By Jerry McDonald
MINNEAPOLIS _ There’s talk of a moon here and there, but the return of Randy Moss to Minnesota at first glance does not amount to much.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press has run a “Countdown to Randy” graphic on its front sports page, with an illustration of Moss pretending to pull his pants down, as he did in the end zone so famously in a playoff game against Green Bay.
Sunday’s graphic signified “1 day.”
It’s getting some commerical time as well, with the local Channel 9 hyping Moss’ attempts to beat his former team deep as part of its advertising for the Raiders-Vikings game.
But all in all, it seems pretty tame.
As Judd Zulgad wrote in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune blog:
“I sense no buzz surrounding Monday night’s game. Maybe I’m wrong. But this Vikings team doesn’t resemble the team Moss left and it’s hard to tell if Moss resembles the player who spent several seasons beating cornerbacks and safeties all over the league.”
Some of the comments to Zulgad’s blog indicated fans weren’t going to get overly fired up about a pre-season game, and that if Moss were returning in the regular season, it would be a different story.
There were a few fans who believed Moss had become injury prone and therefore expendable. Some gave him his due but had simply moved on.
At the Raiders team hotel downtown, usually a hotbed of fans in silver and black, there wasn’t the usual pack of autographs seekers and gawkers.
Then again, downtown Minneapolis on a Sunday isn’t exactly Times Square. At the chain Mexican restaurant across the street from the hotel, only a few Twins fans had made the trek over from the Metrodome following a win over the Blue Jays and the bartender said it was pretty much business as usual for a Sunday.
The majority of posters on a Vikings message board seemed to think Moss would get a warm if not raucous welcome.
Then again, maybe I’m not giving the home base enough credit.
The Mexican restaurant, on its happy hour menu, prominently advertised its new beer selection.
“Now serving Blue Moon.”
Moss declined a request from Minnesota writers for an interview, much as he has done with most media members ever since disclosing to HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel last year that he smoked marijuana “once in a blue moon.”
The restaurant ad was a coincidence.