Green Bay Packers cornerback Al Harris tries to take down Minnesota Vikings receiver Randy Moss during a Jan. 9, 2005, game at Lambeau Field. / File/Press-Gazette
Eight players have caught passes for more than 1,000 yards in their careers against the Packers.
1,357 Elroy Hirsch
1,314 Cris Carter
1,243 Randy Moss
1,220 Raymond Berry
1,101 Jim Phillips
1,067 Jim Benton
1,055 Herman Moore
1,021 Lenny Moore
Like a repressed memory, he has come back.
Randy Moss is again a Viking. Bedecked in purple, gold and white, the mercurial receiver will split out wide against the Packers’ defense Sunday night for the first time in six years.
Rare is the story that fails to describe Moss as mercurial. Rare is the defensive back who can cover the sometimes sullen but always dangerous downfield threat.
Each year from 1998 to 2004, Moss tormented the Packers. He challenged defensive backs from Tyrone Williams to Mike McKenzie to Al Harris.
Moss burned Green Bay like no other team during the first seven years of his career in two areas. Before being traded to the Raiders in 2005, he caught passes for more yards and more touchdowns in the regular season against the Packers than any other team.
It is not surprising then that he compares favorably to any player who has ever put a move on the Green and Gold. His 12 receiving touchdowns are the most by any Packers opponent, and with a good outing in his return to Lambeau Field, Moss could establish the career mark for receiving yards, breaking a record that’s endured for more than half a century.
Elroy (Crazy Legs) Hirsch slashed through secondaries from 1949 to 1957. The Los Angeles Ram caught 67 passes for 1,357 yards and nine scores in the Rams-Packers series.
Moss needs 115 yards to surpass Hirsch. He gained that or more in seven of 13 regular-season starts against the Packers.
Green Bay was introduced to Moss on Oct. 5, 1998, a Monday nightmare if ever there was one. He snagged five passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns that covered 52 and 44 yards.
The rookie was nearly as effective in that year’s rematch. On Nov. 22, Moss hauled in eight receptions for 153 yards and the game’s final score, a 49-yard hookup with quarterback Randall Cunningham.
That was the beginning of a record-setting career.
Moss went on to produce the most 100-yard receiving games (7) of any player to face the Packers. Twenty-three of his catches have stretched 20 or more yards, another record.
Imagine the damage he could have inflicted on Green Bay with his twice-yearly intrusions had he remained in Minnesota. Fortunately for the Packers, he was dealt to the Raiders.
Moss dallied in Oakland for two years before joining the Patriots in 2007. In New England, he again posted impressive totals, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past three years.
Now in his 13th season, Moss has climbed into the top 10 in a number of receiving categories. He has 944 receptions (9th all-time) for 14,740 yards (5th) and 152 touchdowns (2nd).
He’s in a similar position relative to Green Bay. He has 66 catches (tied for 9th best) for 1,243 yards (3rd) and 12 touchdowns (1st).
Moss has been relatively quiet this year with 18 catches for 275 yards and four touchdowns. He hasn’t caught more than five passes or amassed more than 81 yards receiving in any game.
Maybe at age 33 he is beginning to slow down. But the Packers can’t count on that in a rivalry game on national television.
Moss reportedly took plays off as a Raider. He won’t in Green Bay where he celebrated his last reception — a 34-yard score in a 2004 NFC wild-card game — by “mooning” the crowd.
Expect Moss to be on his best behavior, at least when it comes to making plays. He easily could have a big night against an opponent that has struggled to mount a pass rush or cover receivers of lesser note.
If No. 84 does break out big, the Packers might consider engaging in something called motivated forgetting. That’s another expression for repressing memories too painful to confront.
Overall: Green Bay leads 49-47-1.
At Lambeau Field: Vikings lead 18-15-1.
Packers: Aaron Rodgers (20-18 overall; 1-3 vs. Minnesota).
Vikings: Brett Favre (183-107; 2-0 vs. Green Bay).
Once a Viking, now a Packer
Defensive end Michael Montgomery was with the Vikings in the preseason.
Once a Packer, now a Viking
Quarterback Brett Favre (1992-2007), kicker Ryan Longwell (1997-2005) and cornerback Frank Walker (2007) are former Packers.
Eric Goska is a Press-Gazette correspondent, a Packers historian and the author of “Green Bay Packers: A Measure of Greatness,” a statistical history of the Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.