With all the misery that comes with being fan of the Minnesota Vikings, there have been some good seasons and some phenomenal players over the years. In this series I am going to highlight the top 10 seasons from wide receivers, quarterbacks, and finally, running backs.
First up: wide receivers. The vikings have had an onslaught of talented receivers and here are my top ten seasons.
10. Randy Moss (2002):
106 receptions, 1347 yards, 7 touchdowns, 12.7 yards per reception, 84.2 yards per game and a 57.3% catch rate.
In 2002 Randy Moss, under new head coach Mike Tice, experienced some growing pains. Coach Tice introduced the Randy Ratio meaning that of all passes thrown in a game, 40 percent had to be thrown to Moss. In games that the Randy Ratio was achieved the vikings went 4-1, when it was not met they were 1-10. This had to do with opposing defenses creating schemes to limit Moss. The ratio was scrapped after the Vikings finished the season with a record of 6-10.
9. Jake Reed (1996)
72 receptions, 1320 yards, 7 touchdowns, 18.3 yards per reception, 82.5 yards per game and a 57.1% catch rate
Jake Reed is a forgotten Viking great, however it would be a crime not to include Reed’s legendary 1996 season. Lining up next to Cris Carter, the combination of Reed and Carter formed one of the NFL’s best duos. This season stood out to me the most because of his per reception average and total yards.
8. Justin Jefferson (2020)
88 receptions, 1400 yards, 7 touchdowns, 15.9 yards per reception, 87.5 yards per game and a 70.4% catch rate
In Jefferson’s rookie season he dominated the league and broke nearly every rookie record. Going into the draft many people questioned his ability to play outside of the slot and seemed to doubt his natural ability. He shut up the critics instantly and delivered a season for the record books.
7. Adam Thielen (2018)
113 receptions, 1373 yards, 9 touchdowns, 12.2 yards per reception, 85.9 yards per game and a 73.9% catch rate
Coming off his best season in 2017 and the Vikings finishing 13-3 one game away from the super bowl expectations were high. With newly acquired QB Kirk Cousins, Thielen didn’t miss a step. He came out the gates strong and never slowed down, racking up his second straight 1,000 yard season. He tied Calvin Johnson’s record of most consecutive games with 100+ yards, broke the record for most consecutive 100+ yard games to start a season, and he ranked 33rd in the top 100 players in the NFL following this season.
6. Randy Moss (1999)
80 receptions, 1413 yards, 11 touchdowns, 17.7 yards per reception, 88.3 yards per game and a 58.4% catch rate
Moss followed up his rookie season with another impressive stat line and helped lead the Vikings to a divisional playoff game. He was selected to his second straight Pro Bowl where he dominated again. This season is infamously known for Randy squirting water at a ref. This is just one of the many great Moss seasons on this list.
5. Randy Moss (2000)
77 receptions, 1437 yards, 11 touchdowns, 17.7 yards per reception, 89.8 yards per game and a 59.7% catch rate
Moss had two years under his belt by now and with high expectations the pressure was on. He racked up incredible yardage and for a second year in a row he torched the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. This season made Moss the fastest player to reach 3000 yards and 45 touchdowns. He was named to his third straight pro-bowl and received his second selection to the all-pro team.
4. Cris Carter (1995)
122 receptions, 1371 yards, 17 touchdowns, 11.2 yards per reception, 85.7 yards per game and a 61.9% catch rate
This season was something special with Carter posting the best statistical season of his career. Carter led the league in touchdowns and earned all-pro second-team honors. His 122 catches are still good for the most in Minnesota Vikings history.
3.Randy Moss (1998)
69 receptions, 1313 yards, 17 touchdowns, 19 yards per reception 82.1 yards per game and a 55.6% catch rate
By looking at the stats this season may not seem as impressive as the rest but you have to look deeper. Moss managed to put up 1300 yards on only 69 catches, notching 17 touchdowns as well. All as a rookie, 19 yards per reception is the best of his career. Moss had one of the most iconic Thanksgiving games to date recording 3 catches for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns. Moss finished the season winning rookie of the year. This season changed everything. Moss changed the way teams had to play coverage and how they game planned for wide receivers. Even though his yards and catches don’t stack up he changed the game as a rookie.
2. Justin Jefferson (2021)
108 receptions, 1616 yards, 10 touchdowns, 15.0 yards per reception, 95.1 yards per game and a 64.7% catch rate
Coming into his second year Jefferson had a tough task in front of him: just perform exactly like the year before. And, damn, did he ever do that, and more. Finishing second in the NFL yards, topping his previous year by 200 yards and 3 more touchdowns to go along with 20 additional catches, Jefferson led the vikings offense and as a second year player solidified himself as a bonafide superstar. This would be the greatest single season from a receiver in Vikings history if not for someone slightly familiar by now.
1. Randy Moss (2003)
111 receptions, 1632 yards, 17 touchdowns, 14.7 yards per reception, 102 yards per game and a 64.5% catch rate
In 2003, Moss became the second receiver ever to play more than 12 games and average over 100 yards a game and one touchdown a game. Moss set personal bests in almost every category, absolutely tearing up the league and adding onto what was already a hall of fame career. The team success was not there but the personal success was: he finished with a career best 1632 yards and was selected to the all-pro first-team.