Vikings to induct Moss, Rashad into Ring of Honor
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Vikings had quite a surprise in store Wednesday for Randy Moss and Ahmad Rashad.
When Moss went to Winter Park, he thought it was to discuss his role for February’s Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium. And Rashad was in the Twin Cities after having ankle replacement surgery here last week.
Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf then told the two former star receivers that both will be inducted this fall into the Ring of Honor. Moss got the word in person from Wilf and Rashad received a phone call.
“I had no idea that I was going into the Ring of Honor,’’ Moss said. “So I was actually speechless. … I walked down the hallway (at Winter Park), I’m looking at (pictures of Ring of Honor inductees Mick) Tingelhoff, I’m looking at (Cris) Carter, I’m looking at (Chris) Doleman. … I didn’t see my jersey on that wall. So when I come out (of a room), I said, ‘Hold up, wait a minute? Did you all just put this up here?’’’
Rashad had surgery on his left ankle performed last Friday by Chris Coetzee of Twin Cities Orthopedics, also the doctor who operated on Vikings safety Harrison Smith in February. Rashad remained in area to recover, and then got the call Wednesday morning from Wilf.
“Mark said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’’’ Rashad said. “They didn’t even know I was here, I think. … It’s just absolutely fabulous news.’’
After Moss was informed, he watched the remainder of practice on the second day of a three-day mandatory minicamp. Rashad then was driven to Winter Park, and watched practice on crutches. Afterward, both addressed the players.
“Randy and Ahmad are two of the most recognizable and decorated players in Vikings history,” Wilf said.
Moss played for the Vikings from 1998-2004 and briefly in 2010, catching 587 of his 982 career passes for them. Rashad was with Minnesota from 1976-82, catching 400 passes, before becoming a notable sports broadcaster.
Moss, 40, will be inducted during the Sept. 11 opener against New Orleans on Monday Night Football, a game he already had planned to attend as an ESPN analyst. Rashad, 67, will be enshrined during an Oct. 1 game against Detroit.
“I’m definitely thankful,’’ Moss said. “I love this game and I played definitely with a chap on my shoulder throughout my career. Some people I rubbed wrong, some people love it. So to the people that I rubbed wrong, man, that’s just what I loved to do.’’
Moss burst on the scene with 69 catches for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns as a rookie in 1998, but had a controversial Vikings tenure. He pretended to moon fans after scoring a touchdown in a January 2005 playoff game at Green Bay, and was traded two months later.
Moss wished he could have spent his entire career with the Vikings.
“Yes, I do,’’ he said. “That would have been phenomenal. … I think that sometimes my passion for the game got in the way of the business side of it. You live and you learn, you mature.’’
Moss had to hold back tears when asked about his first Vikings coach Dennis Green, who died last July. Green played a key role in Moss being taken with the No. 21 pick in 1998 after he slipped in the draft because of off-the-field concerns.
“The man passed away without me really, really giving him my love and thanks for what he was able to do for me and my family,’’ Moss said. “There were a lot of teams out there that passed on me for wrong reasons. Coach Green gave me that opportunity.’’
Moss also played with Oakland, New England, Tennessee and San Francisco, finishing his career with 15,292 yards receiving, third in NFL history, and 156 touchdown catches, which is second. He’s first eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year, and the class will be named in Minnesota the day before Super Bowl LII.
“For me to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (then), I think it would be special,’’ Moss said. “I hold my hat on first-ballot, I really do.’’
Rashad played in the NFL from 1972-1982, also spending time with St. Louis and Buffalo, and caught 495 passes for 6,831 yards. He made four straight Pro Bowls with the Vikings from 1978-81.
“It’s the most important thing to ever happen to me and I’ve won Emmy awards, I’ve won receiving titles,’’ Rashad said of the Ring of Honor. “This is closer to my heart. I always say that, ‘Once a Viking, always a Viking.’’’
Moss and Rashad are the first players named to the Ring of Honor since 2013, and will bring the number enshrined to 23.