Allison Boldly Chooses No. 84

Rookie receiver Aundrae Allison has boldly changed his jersey number from 14 to 84, Randy Moss's old number with the Vikings. See what he had to say about why he made the switch and his motivation for the season.

Aundrae Allison is going where no Vikings player has gone since the trade of Randy Moss – wearing his No. 84 jersey in a regular season game.

Allison switched jersey numbers Thursday, from the No. 14 he had been wearing since he was drafted to the previously highly heralded No. 84 that Moss made so famous during his seven-year career. Tight end Stephen Spach had been wearing the number this preseason until he was released when rosters were trimmed down last week.

Allison said he didn't do the research on the number before telling people he wanted to switch to No. 84, but he was quickly reminded that was Moss's jersey number. Still, that wasn't enough to dissuade Allison, who seemed undeterred by Moss's Pro Bowl exploits in Minnesota.

"Whoever wore it before that couldn't have been too strong with the number – like Cris Carter, you can't even get that number," Allison told Viking Update Thursday before donning the jersey in practice for the first time.

Allison said he followed Moss's career and called him one of his favorite receivers, and he realizes that others will put extra pressure on him because of the number on his back.

"I know for a fact I am (going to get pressure)," Allison said. "Some of the players on the team told me, some of the coaches told me, but I'm not going to buy into any of that. That's just a whole bunch of people with opinions."

"Once I did it today, I've gotten a whole bunch of comments about the situation. I'm just waiting to practice with it and see how that comes out after practice," he said. "Everybody will be really asking me questions then."

While he will undoubtedly create a buzz because of the new number on his back, it's the tattoo on his arm and the chip on his shoulder that helped explain why he wanted the new number.

"I wanted 84 because I feel that was the year I was born," said the 6-foot, 198-pound receiver that was born on June 25, 1984. "I've got a tattoo on my arm that says, ‘Against All Odds.' From the day I was born, I was born against the odds. I had to take the long route my whole career. I had to go to junior college by being a non-qualifier out of high school. I went to East Carolina, which wasn't too big of a school, and had to battle through that. I fell to the fifth round this year and that was one of the big obstacles I had to overcome. I've been battling against the odds all my life and I wanted to get that (number) because it symbolizes the year I was born. It's just been struggle the whole way."

Allison was projected as a second- or third-round pick before last April's draft, but his name continued to go uncalled until the Vikings finally selected him in the fifth round.

"I'll never get over that – never, ever. That's what motivates me. … Hopefully a few years down the road in my career, I can look back and just show all the people that picked over me that they made a big mistake."

If that sounds familiar, it might be because it's just like the numerous quotes we've gathered from Randy Moss over his career talking about how his draft stock fell from a high first-round pick to the 21st overall selection of the Vikings in 1998.

Allison has the chip on his shoulder properly positioned and the number to represent that, but he has a long way to go to having the success Moss had 10 years ago as a rookie with the Vikings.

NOTES

  • Allison said he isn't sure if he'll even be active on Sunday as the team's fifth receiver or if he'll return kickoffs like he did in the preseason.

    "I don't know exactly. That's up to Coach (Brad) Childress and how he prepares his game plan, so I'm just waiting to see. I don't know anything," he said. "It's one of those things where you've got to be prepared. Whether you know or don't know, you've still got to be prepared no matter what."

    Still, the anticipation of his first regular-season game is hitting him. He admitted that it is getting harder to sleep as Sunday draws nearer.

    "I've been told by a lot of veterans that preseason is one speed, regular season is another speed, playoffs is another speed," he said.

  • Former Vikings offensive tackle Todd Steussie was released from the St. Louis Rams with an injury settlement. He had injured his foot in the preseason and was expected to be out for a couple of months.

  • Former Vikings center Kyle Cook, who was with the team this offseason as an undrafted rookie, signed with the Cincinnati Bengals to their practice squad.

  • Thursday's injury report featured mostly good news for the Vikings. Safety Mike Doss (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday and offensive tackle Marcus Johnson was excused. E.J. Henderson, who was sick yesterday, returned to participate fully, as did S Tank Williams (calf), DE Darrion Scott (shoulder) and WR Bobby Wade (ankle). LB Vinny Ciurciu (hand) and WR Robert Ferguson (ankle) were limited in practice, just as they were on Wednesday.

    For the Falcons, S Chris Crocker remained out of practice on Thursday with a knee injury, while DT Rod Coleman (knee) and TE Alge Crumpler (getting rest) were limited.


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