There have been seventeen members of the Minnesota Vikings that have worn the #84 (if you count rookie Bucky Hodges, who had the number bestowed upon him this year). But, much like the Highlander, when it comes to the #84 in Minnesota Vikings history, there can be. . .only one!
There was no reason for Randy Moss to fall to the Minnesota Vikings with the 21st overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. A ridiculously talented athlete and Heisman Trophy finalist at Marshall, Moss wasn’t even the first wide receiver drafted in 1998. But he was most certainly the best. He exploded onto the scene as a rookie, hauling in 17 touchdown passes and leading the Vikings to being what was then the highest-scoring offense in National Football League history.
In his first seven seasons with the Vikings, he scored double-digit touchdowns six times, including three seasons with at least fifteen scoring catches. In 2003, he became the first player in NFL history to average more than 100 yards and 1 touchdown per game in a 16-game season. Opposing defenses had to account for him in ways that nobody had ever needed to do before. He beat defenses deep, he beat them short, he beat them on jump balls. . .he did everything he was asked to do and significantly more.
We can go on and on about Moss’ accomplishments, but let’s just list them all here. He was a five-time Pro Bowler with the Vikings, as well as a four-time first-team All-Pro. He led the NFL in touchdown catches three times with the purple, and his 17 touchdowns in a season is a rookie mark that no wide receiver has reached. . .and likely won’t for quite some time.
Quite frankly, in all the years I’ve been watching football, I have never seen a better or more physically gifted wide receiver than Randy Moss. His combination of size, speed, and athleticism changed the way NFL offenses ran and the way defenses defended them. Sure, there was the off-field stuff, but given all of the positive things he brought to the Twin Cities community (many of which he insisted not be covered by the media), who cares? Most of the off-field stuff is just fodder for fans of teams that we’re smart enough to jump on Moss in 1998 when they had the chance.
Also, I will never not be convinced that the sole reason that Red McCombs traded Moss to the Raiders in 2005 was as a final “eff you” to the fans of Minnesota for not giving him a new stadium. Well, Red, eff you, too.
I’d be remiss not give a couple of honorable mentions.
- Gene Washington, who played for the Vikings early in team history, was a serious deep threat for the Vikings in his time. He was a #8 overall pick in that draft, too.
- Hassan Jones is one of the great underrated receivers in Vikings history playing across from Anthony Carter in the mid-80s.
- Eric Guliford had exactly one catch in his Vikings’ career, but he made it count.
- And, of course, there’s Cordarrelle Patterson, who had a great rookie year (or second half of a rookie year) for the Vikings before mostly disappearing for two years and reappearing in 2016. Probably the best kick returner in Vikings’ history.
Vikings that have worn the #84:
- Dave Middleton (1961)
- Oscar Donahue (1962)
- Gene Washington (1967 - 1972)
- Carroll Dale (1973)
- Steve Craig (1974 - 1978)
- Sam McCullum (1982 - 1983)
- Dwight Collins (1984)
- Jay Carroll (1985)
- Hassan Jones (1986 - 1992)
- James Brim (1987)
- Eric Guliford (1993 - 1994)
- Tony Bland (1997)
- Randy Moss (1998 - 2004, 2010)
- Aundrae Allison (2007 - 2008)
- Michael Jenkins (2011 - 2012)
- Cordarrelle Patterson (2013 - 2016)
We’ll move on to the #83 tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen!