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singersp
08-05-2006, 01:18 PM
Published August 05, 2006 01:29 am

Tony Richardson missed out on a chance to see some of his old Kansas City Chiefs teammates when they were in town for a practice with the Vikings Friday night.

Moon’s man

Richardson values encouragement from mentor/former Vikes QB Warren Moon, who’ll be inducted into Hall of Fame today

By Shane Frederick
The Free Press

MANKATO —
Tony Richardson missed out on a chance to see some of his old Kansas City Chiefs teammates when they were in town for a practice with the Vikings Friday night.

But a slightly out-of-the-ordinary night of training camp was replaced with an event Richardson won’t soon forget.

Richardson was excused from camp Friday and today to join his old friend and teammate, Warren Moon, as Moon gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“Warren’s a legend,” said Richardson, a fullback who signed with Minnesota after 11 seasons with in Kansas City. “He’s been a good friend, and he’s been a mentor.”

Moon — a Viking from 1994 through 1996 — will be inducted into the Hall today, along with Troy Aikman, Harry Carson, John Madden, Reggie White and Rayfield Wright.

Richardson, who also will be the Vikings’ team representative in Canton, said he and Moon became friends even before their two seasons together, 1999 and 2000, with the Chiefs.

“Obviously, I’ve built a tremendous relationship with (Moon) since he’s been gone,” Richardson said. “He supports me and encourages me a lot.”

Richardson said Moon’s career — he spent 17 years in the NFL after six in the Canadian Football League — was an inspiration to many players.

Moon spent most of his career with the Houston Oilers and also played in Seattle. He ranks third all-time among NFL quarterbacks in attempts, completions and yards and fourth in touchdown passes.

“The fact that people said, because of color of his skin, there’s no way he could be a quarterback in the National Football League ... and now is in Hall of Fame,” Richardson said. “All those naysayers, I don’t know what they can say now.”

Nobody seems to be naysaying Richardson’s potential with the Vikings this season.

Quarterback Brad Johnson called Richardson, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, “probably one of the most important moves that we made in this offseason.”

Fullback is a key position in the West Coast offense, both as a blocker and as a receiver, and Richardson was signed with that role in mind.

“You’ve got a guy that’s a proven blocker, who’s a proven player,” Johnson said. “There’s some great running backs and some great running teams in Kansas City. His presence is there as a leader; his presence is there as a playmaker and as a blocker. I really enjoy being out there on the field with him.”

Besides blocking for the likes of Chiefs stars Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes, Richardson caught 177 passes in his career, including 58 in 2000 when he also rushed 147 times for 697 yards.

Last season, he only touched the ball 15 times, including nine catches.

“If you look at the stats of the West Coast fullbacks, they don’t really get many carries,” Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “They aren’t handed the ball much, but they get the ball through the air quite often, and (Richardson) has been real productive catching the ball out of the backfield.”

Richardson said he’s looking forward to that role, but that wasn’t the main reason he signed with Minnesota.

“The most important thing to me,” he said, “is building relationships.”

Moon’s man (http://www.mankatofreepress.com/vikingsCamp/local_story_217012916.html)

VikesfaninWis
08-05-2006, 02:11 PM
Richardson will be huge for us this season.. I am so glad that we got this guy instead of the one we were going after in the first place (William Henderson) IMO, we ended getting the better FB.. This whole new team just excites me to the point where all I think about is football..