BEST VIKINGS PLAYER - 2002
As far as we're concerned, this marquee superstar (with a salary and swagger to match) deserves a medal for managing to prick the thin skins of this team's fickle fans, not to mention the tight, white local sports media. Red McCombs might even think about sending the wide receiver a spring bouquet, since Moss's off-field diatribes got the Texas owner off the hook for firing Coach Dennis Green--a move that pleased the KFAN set, but was one of the worst pure football decisions in recent memory. That said, Moss won this award the old-fashioned way: He earned it on the gridiron. During his first three years in the league, the Marshall alum was used primarily as a long-ball threat. In 2001 his average yards per catch actually went down, which meant more grabs along the sidelines and across the middle (where, despite the chuckleheaded complaints about heart, Moss took a beating). In fact, the Vikes had a total of 5,185 yards on offense in 2001, and Moss was responsible for 25 percent of them--and that's just a hair higher than his 2000 stats, when the Vikes had a healthy Daunte Culpepper at QB and Robert Smith in the backfield. Anyone who dares to argue that the guy was anything less than team MVP should trade in their purple for a Packer jersey.