MINNEAPOLIS -- The 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be decided the day before Super Bowl LII, as voters assemble in the Twin Cities to pick the latest enshrinees. Two former Minnesota Vikings players could be among those with a chance to receive the call to Canton.
Wide receiver Randy Moss and guard Steve Hutchinson are among the prominent players eligible for induction for the first time in 2018, in a group that also includes former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and New England Patriots defensive tackle Richard Seymour. Former Vikings center Matt Birk is also eligible for the first time in 2018, though his chances would seem more remote than those of Moss or Hutchinson.
Moss ranks second in NFL history in receiving touchdowns, third in receiving yards, tied for fourth in overall touchdowns and 15th in receptions, though voters' reluctance to usher a slew of prominent wideouts into the Hall of Fame could mean things are somewhat tricky for Moss. Terrell Owens, who caught more passes, posted more yards and matched Moss in overall touchdowns, was denied entry to the Hall of Fame again on Saturday, and receivers like Tim Brown, Andre Reed and Cris Carter had to wait for years before hearing their names called.
There's an argument to be made that none of those receivers was as dominant, or did more to change the nature of defenses in the NFL, than Moss at his peak; the Green Bay Packers used the first three picks of their 1999 draft on defensive backs after Moss burned them twice in his rookie season, and the rise of the Tampa-2 scheme can be attributed, in some ways, to teams looking for a way to keep Moss from getting downfield. As the proceedings take place in the town where Moss crafted the bulk of his legacy, his candidacy figures to be one of the more intriguing cases in the 2018 class.
Hutchinson, who was named to two All-Pro teams and played in his only Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks before coming to the Vikings, made four more Pro Bowls and three more All-Pro teams in his six seasons with Minnesota, starting 89 of a possible 96 games for the Vikings. The Pro Football Hall of Fame named Hutchinson to its first-team all-decade squad for the 2000s.