Randy Moss handled the first question about his past smoothly Sunday during his first news conference with the Minnesota Vikings. Coach Dennis Green made sure there wasn't a second question.
Green interrupted quickly to make sure Moss didn't begin his Vikings career talking more about his troubled past than about what the Vikings hope will be a bright future."Look, what we try to emphasize a great deal, and Randy and I talked about that along with everybody else, we focused on the future," Green snapped. "From this point on it's going to be Randy Moss' day, believe me. Because what he does is play football.
"We think he is going to do a great job for us on the field and off the field."
That provided a glimpse of how the Vikings plan to handle the newest member of their talented receiving corps. They didn't dwell on his past when they took him with the 21st pick in Saturday's first round, and they won't let anyone else dwell on it, either.
They even tried to send a message to Moss with the way they picked him, using only about one minute of their allotted 15 minutes during the first round.
"We wanted them to understand our feelings on Randy Moss," Green said.
As many as 16 other teams passed up the chance because of a past that includes two arrests, a probation violation and a one-month jail term. But all the Vikings saw was a 6-foot-5 receiver who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds and caught 53 touchdowns at Marshall the last two seasons.
They compare him to Detroit star Herman Moore, but are quick to point out that Moore lacks Moss' speed.
"This is one of the fastest players in the draft, regardless of position," Green said.
Said Moss: "I think I have the style of Herman Moore, but I don't really compare my speed to anyone. I just think I'm just my own type of player that's going to establish my name in the NFL."
Along with doubting his ability to stay out of trouble in the future, critics also say Moss has trouble getting off the line of scrimmage against physical cornerbacks and doesn't like to catch passes over the middle.
The Vikings just shrug.
"He is just such a dynamic player," said offensive coordinator Brian Billick. "You hear so much talk about what he can and can't do physically. I think that's just a lot of people trying to convince themselves because of the off-field things."
Moss seemed to get a bumpy start to his NFL career, skipping a prearranged news conference Saturday in Huntington, W.Va., where he watched the first round. That was reminiscent of his absence at the news conference when it was announced he would enter the draft early, and Moss tried to put a positive spin on that Sunday.
"I really wouldn't call it skipping," he said. "I think I was more tired, relaxed and excited. So I just went home. If you call that skipping a press conference, then that's what I did."
Moss has been poised and humble in interviews since the Vikings drafted him. He appears eager to make a good impression and continue leaving his past behind him.
"All this hype and hoopla about where Randy Moss would go; now I'm just ready to concentrate on football," Moss said. "That is what I really do best."