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Updated: July 10th, 2014 10:22pm
Zulgad: Randy Moss deserving of having his No. 84 retired by Vikings

Zulgad: Randy Moss deserving of having his No. 84 retired by Vikings

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by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com

The Vikings' temporary two-year stint at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus likely will put a hold on any major celebrations for the franchise.

That will change in 2016 when the Vikings move into their new downtown palace that will stand on the property where the Metrodome was located.

One of the first orders of business for the Vikings should be retiring the number of the player who had one of, if not the biggest, impact of any player to wear purple during the team's 32 seasons in the Dome.

Randy Moss deserves to join a list that includes quarterback Fran Tarkenton (10); defensive tackle Alan Page (88); defensive end Jim Marshall (70); offensive tackle Korey Stringer (77); center Mick Tinglehoff (53); and wide receiver Cris Carter (80).

The thought of the wide receiver having his No. 84 retired by the Vikings occurred Thursday when my buddy, Jason Wilde, from ESPN Wisconsin reported that Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy said he does not anticipate retiring Brett Favre's No. 4 this season.

Wilde wrote that there are concerns from the Packers and Favre that he will be booed if his jersey number is retired this season. What Favre and the Packers have to realize is that no matter when he is honored - and that is going to have to happen at some point - he will be booed.

Favre's number would have been retired long ago if he had simply played the 2008 season for the New York Jets and then quit playing. But the fact that he then spent two seasons with the arch-rival Vikings, in part to stick it to the Packers, never will be forgiven by every member of the Green Bay fan base.

There would be no concern about Moss being booed by the Vikings fans, if his number was taken out of rotation. His popularity with many was unquestioned from his arrival as a first-round draft pick in 1998 until he was traded to Oakland following the 2004 season.

But that doesn't mean that everyone in the organization is going to be in a rush to honor Moss.

Moss, who isn't yet in the Vikings Ring of Honor, wasn't always the easiest guy to deal with and left a less than favorable impression when general manager Rick Spielman and then-coach Brad Childress made the mistake of bringing him back from New England in 2010.

Moss didn't even last a month with the Vikings before he was jettisoned by Childress, who was so angered by the wide receiver that he put him on waivers without first-telling ownership. That helped expedite Childress' ouster shortly thereafter in a 6-10 season.

Moss didn't exactly endear himself to owner Zygi Wilf and the rest of the Vikings' brass as he caught 13 passes for 174 yards in four games. The legend always will be that one reason Moss was let go was because of his meltdown about catered food that had been delivered to the Vikings' locker room at Winter Park on the Friday before a game.

The truth is that Childress' outrage came when he was informed following a 28-18 loss at New England that a frustrated Moss, upon his arrival in the locker room, informed Wilf, along with other members of ownership who were standing nearby, that they better fire the coach as soon as possible. Not surprisingly, Moss' choice of words on that late October day included a variety of expletives.

From what I saw of Moss covering the Vikings in 2010, he was an incredibly smart player who would spend his lunch hour camped at his locker with note cards and highlighters by his side as he studied plays. But this doesn't erase the fact that Moss came off as a guy who despised any type of authority and attempted to make life as difficult as possible for many around him. He embraced the art of being difficult.

Ultimately, none of this should matter when it comes to whether to honor Moss. Any shortcomings he might have had when it came to personality, are far outweighed by his impact on the Vikings.

He had 587 receptions for 9,316 yards and 92 touchdowns in seven-plus seasons with the Vikings, placing him second in franchise history to Carter's 1,004 receptions in 12 seasons. Moss' 93 touchdowns are second to Carter's 110, although Adrian Peterson is only two behind.

Moss' impact in Minnesota goes beyond his stats.

The year before he arrived, the Vikings went 9-7 and although they made the playoffs, the final regular-season game at the Dome wasn't televised locally because it did not sell out.

The Vikings went 15-1 and advanced to the NFC title game in Moss' rookie season in 1998, and sellouts quickly became the norm at the Metrodome. For better or worse, there are many who credit Moss' arrival with creating a new and younger fan base for the Vikings. Moss' ability to make a catch, any catch, caused the Packers to focus on drafting bigger corners.

Moss finished the 2010 season with the Tennessee Titans, did not play in 2011 and then spent 2012 with the San Francisco 49ers. He worked as a studio analyst for Fox last season and will help coach his son this fall at a North Carolina high school.

Meanwhile, Cordarelle Patterson now wears No. 84 for the Vikings and the hope, if not expectation, is that the dynamic second-year wide receiver will continue to develop into the same type of playmaker that Moss became. (Yes, this means Patterson might have to pick a new number at some point.)

Moss said last September that he found it "disrespectful, to give a rookie my number," but quickly added, "I don't really believe in numbers."

The contradictory quote was vintage Moss. On one hand, he was upset and on the other he didn't care. Making sense of Moss' moods or words was never an easy task. What was easy was seeing that the man had a massive impact on the Vikings franchise.

That means that in a couple of years, retiring his jersey number should be a no-brainer.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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