For most football fans, their first memories of
As a rookie out of Marshall in 1998, Moss burst onto the scene for the Minnesota Vikings with his electric playing style, leading the league with 17 touchdowns. Fourteen years later and he’ll revisit the Metrodome as a part of the 2012 49ers, seeking a 3-0 start.
“I'm just very fortunate to go back to where it all started,” Moss said. “We had some great times in Minnesota, so I look forward to hearing the Metrodome rock.”
Moss spent his first seven seasons in the land of 10,000 lakes, posting yearly averages of 82 catches for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns, setting the foundation of his Hall of Fame career. He also had a four-game stint in Minnesota in 2010, but said he’ll probably be hearing a mix of boos and cheers, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
"One thing about praises and boos, obviously you're doing something right,” Moss said. “I think I can hang my hat on that. You hear the applause, of course you do. You hear the boos, but I think the boos, being negative, put more pressure on you to go out and hush that noise up. I look forward to hearing both. Like I said, I'm a 49er now, and hopefully we can go into the Metrodome and come out of there 3-0."
Sunday’s contest will mark Moss’ first appearance at the Metrodome as a member of the opposing team.
When he thinks about Minnesota, Moss thinks about Dennis Green. The former NFL coach guided Moss from 1998-2001 and gave him an opportunity to grow alongside other accomplished veterans like Cris Carter. Moss also cited Hall of Famers like Randall McDaniel and John Randle as inspirations during his early career.
“I'm still thankful for Dennis Green for giving me a chance to showcase my talent,” Moss said. “As far as the past, it's the past. I look forward, and not backward."
For now, Moss is completely focused on his role with the 49ers. His team-first mentality has been on full display as he has garnered praise from coach Jim Harbaugh for his blocking and ability to educate his teammates in the classroom. Not to mention he scored the team’s first touchdown of the year in the season opener at Green Bay.
Moss is virtually a lock to have a bronze bust placed in Canton one day, but that’s down the road. It’s all about getting his hands on his first Lombardi Trophy with the 49ers.
"Well, I'm not really thinking about Super Bowl, but that really is the only thing missing on my resume,” Moss said. “You got to take it one game at a time, one day at a time, one practice at a time. We put the work in. It's too early to say, third week, where we're going or where we're headed. The only thing we can do is to come out here and get better each day and hopefully we keep going up."
And while Moss hasn’t played as many snaps as he used to earlier in his career, he doesn’t sound disappointed with his role on the team. In all, Moss has five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown through his first two games with the 49ers.
"It's really not up to me,” Moss said of his playing time. “Like I said, I come out here and practice every day and when called upon, I just go out there and try to make a play. It's not up to me.”
When Moss emerged out of retirement and signed with San Francisco this offseason, he knew he was joining a championship contender. Now he sees why the 49ers have been able to have so much success under Harbaugh and his staff.
“They work the hell out of us here,” Moss said. “I didn't really have a day off in training camp. I didn't really have a day off in teaching school or minicamp. So my focus was to come in and work, work, work, work and keep working. And like I said, hard work pays off. And being 2-0, just shows you how hard we worked because we played two good teams.”