Vikings: Moss saves his best moments for Lambeau Field
EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- From his incredible rookie debut to "straight cash, homey," Randy Moss has saved some of his most memorable moments for Lambeau Field.
One of football's most hallowed stadiums was the site of his coming-out party in 1998, when he torched the Green Bay Packers for 190 yards and two touchdowns on "Monday Night Football."
In his most recent appearance there, a January 2005 playoff game, Moss had four catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Vikings to an upset victory. He also infuriated the fans when he pretended to moon the audience after his last score put the game away.
When the Vikings (2-3) play the Packers (3-3) on Sunday night, it will mark the first time Moss has been back since that infamous playoff appearance five years ago.
Moss, who spent his first seven seasons with the Vikings and rejoined them three weeks ago following five-plus seasons with Oakland and New England, has played seven career games at Lambeau. He has 31 catches for 588 yards (19 yards per catch) with seven touchdowns.
In 15 career games against the Packers, Moss has more yards receiving (1,313) and touchdowns (14) than against any other opponent.
He had so much success against Brett Favre and the Packers that GM Ted Thompson's inability to swing a deal for Moss when the Raiders put him on the trade block in 2007 was one of the biggest reasons the quarterback and the organization had such an ugly split.
"It was kind of bittersweet to watch him because, I mean, it was 'God, this guy is unbelievable,'" Favre said this week. "Usually, he was beating you and it was kind of like how do we stop him?
"As far as Ted and I go, do we talk on a regular basis? No. But I think in the end our relationship will be as it was for many years. It was a business relationship that I don't want to say went sour, but that's where it went awry. But that's over and done with."
Favre came to Minnesota in 2009 and finally got his wish when the Vikings re-acquired Moss from the Patriots earlier this month to energize the passing game.
"This guy not only has the talent, he has the knowledge, the instincts, he has the complete package," Favre said of Moss. "It doesn't guarantee he's going to have 10 catches and 200 yards, but he's just a dynamic player."
Moss declined to be interviewed this week, so his history against the Packers will have to do the talking for him.
After sliding to the Vikings in the 1998 draft, Moss put up some solid numbers in the first four games of his career. Undefeated Minnesota rolled into Lambeau Field to play their division rivals on a rainy Monday night, and Moss delivered a breathtaking performance to put himself, and the Vikings, on the map.
He caught touchdown passes of 52 and 44 yards in the 37-24 victory that snapped the Packers' 25-game home winning streak, a domination so thorough that the Packers drafted defensive backs with their first three picks the next year.
"No matter how many guys we put on him and no matter how many balls they threw his way, he'd come down with them and score," said Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, who played with the Packers at the time. "It was just a phenomenal display of athleticism and kicked the rivalry to a whole new level when he got here."
Moss caught six passes for 130 yards in a victory in 2000 and had nine catches for 150 yards and a TD in a 2003 win. But the game that sticks in a Packer fan's craw like few others came after the 2004 season, when Moss led the 8-8 Vikings over the Packers in the playoffs and pretended to moon the audience as he stood under a goal post in the fourth quarter.
Moss was actually mimicking a long tradition in Green Bay. For years, Packers fans have lined up to moon the visiting team's bus, something Longwell learned once he joined the enemy.
"Fans will be fans," Longwell said with a shrug. "It's what makes it fun to go on the road in this league, to be the hated rival and the underdog."
Moss was fined $10,000 by the NFL for the gesture, but laughed off the punishment a few days after the game.
"Ain't nothing but 10 grand. What's 10 grand to me?" said Moss, who made $5.75 million that season. He then jokingly suggested he might perform a more vulgar celebration next time and coined a phrase that has been uttered around these parts ever since.
When asked how he would pay the fine, Moss replied: "Straight cash, homey."
To this day, ask a devoted Vikings fan how he or she will pay for anything -- a beer at the tailgate party, a box of cereal at the supermarket or gas for the car -- and the reply is a familiar one.
"Straight cash, homey."