Thursday, February 21, 2013

National Friday League: Cris Carter or Randy Moss?

While a number of good wide receivers have worn the purple helmets, it's hard to argue that any players other than Cris Carter or Randy Moss can vie for the best receiver in franchise history.

I'm not asking who is the best wide receiver ever to play for the Vikings; I am asking who is the greatest Viking wide receiver. For that, I want to look exclusively at Carter's and Moss's Viking careers.

Cris Carter
188 games, 1,004 receptions, 12,383 yards (12.3 avg), 110 TDs
per game average: 5.3 receptions, 65.9 yards, .59 TDs
eight 1,000 yard seasons, four 1,200 yard seasons
top statistical year: 122 receptions, 1,371 yards, 17 TDs
playoffs: 12 games, 63 receptions, 838 yards, 8 TDs

Randy Moss
113 games, 587 receptions, 9,316 yards (15.9 avg), 90 TDs
per game average: 5.2 receptions, 82.4 yards, .80 TDs
six 1,000 yard seasons, six 1,200 yard seasons
top statistical year: 111 receptions, 1,632 yards, 17 TDs
playoffs: 8 games, 35 receptions, 723 yards, 9 TDs

Randy Moss was the more talented and more productive player. On a per game level, on a per season level, on a per play level, very few wide receivers ever top Moss. But I think we can admit that there was a lot of bullshit to deal with during Randy Moss's first tenure with the team, and that his second tenure was a total, thorough, no-way-around-it disaster that was in no small part Moss's own doing.

Cris Carter had longevity, which is why he's the franchise's leader in cumulative receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He was also more reliable--which isn't to say that there was no dickishness to Carter, but that he was generally a professional football player and mature human being who did his best on the football field.

But I think it is Moss. Carter was extraordinary, but what Moss brought was unique at the position. The threat of the deep throw was ever-present, and Moss opened up so much for his teammates with that threat--it was amazing to watch some of the defensive focus put on Moss in his prime. Maybe I now like Carter better and enjoy thinking nostalgically about Carter, and maybe Randy Moss makes me always feel a little sad and dirty at this point. But he was better, and brought the franchise to further heights.

And now let us again commiserate over the sorry state of the WR position today. From 2005 to 2012, the Vikes have had exactly one--one--1,000 yard wide receiver. I've pointed this out before, but from 1994 to 2000--seven straight seasons--the Vikings had two 1,000 yard receivers each year! And the passing game has opened up even more since then! The Vikes have drafted WRs early and late. They've signed cheap and expensive free agents. Nothing has stuck. I can barely envision anything sticking.


  1. Two 1000 yard receivers a year for seven years and now we can't even get one? That's another one of those I wish I didn't know, like learning Darrin Nelson was picked over Marcus Allen. I love Carter and he probably helped steer Moss away from being an even bigger headache, which should give him bonus points. But as you say, it has to be Moss. He did things you had never seen before.

  2. Moss is like an exgirlfriend that was wild and crazy and fun and dangerous. you feel a little dirty and sad when you remember her, but there some WOW moments. Carter is more like an amazing wife. she listens, she lets you have your mancave time, she brings you a beer now and then, and she loves your kids fiercely.

    there's now way you'd have been better off marrying Moss, and you know it.