Friday, July 27
Moss looking to take Super step

Randy Moss

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- With a new, $75 million contract in hand, Minnesota Vikings receiver Randy Moss finally has the money he's dreamed about -- and even more pressure on his purple-covered shoulders.

Two days after signing the deal, which includes an $18 million signing bonus, Moss said he's ready to lead Minnesota to the Super Bowl.

Sure, Merril Hoge caught Randy Moss taking plays off last season. But as Chris Mortensen breaks down Moss' contract and his fellow draft class of '98, he explains why Randy Moss is worth every last dime.

  • Mort's complete analysis
  • "Two out of my three years I've been in the NFC Championship. I've been like a pinch from the Super Bowl," Moss said Friday. "It's been frustrating. I've been angry at myself. I've been angry with my team."

    "I just want to see my team succeed," he added. "That's it."

    Just six months ago, after the New York Giants drubbed the Vikings 41-0 in the NFC Championship, Moss criticized some of his teammates and wondered whether the Vikings could ever win a championship.

    He also admitted in an interview last season that he didn't give his all on some plays.

    While most Vikings fans were overjoyed that Moss signed an extension -- he's regarded as the game's best receiver, after all -- many haven't forgotten those comments.

    "You are now the highest-paid receiver, so you better make the plays," Vikings fan Amy Kocon of New Brighton warned, when asked by a reporter about Moss's new contract. "You better be on the ball all the time, not just when you feel like it."

    At Friday's news conference, Moss, 24, dismissed the fallout over his admission. "The critics are just talking and just trying to sell newspapers," he said.

    The deal makes Moss the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL and third-richest player overall -- behind quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and Brett Favre.

    Moss had said he expected a contract in the neighborhood of $100 million.

    "I knew they would get a deal done," said receiver Cris Carter, who since Moss's deal was announced has waffled on his plan to make this his last season. "It was just a matter of where they would meet. He (Moss) knew he would have to come off of $100 million."

    Carter said Moss is developing into a "great receiver playing receiver," rather than being a great athlete who happens to catch passes.

    The deal has no restriction against Moss playing basketball. He played this summer for the Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs in the United States Basketball League.

    "It's a commitment Red McCombs made to have the premier player in the league," coach Dennis Green said.

    Still, the superstar must overcome some skeptical fans who remember big-game losses, missed catches and lack of effort.

    "He has to give his all on every play," said Mike Mobley, a 48-year-old Eden Prairie attorney. "I never see Jerry Rice take a play off."

    Said Kellie Warner, 25, of Plymouth: "He's very cocky. Sometimes he just exudes this thing like he's the greatest thing in the world."

    Nonetheless, Warner, who hosts weekly Vikings football parties, relishes the idea of Moss and strong-armed quarterback Daunte Culpepper playing together for years.

    "Those two together?" she said. "That's just great."

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