In the first press conference of his second stint with the Minnesota Vikings, receiver Randy Moss repeatedly resisted using the phrase that was dancing on the tip of his tongue.
Fighting the urge to utter that or any similar term (at one point he said that “a lot of people are looking for the big thing at the end of the road”), Moss repeatedly said that he’ll take the season one game at a time.
But he plans to enjoy the process.
“Pull your 84 jerseys out,” Moss said. “This is gonna be a fun ride.”
He explained that he has watched the current edition of the Vikings from afar. “I watched this team,” he said. “I’ve paid attention.”
Moss expressed appreciation to the Patriots, but he mentioned multiple times that he still feels “obligated” to the Vikings, who drafted him when he was sliding through round one in 1998.
He also said he was more upset when he was traded out of Minnesota in 2005 than when he was traded from New England, where he spent three-plus seasons.
As the press conference went on, Moss came closer to admitting that he wants his 13th NFL season to be his luckiest one yet, saying things like the team will “hopefully bring it home” and talking about the importance of winning a championship at this stage of his career.
He also declined to talk about the future, given that his contract expires after the 2010 season. “If I’m here next year as a Viking that’s how it’s gonna be, if I’m not, I’m not,” Moss said. Asked later whether he plans to retire as a Viking, he deferred to the “boss man” in the back of the room, presumably owner Zygi Wilf. (Unless pro wrestlers were also in town.)
Throughout the press conference, Moss exhibited a playful but hard edge. He was excited, for example, when discussing the scene of his eventual first game back at the Metrodome, and he apparently didn’t realize that the game will come against the Dallas Cowboys, who passed on him twice in the ’98 draft, even though he was under the impression that the Cowboys would take him.
To start the press conference, Moss stormed the stage invited Sid Harman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to ask the first question. When the question didn’t immediately come, Moss pretended to turn over an hourglass. Later, he cut off a reporter who was asking a long, rambling question, barking out “next question!” and scanning the assembled media for another reporter.
Moss concluded by acknowledging that he had a few issues during his first stint with the team, but he recognized it could have been worse.
“What if I’d have been on that boat?” he said. “There really would have been some problems.”
And then he turned to his left and bolted, almost as quickly as he does when running a fly route.
UPDATE: Here’s some of the video.