player.

From 1998-2004, Moss caught 574 passes for 9,142 yards and 90 touchdowns (all second to Carter for best in team history). He made the Pro Bowl six times in that span and led the league in touchdown receptions three times.

“It was just so deceptive,” says former Vikings defensive tackle and fellow Hall of Famer John Randle. “You couldn’t believe it until you saw it firsthand. And even then, you had to see it again and again to realize how quick he was. He never looked to be going as fast as he was really going.”

Even when he was not catching passes, he attracted so much attention from defenders that it opened up more opportunities for his teammates. Teams very frequently had two or three defensive backs playing deep in coverage. Moss changed the game. Teams started playing the cover-two defense more regularly since he arrived in the league.

Double teams or triple teams, Moss found ways to make plays.

Moss will always remain one of the best first-round draft picks in team history, along with Carl Eller, Alan Page, Randall McDaniel, and Adrian Peterson. Justin Jefferson will be up there, too, if he stays healthy and spends at least another few years in purple.

While his career in purple was not as long as many fans wanted, his time with the organization will always be remembered. When people talk about the Vikings, he is always one of the main names mentioned.

(13) Randy Moss- Fastest, Most Explosive WR Ever! (In Game Footage) – YouTube