Thielen wearing special cleats Monday to honor Randy Moss
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen grew up idolizing Randy Moss and will pay homage to him Monday night.
Thielen will wear cleats he specially ordered with “Moss’’ written on the back and his No. 84 on the side. The legendary receiver will be inducted into the Vikings’ Ring of Honor at halftime of the opener against New Orleans at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“Growing up, watching him, he was an idol of mine, somebody I looked up to,’’ said Thielen, a native of Detroit Lakes, Minn., who was 8 when Moss made his Minnesota debut as a rookie in 1998.
Thielen said he decided to become a wide receiver after watching Moss as well as former Vikings receivers Cris Carter and Jake Reed. Thielen has met Moss a few times and called him a “great dude.’’
Moss played for the Vikings from 1998-2004 and returned for a short stint in 2010.
“I have a ton of memories of him,’’ Thielen said. “(I admired) just the way he was able to play the game, the way he was able to make that offense so much better. … It will be fun to see him, and I’m glad that he’s getting honored.’’
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Moss last played in 2012. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer went up against him six times when he was an assistant, including three times as a defensive coordinator for Dallas and once when he had that role for Cincinnati.
“I remember that we had to line the receiver on the scout team two yards offsides every time we played against him because he was going to get on us so fast,’’ Zimmer said. “Basically, most every coverage was dedicated to him and he still had great games. … He could run by you, he’s bigger, faster. He had change of direction. He had great hands. I mean, he really could do it all.’’
When Moss was a rookie and Zimmer was the Cowboys’ defensive backs coach, Moss caught three passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns on Thanksgiving Day at Dallas. Zimmer doesn’t remember much about the game.
When Zimmer was the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, Moss in 2000 had seven catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns for Minnesota and in 2005 for Oakland had four receptions for 123 yards.
On Monday, there will be video shown at 5:45 p.m. on Moss and he will blow the Gjallarhorn just before the 6:10 p.m. kickoff. The halftime ceremony honoring Moss will include Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and many of the previous 21 inductees into the Ring of Honor.
(The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner)