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Randy Moss and his everlasting impact

Jamie Harmer
Published 8/4/18
Photo: Vikings 

I was 16 years old when the Vikings drafted Randy Moss in 1998. A die hard Vikes fan who lived his whole life in Chicago Bear country. I took a lot of heat from people around me, even family members for my choice to support the purple and horns. I was a sophomore in high school, working at a local sub sandwich shop located right off Notre Dame campus. Shortly after the '98 draft I purchased a replica Randy Moss Starter home jersey. Nothing flashy, just one of the screen printed jobs with the rubber paint applique. It wasn't my first Vikings jersey, but was by far my favorite. Now back in those days media coverage wasn't nearly as easy to access as it is today. Since I wasn't in or near Minnesota the only games I got to see were the ones against the Bears, and if I was lucky, the Vikes would get a Thanksgiving game or lone Monday night game. Since I was a fan from outside of the land of a thousand lakes, I bought a yearly subscription to the Vikings Update.

 A team tell all that was mailed to me weekly. (I had been a subscriber since the age of 10. Pretty much a Christmas gift from my Dad until I was old enough to pay for it myself.)  Now I could stuff this article full of stats that the Super Freak put up over his first 7 seasons with our Vikes, or go on about games like the '98 Thanksgiving day massacre where Moss put up Madden type numbers, but I would rather share the impact the kid from Rand, West Virginia had on a kid from South Bend, Indiana.

Vikings football had been a part of my life since I was just 6 years old.(long story on how I became a Vikes fan at such a young age, but that's for another time.) As I got older, I became more passionate about the team. As each season passed, my passion grew stronger. Then in '98, coming off a winning season(9-7) in which they made the playoffs under the guidance of Coach Dennis Green. The Vikings(Coach Green) took a chance on a kid with a troubled past outside of the game of football. At the time, it was a boom or bust pick. So with the 21st pick of the '98 draft the Minnesota Vikings selected WR Randy Moss! The team already had two great wide outs in Cris Carter, and Jake Reed, but Moss brought a dynamic to the table that wasn't seen in this game before. It was at this point that I became completely immersed in Vikings football. I read about it, wrote about it, talked about it until my face turned purple with anyone who was down to talk football! One really awesome thing that Moss helped bring was respect from the people around me. It was no longer "oh the Vikings suck" it was "Those Vikings got something going up there in Minnesota."

Maybe it was more fear than respect, but whatever it was I sure wasn't complaining. For those next seven seasons I wore the hell out of that number 84 jersey. Every gameday, no matter win, lose or draw. It was me in my Moss jersey.

 As I look back, it's hard to believe it's been twenty years. Yes, Moss spent his career playing for five different teams over a fourteen year career, but no matter where he finished we all knew where he started. Now five years after calling it an amazing career, he got that ultimate call. Today Randy Moss will enter the Pro Football Hall Of Fame as a first ballot Wide Receiver, and as a Minnesota Viking!

So I want to say thank you Randy Moss for changing the game in '98, giving us fans so many spectacular Sunday's, and for turning this Vikes fan's passion up a few thousand degrees!
This is your day 84. This has been a fun ride.