Found September 19, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. No team in the NFL understands how motivated receiver Randy Moss gets for big games better than the Minnesota Vikings, his club for the first seven seasons of his career and one ill-fated month in 2010.Minnesota has been the beneficiary of many of those big moments, such as when he scored two touchdowns in his first regular-season game and when he made his "Monday Night Football" debut with five catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers. Heck, Moss has 17 touchdowns in 17 Monday night games.The Vikings have never been on the other side of Moss' flare for the dramatic other than during a short appearance in the first preseason game this season. Moss will return to Minnesota this Sunday for the first time as an opponent, trying to extend his Hall of Fame-worthy career as a secondary option in the San Francisco 49ers' passing attack.His longtime team and some former teammates expect to face a motivated Moss in his return to the Metrodome, where he was celebrated more than any player in recent memory by Vikings fans. In fact, his purple No. 84 jersey remains a common sight."Anytime you play against one of your old teams, it's definitely a little extra motivation," said tackle Phil Loadholt, who had a locker next to Moss' in 2010. "We're going to have to make sure we prepare and be ready for that."By all reports, Moss has been a model teammate in San Francisco, which wasn't the case for four games in 2010 when the Vikings brought him back trying to recapture former glory. In a desperate move to save a sagging season, Minnesota acquired Moss in a trade from New England. He lasted four games before he was released, the short span defined by truculence and a memorable bashing of a caterer for one of the Vikings' lunches.He ended up signing with Tennessee and having little impact before announcing a retirement and sitting out the 2011 season. But San Francisco, a team that was on the brink of the Super Bowl last season, saw a different side of Moss and brought him in for a visit."I just wanted to meet with him and talk with him," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said on a Wednesday teleconference with Minnesota media. "Was around Randy, got a great sense and we signed him. I really felt that he loved the game and wanted a chance to compete. That's what we had to offer. Not basing everything off of one day because one day doesn't always tell the story. It did in this case because now we've been together for months, through games and through training camp and the offseason and I love being around him."His impact on the field is still to be determined. He made his San Francisco regular-season debut during another big game, facing old rival Green Bay in Week 1, and had four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown in a 49ers victory. Last week at home against Detroit, the 35-year-old six-time Pro Bowl selection had one catch for 14 yards.Harbaugh isn't willing to say what kind of role Moss will have this season, but there's no denying Moss has had an impact on his younger teammates. Quarterback Alex Smith said he was "pretty pumped" to hear about the Moss signing during the offseason and that he's been most impressed with Moss' mental approach to the game."Just what a savvy football player he is," Smith said. "He's big. He can run. He can catch; knowledge of the game, how much he thinks out there and how fast he thinks on his feet so well. Has a great understanding of defenses and leverage, things like that. He communicates very well. It's been great for me. It's been good just working with him. He's always got something coming back and talking to me, saying, I'm seeing this.' Just trying to get on the same page and he communicates so well. So, it's been great."Moss has refused to talk to the media for much of the season, instead eschewing the constant circus that has followed him much of his career. The question for San Francisco and the Vikings is how much of his once dazzling level of physical talent does he still have. He was once the most feared receiver in the NFL, racking up 587 catches, 9,316 receiving yards and 92 receiving touchdowns with Minnesota, second in team history in each category to Cris Carter.The Vikings say the game film shows he's still dangerous receiver if given a chance."He still can run," safety Jamarca Sanford said. "He still can blow the top off coverage. He's still a guy you have to track down and know where he's at on the field."So Minnesota is preparing for a motivated Moss still capable of winning battles with his athletic ability."I would expect he'll be up for this game like he is for every game," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He still shows that if you blink, he can run by you. He has got that ability. He really seems to be rejuvenated in their offense."Just as he'll be rejuvenated for a return trip to the Metrodome and another chance to impress Vikings fans.Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Moss ready to face former Vikings team with 49ers

Randy Moss is prepared for cheers, he's prepared for boos. He is embracing all the hype surrounding his return to Minnesota, where his illustrious career began 14 years ago. Moss is headed back to the Metrodome on Sunday in his No. 84 jersey for the San Francisco 49ers, eager to step onto the very field where he played some of his best games in seven-plus seasons with the Vikings...

Report: 49ers worked out Shawne Merriman

According to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com, the San Francisco 49ers worked out free agent linebacker Shawne Merriman on Wednesday, but ended up signing Eric Bakhtiari while Clark Haggans serves his three game suspension. I’m not shocked at least one team has no taken a look at Merrman. I’m sure others have spoken to him as well, but I can’t imagine him getting signed by anyone...

Vikings still respect Moss’ abilities

Despite taking a year off from the game, Randy Moss is still generating respect, even from defenders on a team that cut him two years ago.

The 49ers do have one weakness

Pundits across the nation are hyping up The San Francisco 49ers, claiming that they’re the best team in the NFL. They continue from last year praising the defense but this year they are also applauding the offense for its improvement. The 49ers retained all 11 defensive starters and made big offseason additions at wide receiver and running back. They brought in Randy Moss and Mario...

Why not denim? 49ers WR Michael Crabtree models most hideous vest ever (photo)

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree may be a fashionisto — or whatever the masculine version of “fashionista” is — but even if that’s the case, the fact that he tweeted the above photo where he is modeling one of the most hideous and garish vests I have ever seen does him no favors [...]

Ponder: the one thing lacking is big plays

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has started the 2012 season efficient and has stayed away from the mistakes that plagued his rookie season.With his team now at 1-1 after last week's loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Ponder knows getting some big plays is the final piece for Minnesota's offense with the 2-0 San Francisco 49ers coming to town...

49ers LB Haggans Suspended Three Games - LB Clark Haggans, who…

49ers LB Haggans Suspended Three Games - LB Clark Haggans, who signed with the San Francisco 49ers just before the start of the season has been suspended three games by the NFL. Haggans suspension is due because of his guilty plea to extreme DUI, for driving with a blood alcohol level of higher than .15. This was the second time during his NFL career that he has been convicted of...
HEAD GAMES

NFL may fine Alex Smith for hat?

The NFL reportedly is monitoring Alex Smith because of the hat he's worn after games. See what he's doing to violate policy.

Creepy hooded 49ers videobomber is creepy (and hooded)

How great is this guy?  He videobombs Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree for a good 2-minutes without detection following the 49ers Sunday night victory over the Lions. The Hooded wonder leans in to listen to the 49ers quarterback, nods approvingly, shifts uncomfortably from side to side like a guy waiting for his buddy to steal a Playboy magazine from a corner store, and generally...

Musgrave vows to get the ball downfield more

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Quarterback Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings' receivers have taken the brunt of the criticism for the team's lack of downfield passing over the first two weeks.Ponder has completed two passes that traveled more than 20 yards in the air during the first two games, both in the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last week, Minnesota...

Vikings' Allen laments lack of sacks

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. The way Jared Allen sees things, he believes he should have about three sacks already this season while facing young quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck through the season's first two weeks.Allen, who led the NFL last season with 22 sacks, is still without one and is left to wonder about the occasions in which he had quarterbacks in his grasp. Allen...

Michael Crabtree motivates offense with challenge

(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. AP Photos.) By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer It was a natural moment for Michael Crabtree to address his 49ers teammates when he turned 25 last Friday. So, Crabtree obliged, on the field after practice. And he surprised a few of his San Francisco colleagues with a spot-on message: The defense has been doing so much to carry San Francisco, he called...

WR Simpson excited to return to action

Jerome Simpson has been counting down the days until he can make a difference on the field and start practicing with the Vikings again. That day is drawing near.

49ers-Vikings Preview

The San Francisco 49ers are nearing their best start in 14 seasons partly because their defense did enough to keep a pair of the NFL's top quarterbacks from beating them. Their own signal-caller has done a pretty nice job as well. Alex Smith and the unbeaten 49ers visit the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in a game that will also feature Randy Moss' return to the city where...

Detroit Lions: San Francisco's Dominance Greatly Exaggerated

Literacy is apparently not a requirement to play for San Francisco.Either that, or the 49ers have a vastly over-inflated view of their accomplishment on Sunday night.To be fair, the Detroit Lions came in and were forced to play San Franciso's style of football. The 49ers played better. They took advantage of their opportunities. They won the game.Since the final seconds ticked...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.