The Last Time Randy Moss Looked THIS Good…

It was 1998. The Minnesota Vikings, under the leadership of Dennis Green and Randall Cunningham were in the middle of a dream season. That season ended in a true sports nightmare (kicker Gary Anderson missed a single kick all season – the kick that would have put the Vikings in the Super Bowl). The Vikings dominated the competition with a record setting offense and an aggressive defense led by John Randle. That year, Cunningham was brilliant. He threw for 3700 yards, 34 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. Robert Smith added 1200 yards. Former Michigan Wolverine Leroy Hoard added a power dimension to the running game and scored 9 touchdowns on the ground. Still, the spotlight shone most brightly on the Vikings wide receiver corps: Cris Carter, Marshall University rookie Randy Moss, and Jake Reed.

lg_moss_ap-01.jpg

Cris Carter, already destined for Canton, had an average statistical year. He did not approach 100 catches and barely gained 1000 yards. He was, however, a sage leader and reliable 3rd down option (Did those Vikings actually see 3rd down?). Jake Reed, as the third option, caught 34 balls and was effective in the slot. The star of the show was the new guy: Randy Moss. Moss burst on the scene with the type of deep speed, size and jumping ability that gave cornerbacks night sweats.

Randy Moss – Career Statistics from ProFootballReference.com

                 +--------------------------+-------------------------+
                 |          Rushing         |        Receiving        |
+----------+-----+--------------------------+-------------------------+
| Year  TM |   G |   Att  Yards    Y/A   TD |   Rec  Yards   Y/R   TD |
+----------+-----+--------------------------+-------------------------+
| 1998 min |  16 |     1      4    4.0    0 |    69   1313  19.0   17 |
| 1999 min |  16 |     4     43   10.8    0 |    80   1413  17.7   11 |
| 2000 min |  16 |     3      5    1.7    0 |    77   1437  18.7   15 |
| 2001 min |  16 |     3     38   12.7    0 |    82   1233  15.0   10 |
| 2002 min |  16 |     6     51    8.5    0 |   106   1347  12.7    7 |
| 2003 min |  16 |     6     18    3.0    0 |   111   1632  14.7   17 |
| 2004 min |  13 |     0      0    0.0    0 |    49    767  15.7   13 |
| 2005 oak |  16 |     0      0    0.0    0 |    60   1005  16.8    8 |
| 2006 oak |  13 |     0      0    0.0    0 |    42    553  13.2    3 |
| 2007 nwe |   2 |     0      0    0.0    0 |    17    288  16.9    3 |
+----------+-----+--------------------------+-------------------------+
|  TOTAL   | 140 |    23    159    6.9    0 |   693  10988  15.9  104 |
+----------+-----+--------------------------+-------------------------+
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now that Moss finds himself in New England, you can see his yards per catch average is creeping up to what it was almost a decade ago. As a Patriot, Moss will run more short routes than he did as a Viking – and he may be more effective. Corners must still give him a cushion. None of them can run with him stride for stride. After two games, Moss has 17 catches and 3 touchdowns. This can’t last forever. If it does, he’s on pace for a mind-boggling 136 catches, 2,304 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Surely there is some defensive coach who would prefer for Laurence Maroney to get 1800 yards than for Moss to obliterate the record books. Then again, they may not have a choice.

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