Carter Legacy Intact

Cris Carter's pro career may still have some time left, but his legacy with the Vikings is indelible -- and pretty incredible if you consider what he had to get through to get where he is.

When you think of the great wide receivers of recent vintage, you think of guys like Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin. For most of his career, Rice had Joe Montana and Steve Young throwing to him, while almost all of Irvin's receptions came from Troy Aikman.

But, what about Cris Carter? When his legacy is finalized, he will be able to boast something few receivers could ever say -- that he was the recipient of more passes from more different quarterbacks than any great receiver in history.

In his Vikings career, he has caught passes from an amazing 14 different players -- 13 quarterbacks and a 27-yard TD on Randy Moss' only NFL pass. When he arrived to Minnesota 12 years ago, he became a favorite target of Rich Gannon and Wade Wilson, who alternated at QB for his first two seasons. Then came Sean Salisbury, who saw action in 1992-94. In 1993, Jim McMahon was his starter. In 1994, he blossomed with Warren Moon at the helm and, when Moon got injured, Brad Johnson took over in 1996-97. Then came Randall Cunningham, who went from backup to MVP candidate in 1998. During that season, when both Cunningham and Johnson were injured, he caught a pass from Jay Fiedler. When Cunningham went down in 1999, Jeff George became his QB. In 2000, Daunte Culpepper was his QB for 15 games before Bubby Brister became the 11th QB to complete a pass to him. In the last month, Todd Bouman and Spergon Wynn have become Nos. 12 and 13.

While Carter may not be seen as the best receiver in NFL history, considering how many different quarterbacks he's had to learn timing with, his numbers may be more impressive than Rice's -- since Young and Montana are both locks for the Hall of Fame and none of his Vikings QBs are a cinch for the Hall.

* Let the rumor mill begin churning. In the days since Carter let it be known that he's likely done with the Vikings but may not be finished as a receiver, VU has been getting e-mails from football media types from around the country asking about his plans. Teams that have had Carter's name bouncing around as a possibility include Baltimore, Denver, Tampa Bay, Miami, Indianapolis and even Green Bay. Let the rumors continue.
* After the season is done, VU has been told there may be surgery in line for Randy Moss. It is expected that his ankle problems will be with him for the rest of his career, but it isn't expected to be something that will hinder him in a serious way like a knee injury would slow him.
* This will be just the third losing season for the Vikings since 1984 and, if the Vikings should lose on the road to Green Bay and Baltimore, it would be the first time they've lost 11 games since the heinous Les Steckel year of 1984.
* Perhaps even more troubling is that unless the Vikings win one of the remaining two games, it will be the first time since the team's inaugural season in 1961 that it didn't win at least one road game. In 1961, the Vikings finished 3-11, losing all seven of its road games.
* Last bad news bit of the day, including the postseason, the Vikings have lost nine straight road games. Their last win was on Thanksgiving Day 2000 when the Vikings beat Dallas.
* All of us at VU hope that you all had a happy holiday and remind you that we'll be with you all through the offseason as the Vikings look to rebuild with their highest No. 1 draft pick in 15 years and look to get healthy and back to the top of the new NFC North.

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