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Vikings issue No. 84 (again)


FILE - In this Oct. 10, 1999, file photo, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss sits alone as he watches the closing moments of the game with the Chicago Bears in Minneapolis. Moss caught eight passes for 122 yards but no touchdowns for the day. The Bears beat the Vikings 24-22. Randy Moss, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, ranks second in NFL history with 156 career touchdown receptions and fourth with 15,292 career receiving yards.(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia, File)


When the Vikings announced last year that receiver Randy Moss would be added to the team’s Ring of Honor, some believed his number would be retired. It wasn’t.

In fact, it’s never even been unofficially retired. Issued to receiver Aundrae Allison in 2007 and also given to receiver Michael Jenkins and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vikings rested the number for only two seasons after trading Moss to the Raiders in 2005. (Moss wore the number for three weeks in 2010; he was released after being deemed a “programmatic non-fit” by coach Brad Childress, who surely knows a programmatic non-fit when he is one. I mean, sees one.)

For the first time since Moss entered the Hall of Fame, No. 84 has been issued again. This time, it will be worn by rookie second-round tight end Irv Smith.

“I wore 82 in college and my dad wore 82 in the league,” Smith said, according to the team. “I felt like it would be cool to switch it up a bit.”

Smith had to switch it up, unless he planned to try to finagle the number from veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph. And Smith has switched it up right into arguably the one number that hasn’t been retired, but perhaps should be.

The Vikings have retired six numbers: 10 (Fran Tarkenton), 53 (Mick Tinglehoff), 70 (Jim Marshall), 77 (Korey Stringer), 80 (Cris Carter), and 88 (Alan Page).

Moss regarded the issuance of the number to Patterson in 2013 as “disrespectful"; it will be interesting to hear whether Moss has any thoughts on the number being issued again.