MINNEAPOLIS — So far he has been an efficient, if underutilized, receiver on a team that prefers to run the ball.
Randy Moss on Sunday will make his first regular-season appearance in Minnesota as a member of an opposing team, and no matter his impact on the game he's sure to elicit strong emotions. In fact, he expects it.
“One thing about praises and boos is, obviously, you're doing something right. I think I just hang my hat on that. . I look forward to just hearing the Metrodome rock,” Moss said this week to the San Francisco media as the 2-0 49ers were preparing for the Vikings.
For anyone used to listening to Moss, reading between the lines is often the most interesting part of conversations. If you did that, you got the feeling that Moss will be carrying quite a chip with him into the Dome on Sunday.
When asked about his best Vikings memories, he mentioned playing with future Hall of Famers Randall McDaniel and John Randle. He thanked Dennis Green for drafting him in 1998 while other teams passed (he never, ever forgets a slight). But he pointedly didn't mention Cris Carter, who went out of his way to position himself as Moss' mentor. Or quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who threw him so many passes. Or coach Mike Tice, who unveiled the Randy Ratio.
He didn't mention the incredible highs of the 15-1 rookie season or the dysfunctional way his second tenure here ended in 2010. But you know he's thinking about all of that. Moss always has used grudges as motivation.
But will it matter?
In perhaps his final NFL go-round, Moss - who said he's chasing that elusive Super Bowl ring to fill “the only thing missing on my risumi” - has been a part-time player on a very good team since ending a one-year retirement to sign in San Francisco.
So far Moss has been a part-timer, behind receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham and tight end Vernon Davis on the pass-catching pecking order. Moss has been on the field for just 37 of the 49ers' 130 offensive plays. Quarterback Alex Smith has thrown to him five times, all completions, for 61 yards and a TD.
Normally you'd expect Moss would be chafing over playing time. He never abides these things for long. He didn't with the Vikings, either time. He even complained about his contract after a 2010 loss while with New England, precipitating his trade back to Minnesota.