The expectation with the trade that brought Mike Wallace to the Minnesota Vikings is that he is going to provide the spark to the deep passing offense that has been gone for far too long.
Much like the current problems surrounding Adrian Peterson, who has spoiled Vikings fans with his incredible, consistent production, Randy Moss had the same impact at wide receiver almost a decade earlier. In his first six seasons, Moss had 8,375 receiving yards and scored 77 touchdowns – an average of almost 1,400 yards a year and 13 touchdowns.
His last full season with the Vikings was in 2003, when he caught 111 passes for 1,632 yards and 17 touchdowns.
It’s been downhill ever since.
In Moss’ final season in his first go-round with the Vikings (most of us discount 2010), in 13 games, he set career lows with 49 receptions for 767 yards in 13 games. He was traded after the 2004 season and the Vikings have spent more than a decade looking to find a replacement.
They have tried to replace the extraordinary explosiveness Moss brought to the team in various forms.
There was Travis Taylor. There was Troy Williamson (even after all this time, that name still causes pain). There was Bobby Wade.
There was Sidney Rice. There was Robert Ferguson. There was Bernard Berian. The closest they ever got was Percy Harvin and his next 1,000-yard season will be his first.
There was Michael Jenkins. There was Jerome Simpson. There was Greg Jennings. There was Cordarrelle Patterson.
Individually, they’re all what they are – some of them decent wide receivers, but no Randy Moss.
The Vikings are convinced that Wallace will end this long streak of mediocrity. Since Moss’ 2003 season, there has only been one 1,000-yard receiver for the Vikings in the 11 seasons since – and that was Rice when Brett Favre was on fire and having the season of his career.
Wallace has a pair of 1,000-yard seasons on his résumé, but those were four and five seasons ago in Pittsburgh. Is he the answer to ending the drought of 1,000-yard go-to guys since Moss left?
There always has to be the one that ends the streak.
In terms of running back, it took Peterson to end the streak. From the time Robert Smith retired following the 2000 season, the Vikings’ leading rushers were Michael Bennett, Moe Williams, Onterrio Smith, Mewelde Moore and Chester Taylor – a rogue’s gallery of pedestrian backs that will be footnotes in history.
The list of players has been eerily similar at wide receiver. Wallace is the next big thing in hopes of reversing the post-Moss trend. Will he be the one to finally end the 11-year curse?
Get your popcorn ready.
Can Wallace end the post-Moss drought?
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