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LARSMONT… Former Minnesota Vikings receiving legend Cris Carter, on the league’s Hall Of Fame ballot for his sixth time, has finally been voted in for induction. Many fans have been irritated that Carter has had to wait, convinced he should have been a first ballot inductee. I would tend to agree with them. Carter is fourth all-time in number of receptions, fourth in TD receptions, and ninth all-time in receiving yardage. And he couldn’t get in on the first ballot he was listed upon because...? I will never pretend to know the nuances of HOF voting in any of the four major sports, and I’m not going to try here and now.
Many longtime NFL observers will also tell you that if there were a ranking for it, Carter probably had the best pair of hands in the game ever, regardless of his statistical ranking in the scheme of things. At any rate, I am most pleased that he is finally going in. When Carter played, I was still an astute observer of the league and of the Vikings. And in a week where former teammate Randy Moss was grabbing headlines during Super Bowl week by proclaiming himself to be the greatest wide receiver of all time, all I could do was smile—especially when I contemplated a comparison of the two.
Moss, who is in the Super Bowl as kind of a ride-along player with San Fran, has for the better part of his career been relatively quiet about matters like this. But I guess with three or four dozen microphones shoved in his face and a bevy of fawning, compliant media clamoring around him, he couldn’t help himself. And it’s not that Moss isn’t one of the best ever, because he is, but where does he stand in that debate? Both Carter and Moss were kind of quiet types in my experiences around Vikingland.
Before home games at the Triple H MetroDome, I would occasionally sit in the players’ lounge. Once in a while, Carter would come in, and when he did, the seriousness of his aura in the room created about a 15-foot force field around him that pretty much said give him his space. He sat up at the bar, maybe exchanged a handful of words with the chap behind it, sipped a Perrier water, and departed. He was always dressed to the nines and looked very businesslike. You would not see him there postgame.
Moss? Never saw him before a game, or after for that matter. He was in and then he was out. I do know that when he was younger he was a very shy and soft-spoken individual. Neither player was ever known for a lot of chatter. But when Carter spoke around the team, it was with a total seriousness that couldn’t be ignored. His desire and will to compete and win were made of steel. I imagine Moss had that as well, but if Carter wore that externally, you couldn’t see it on Moss. It was probably more internal with him.
There were times I wondered if Randy also had a hard time verbalizing his thoughts to others, leading him to appear publicly to have a polarizing sort of personality.
The comparison? Carter was focused on every single play—he was the workman, the journeyman that Moss wasn’t and isn’t. Carter was an excellent short to mid-range receiver while Moss may have been the best deep threat in the history of the game.
If Carter was the carpenter busily pounding nails into the house of his career, Moss was the tinkerer, working on his when the urge struck him. One thing is for sure: if Moss had Carter’s dedication and commitment, he would be so far out in front of the rest career-wise that the others would need binoculars to get a glimpse of him. He had that much talent. Best ever? Could have been….
CONGRATS TO THE VIKES’ ADRIAN PETERSON! Today at the site of the Super Bowl in New Orleans, it was announced that the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson is the league MVP for the 2012 season. A-Pete put up a fabulous season after a devastating injury and is now being acknowledged for it. Peyton Manning got the comeback POTY award, and really, these awards could have easily been flip-flopped between the two players. Both were coming back from tough luck injuries and both put up outstanding seasons….
WE ARE NOW A COUPLE of weeks into the short version NHL season, and I am going to put forth my first NHL power rank of the season based on what we have seen thus far:
1. Tampa Bay: who can outscore them?
2. San Jose: left for dead last year, roared out of hockey grave.
3. St. Louis: can score and defend.
4. Ottawa: how far can they ride G Craig Anderson?
5. Montreal: new “old” coach, promising start.
6. Chicago: strong core group, better depth.
7. Pittsburgh: Crosby, Malkin fine, Fleury not?
8. Boston: rolling along fine until meeting up with Buff and Big John Scott.
9. NY Isles: drafting in top three every year does eventually payoff?
10. Anaheim: strong offensive output and enough “D” to win.
11. Vancouver: rough start, game starting to come back.
12. Phoenix: tough start, too, starting to turn around.
13. Edmonton: see #9 NY Isles, plus young Russian named Yakupov.
14. Colorado: missing three of top six, coming on.
15. New Jersey: weren’t supposed to be good, but are.
16. Minnesota: big two signing not the end of needs for this club.
17. Detroit: avenge home opener beat down by STL then lose to BlueJacks.
18. Toronto: hot and cold, Kessel not scoring yet.
19. NY Rangers: all kinds of probs early, Torts explosion nearing?
20. LA Kings: defending champs looking too satisfied.
21. Carolina: G Ward off to tough start thus far.
22. Buffalo: F Vanek meteor hot, rest of club up and down.
23. Philly: good offense one night, good defense the next.
24. Dallas: inconsistent scoring, Jagr wins shootout Friday.
25. Calgary: club hanging on too long with aging stars?
26. Nashville: need more scoring to win.
27. Winnipeg: inconsistent scoring and “D.”
28. Washington: can club send Ovie back to KHL?
29. Columbus: showing glimpses, should move upward.
30. Florida: 2-5, no road wins. Ouch.
MFAN EXTRA: BALTIMORE HAS BEATEN SAN FRAN IN THE SUPER BOWL 34-31; THE MFAN ENDS UP POSTSEASON PICKS AT 5-6. OUCH!
OVER & OUT!
Marc Elliott is a freelance sports opinion writer who splits time between his hometown in Illinois and Minnesota. Elliott grew up in the Twin Cities with many of his childhood neighbors working or playing for the Vikings and Twins. He participated in baseball, football and hockey before settling on hockey as his own number one sport. Elliott wrote “The Masked Fan Speaks” column for the Lake County News Chronicle for ten years and was a prominent guest on the former “All Sports” WDSM 710AM in Duluth.