Randy Moss Has 1 Fear about 2023 Vikings

Sep 11, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; ESPN personality Randy Moss prior to the game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

One aspect of Randy Moss’ latest musings about the Minnesota Vikings will surprise no one — he thinks Justin Jefferson is the best wide receiver in the NFL.

But so does most of the nation.

Randy Moss Has 1 Fear about 2023 Vikings

Moss spoke to TMZ recently and touted Jefferson as the league’s top WR, a common opinion after Jefferson earned the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2022. But Moss does have one primary concern about his old team heading into 2023 — Dalvin Cook’s departure.

Randy Moss Has 1 Fear
Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) react after a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings cut ties with Cook in June, a cap-casualty maneuver to alleviate his $14.1 cap hit in 2023. It took over two months, but Cook eventually landed with Aaron Rodgers and now plays for the Jets, a deal finalized earlier this week.

And while most Vikings fans believe Alexander Mattison will fill in admirably at RB1 this September, Moss isn’t entirely convinced.

important day
Oct 17, 2010; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss (84) on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Cowboys 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

“If there’s anything that I have in question for the Minnesota Vikings and Justin Jefferson moving forward, it’s what Dalvin Cook meant to that running game and the play-action passing game for Kirk Cousins and that offense,” Moss explained.

The Vikings will embark on life without a Dalvin Cook or an Adrian Peterson attached to the roster for the first time since 2006 this season.

Dec 6, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; ESPN commentator and NFL Hall of Fame member Randy Moss on the sidelines before a game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Moss added, “So, I think that if they can move past Dalvin Cook still bringing that safety down in that box, it’s still going to be just big numbers being put up by Jefferson.”

Adjusting to an offense sans Cook is indeed a new animal for the Vikings. Cook led Minnesota’s offensive attack, especially under former head coach Mike Zimmer, for six years. The new Jet was showcased as a bellcow tailback for all of his Vikings career, and Minnesota may be transitioning to a committee approach, led by the aforementioned Marrison, with RBs like Ty Chandler, DeWayne McBride, and Kene Nwangwu providing support.

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrates the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Oddly, despite Moss’ legitimate reservations, Super Bowl-winning teams from the last decade haven’t needed an overly productive or expensive RB1 to hoist a Lombardi trophy. Here’s the tale of the tape, per RB1 earnings and the Super Bowl-winning franchise since 2014:

2022 – Isaiah Pacheco: $890K
2021 – Cam Akers: $1.4M
2020 – Leonard Fournette: $2.0M
2019 – Damien Williams: $1.2M
2018 – Sony Michel: $1.7M
2017 – LeGarrette Blount: $1.2M
2016 – LeGarrette Blount: $978K
2015 – CJ Anderson: $589K
2014 – Stevan Ridley: $940K

No matter what, though, monitoring the Vikings early-season performance minus Cook will be at the forefront of Vikings fans’ attention. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah appears to recognize the harsh reality of paying or not paying running backs in the ‘modern’ NFL, whereas yesteryear’s stars, like Moss, still hold men like Cook in the highest regard.

The Vikings regular season kicks off in 25 days versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.