Holler: Moss deserves final Metrodome memory
As things currently stand, it doesn't appear as though any team is going to sign Moss to a contract. His playing days in the NFL appear to be over. Considering the love affair Vikings fans had with Moss in the Metrodome, it would seem only fitting that the player who likely best defined the Vikings under the domed roof should be honored in the building he helped make famous (and sell out).
It's always seemed a little strange when the Vikings of Met Stadium vintage have been honored with a Ring of Honor induction in the Metrodome. Their careers bring to mind flamethrowers thawing the field before playoff games on turf more similar to green-painted cement, not the sterile conditions of the Dome. It would seem only fitting that Moss should be honored in the building he helped make so famous before the team moves into a building in which he will have no history.
Before Moss came to the Vikings, the team was having trouble selling out games. Fans in the blackout zone often had to travel to see the Vikings on TV because there was no guarantee that games other than those against Packers and Bears would be sold out and broadcast locally. That all changed when Moss arrived. From the moment No. 84 first wowed fans down in Mankato with his blazing speed, everything changed for the Vikings and the franchise took on a completely different look.
While Moss could be a handful for coaches and teammates – Mike Tice got in hot water with Moss by claiming he was "a tough nut to crack," which Moss took as an insult – there was never a problem with him and the fans. He was as beloved as any of the Vikings greats of yesteryear. Could he be a pain in the butt at times? Definitely, but the fans rarely cared about off-field distractions. They fell in love with Moss for what he could do on the field that few others could achieve.
For this to happen again, Moss will have to be retired – whether he files the paperwork or is just out of work at the time. The team will also have to be open to the idea and that isn't a certainty – Moss' second run with the team didn't go as planned and there may be some fence-mending needed to get that done. If both of those key pieces are in place, there's no reason why the Vikings shouldn't honor Moss with his inclusion in the Ring of Honor because if he doesn't deserve inclusion, who does?
There are very few players who have so defined their position that they impacted other teams in their division. Because of Moss, the Packers drafted secondary players high on a regular basis. The Bears changed how they played defense by double-teaming Moss on every play and letting the Vikings play 10-on-9 for entire games. Detroit spent tens of millions of dollars on free agent cornerbacks in hopes of finding someone who could stop Moss from getting deep and scoring touchdowns. In most respects, all three teams failed, but it was a testament to how much fear he brought in the hearts of defensive coordinators.
The Vikings of the Metrodome era left the frozen tundra of the old Met behind and with it a lot of the memories created outdoors in Bloomington. As they get ready for their last season in the Metrodome, they're going to be doing the same all over again. It seems only fitting that the player who created the most magic under the Teflon roof as anyone should take his rightful place among the franchise immortals. Love him or hate him (and many more loved him than hated him), he belongs in the Ring of Honor and should be inducted while the team is still playing in the house that he helped make famous and sell out during every game he played there.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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