Yahoo! Sports - NFL - Minnesota Vikings News
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The Vikings took a big step toward their first playoff berth in four years - with late help from the Lions.
Detroit botched an extra-point kick with 8 seconds left that would've tied the game, allowing Minnesota to seal a 28-27 win Sunday.
The Lions went 80 yards in 1:29 to pull within a point on Joey Harrington's second touchdown pass to Roy Williams. Then, Don Muhlbach's snap bounced to holder Nick Harris, who was tackled before he could get the football spotted for kicker Jason Hanson.
Randy Moss recovered the onside kick for the Vikings (8-6).
Despite losing five of their previous seven games, Minnesota can win the NFC North with a victory Friday at home over Green Bay and at Washington.
In the awful NFC, Minnesota could even be a wild-card team without another win.
The Lions (5-9) officially fell out of the postseason race with their seventh loss in eight games, a heartbreaker they'll be thinking about for a long time.
Daunte Culpepper, who was 25-of-35 for 404 yards, threw three touchdown passes and Moe Williams scored the go-ahead TD on an 11-yard run with 1:37 left.
Nate Burleson, who had five receptions for 134 yards, caught a career-high two TDs. Moss and Culpepper hooked up for the longest play of their careers, an 84-yard TD, and Moss finished with four catches for 102 yards.
Harrington was 25-of-44 for a career-high 361 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Williams, in and out of the game with a hip injury, had seven receptions for 104 yards and scored for the first time in almost two months. Kevin Jones was held to 79 yards and a TD after running for more than 150 yards the previous two games.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle Seahawks dropped the Vikings to 7-6 with a 27-23 victory at the Metrodome. Hasselbeck threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns to give the Seahawks their seventh win of the season and an edge in the playoff race.
The Minnesota Vikings opened the game with a successful drive led by running back Onterrio Smith. Smith picked up 32 yards on five carries. Kicker Morten Andersen capped the drive off when he connected on a 48-yard field goal. Andersen was given a chance at the field goal after the Seahawks were flagged for having 12 men on the field. The Vikings moved 45 yards on eight plays and took 4:18 off the clock.
Hasselbeck came out hot connecting on his first three passes to take the Seahawks into Vikings territory. Hasselbeck went three of four passing on the drive picking up 37 yards. The Seahawks' drive stalled and kicker Josh Brown pulled a 38-yard field goal wide left giving the ball back to Minnesota.
Smith produced on the Vikings' second drive of the game as well. He rumbled into the endzone from five yards out finishing a 72-yard drive for Minnesota. The Vikings took 3:23 off the play clock with six plays. Andersen hit the PAT and Minnesota grabbed a 10-0 lead with 3:42 remaining in the first.
Hasselbeck remained hot on Seattle's second possession. He led the Seahawks on an 80-yard drive finished with a 35-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Bobby Engram. Hasselbeck picked up 58 yards threw the air including the 35-yard touchdown pass to Engram. The Seahawks moved quickly downfield covering 80 yards on six plays taking 2:30 off the clock.
Following a three and out possession by the Vikings, Seattle stormed down field to take the lead. Running back Shaun Alexander scored on a 12-yard pass reception from Hasselbeck. The play that pushed the Seahawks into scoring position was a 36-yard catch by tight end Ryan Hannam. Hannam was running alone in the left flats, pulled in the reception and set Seattle up for the score. Hasselbeck led the offense on a 76-yard drive in only six plays.
Minnesota answered Alexander's touchdown but could only muster a 32-yard field goal to pull within one point of Seattle, 14-13. The drive moved 61 yards in five plays. The bulk of the yards came when Culpepper found wide receiver Randy Moss over the middle for a gain of 54 yards. Andersen split the uprights with 9:48 remaining in the second quarter.
Minnesota's cornerback Brian Williams intercepted Hasselbeck on Seattle's first play following Andersen's kick.
Culpepper and Moss took advantage of Williams' interception when they hooked up to give Minnesota a 20-14 lead. The Vikings took ten plays to move 49 yards. Culpepper found Moss in the left corner of the endzone from three yards out.
Seattle took no time to regain the lead. Hasselbeck found a wide open Darrell Jackson in the corner of the endzone from 19 yards out. The Seahawks moved 60 yards in just 2:01. Jackson scored with 3:05 remaining in the first half.
Safety Brian Russell recorded his first interception of the season when he jumped in front of a Hasselbeck pass to open the third quarter. Russell returned the pick 41 yards to the Seahawks 14 to set up a 31-yard Andersen field goal. Andersen's kick gave the Vikings an early second half lead, 23-21.
The Seahawks jumped in front 24-23 when Brown split the uprights from 33 yards out. Hasselbeck moved Seattle 60 yards on nine plays and took 5:16 off the clock. Brown's field goal was good with 6:42 remaining in the third quarter.
Following a slow drive by Minnesota's offense, Vikings' defensive tackle Kevin Williams recorded his 10th sack of the season when he dropped Hasselbeck for a nine yard loss on third and four to force a punt.
Minnesota went three and out after Williams' sack and quickly gave the ball back to Seattle.
The Vikings stopped a productive Seahawks' drive in their own territory with another sack. Linebacker Chris Claiborne sacked Hasselbeck for a loss of three on third and seven. The sack pushed the Hawks out of field goal range and they were forced to punt.
Minnesota committed its first turnover of the game with 6:35 remaining on a bad hand-off exchange between Culpepper and Smith. The turnover was costly giving Seattle the ball at the Minnesota 26. Six plays following the turnover Brown connected on a 28-yard field goal to push Seattle's lead to four, 27-23.
The Vikings had two opportunities to jump ahead of Seattle and steal the win. The first ended when Moss was intercepted by Seahawks' safety Michael Boulware in the red zone. Moss was running the reverse pass and tried to fit the ball in the corner of the endzone but Boulware made an impressive interception to end the drive.
Minnesota's second opportunity came with under a minute to go in the game. Culpepper connected on three straight passes to bring the Vikings to the Seattle 28. An off sides penalty on the Seahawks pushed the Vikings to the 25. On the last play of the game, Culpepper rolled to his right, avoided a sack and was able to get the ball to the back of the endzone. The ball was tipped and tight end Jermaine Wiggins saw it bounce off his hands.
The Vikings travel to Detroit next Sunday to take on the Lions in an NFC North game.
Monday, November 29, 2004
For every playoff team there comes a game that people will later define as "the turning point." It is a game where a certain player stepped up, a seemingly very pivotal play was made, or it was a game that revealed the character for the rest of the season that followed it. On Sunday, against the Jaguars, the Vikings had that game.
It will be labeled as such for Minnesota for a couple of reasons; among them the way that several players either stepped up for the first time or for a couple, the fact that they did so again. For the players who did it the first big time this season, like Kenechi Udeze, the "Adams," and Spencer Johnson, this game should serve as a springboard for the rest of the season to come. For other players who brought their "A" games like Antoine Winfield, Nate Burelson, and Jermaine Wiggins, it was just another day at the office.
On Sunday there were the "Adams" — Goldberg and Haayer - who did a phenomenal job of playing their role very well. The fact that it took until now for these offensive lineman to sport their wears is a good thing. That isn't to say that they were incapable of their level of play on Sunday, rather the players they were substituting for are simply put—very good and very experienced. Toss in yet another impressive performance by Cory Withrow in the absence of Matt Birk and the patchwork quilt known as the Vikings line exceeded any expectations that could have been set for them. Having lost such quality players as Birk, Mike Rosenthal, and Dave Dixon along with Rosenthal's more-than-adequate replacement in Nat Dorsey and its just remarkable that the squad has been left with enough players to field the position. The day's rushing total of 112 yards was nothing to get overly excited about, but considering the adjustments that had to be made both coming into the week as well as on the fly on Sunday made it more admirable.
With the offensive line often being looked at as one unit rather than five individual players, at least some credit should be given to this year's two mainstays: Bryant McKinnie and Chris Liwienski. While these two have both had their games this year, they have been there for every play. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper probably deserves some praise as well for making the adjustments that come along with a line that is trying to get used to working together.
Two defensive linemen also made their presence particularly known on Sunday, too. Both Udeze and Johnson showed that they might have gotten over some of the rookie mistakes and playing time hurdles to prove their reliability. The obvious play to point to was Udeze's forced fumble that fellow lineman, Kevin Williams, scooped up to slam the door shut in the fourth quarter, but in addition to that he regularly was putting pressure on Leftwich. Meanwhile, Johnson saw increased playing time in the absence of Chris Hovan and made the most of it as well. I have heard all season long that several people who get to view Johnson with more day-to-day regularity than myself say that he has impressed. As an undrafted free agent just trying to keep his head above water, Johnson seems to play with both a handsome amount of skill and confidence.
Then there were the guys who just kept on keeping on against the Jags. I know I have sang these three players' praises often, but Burleson, Wiggins, and Winfield continue to surpass my expectations. In a game where Vikings superstar, Randy Moss, returned to the starting lineup, these two guys made sure that they were not going to just take a back seat in the offense. By Wiggins and Burleson continuing their high level of play they made sure that all of the pressure would not immediately be put onto the returning starter.
These two players maximized their opportunities and playing time to give Culpepper and the coaching staff some very legitimate options. Not only that, but their emergence demands opposing coaches' preparation time and that means less time that can be spent on stopping Moss and the rest of the offense. Wiggins' ability to get open and Burleson's near-perfect blocking were keys on Sunday.
Finally, Winfield did what he does best: cover and tackle. I had an interesting conversation before the game on Sunday with one Vikings guru. I said that Winfield is in that 8th-9th best all-around corner in the league-range. The guru placed him just outside of the top 10. Regardless, he's good. Toss in yet another nice special teams tackle with his stop of Jermaine Lewis following the Williams' touchdown and you've got just another day at the office for this guy.
Yes, Sunday will again be looked at as "the game" that went on to define the rest of the season that is to follow. The Vikings should be the favored team in each of their last five games. I am not going to say that the Vikings run the table to close out the season 7-0 (with their previous two victories), but 4-2 or better should be the expectation.
Monday, November 08, 2004
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings downgraded four players on their injury report Sunday, declaring wide receiver Randy Moss, linebacker Raonall Smith and linebacker Chris Claiborne out for Monday night's game at Indianapolis.
Running back Mewelde Moore was also bumped to doubtful for the matchup with the Colts. None of the four was expected to play anyway, so the announcement was merely a formality.
Moss, who will miss the first game of his NFL career, has a strained right hamstring. He did not make the trip to Indianapolis.
Smith, who would've started in Claiborne's spot, is recovering from a concussion. Claiborne is bothered by a strained left calf, and Moore has been slow to recover from a sprained right ankle.
Moss was hurt shortly before halftime of the Vikings' game at New Orleans on Oct. 17, and he has played just 11 snaps over the last 10 quarters -- with zero catches
Monday, October 18, 2004
Daunte Culpepper lost his top receiver, but did not miss a step in setting an NFL record.
Culpepper threw five touchdown passes to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 38-31 victory over the New Orleans Saints. He did it without having Randy Moss for the second half.
It was the third time this season Culpepper threw five TD passes in a game, an NFL record.
Culpepper, despite pressure from the Saints' defense, completed 26 of 37 passes for 425 yards. He threw two interceptions and was sacked twice.
The Vikings had 605 yards of offense.
Rookie running back Mewelde Moore had another big game for Minnesota, rushing for 109 yards and catching seven passes for 78 yards.
Moss, who leads the NFL in TDs receiving, injured his hamstring in the second quarter. He had two receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. It was the 10th consecutive game in which Moss had a touchdown reception.
Nate Burleson had six receptions for 134 yards for Minnesota (4-1).
Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks completed 22 of 38 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
Deuce McAllister ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
A pass interference call against cornerback Ashley Ambrose set up the Vikings' first touchdown, giving them a first down on the 1-yard line. On the next play Culpepper hit Jermaine Wiggins for the touchdown.
Minnesota, the only NFL team without an interception before the game, prevented a New Orleans touchdown with its first pickoff. Antoine Winfield stepped in front of Ernie Conwell, grabbed the ball and returned it 56 yards.
Three plays later, Culpepper hit Moss in the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown, making it 14-0 less than a minute into the second quarter. But Culpepper fumbled a snap, which rolled downfield until Saints safety Jay Bellamy finally got the ball. He lateraled to Ambrose, who returned it 68 yards to set up New Orleans' first score, a 2-yard run by McAllister that made it 14-7.
Marcus Robinson caught a 16-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings a 21-7 lead. But the Saints put together their best drive of the half, going 73 yards in four plays, with Brooks connecting with Joe Horn for a 7-yard touchdown.
The Vikings opened the second half with Culpepper capping a 66-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Wiggins for a 28-14 lead.
The Saints then used some trickery. On fourth-and-3 on their 28, they lined up in punt formation, then snapped the ball to blocking back Fred McAfee, who scampered 53 yards to the Minnesota 19. McAllister finished it off with a 1-yard run, making it 28-21.
A 39-yard field goal by Morten Andersen stretched the Vikings' lead to 31-21 at the end of the third quarter. John Carney kicked a 45-yarder to pull New Orleans to 31-24 early in the fourth period.
Culpepper, who lead the NFL with a 126.0 passer rating going into the game, threw his fifth touchdown pass of the night to Robinson, making it 38-24.
Brooks then scrambled 5 yards for a touchdown to pull the Saints within 38-31 with 2:51 left. But Minnesota kept the ball the rest of the way.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Minnesota Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the 2nd time this season and the 5th time in his career after throwing for 360 yards and 2 TDs in the Vikings' 27-22 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Culpepper won the award for Week 1 when he threw for a career-high 5 TD passes in the season opener vs. Dallas (9/12)..
Culpepper completed 19-30 passes for 360 yards and 2 TDs vs. Chicago. He did not throw an interception and posted a QB rating of 127.1.
Culpepper is the top-ranked passer in the NFL with a 124.8 rating. He has completed 73-100 passes on the season for 945 yards and 8 TDs with only 1 interception
Thursday, September 09, 2004
On a side note, Gary Anderson was Viking as well when he set the record.
Friday, September 03, 2004
With final rosters needing to be cut to 53 players by Sunday, the Vikings face some tough decisions as to who will stay and who will go.yahoosports.com
The Vikings, like the other 31 teams in the NFL, need to get their roster trimmed to 53 players by Sunday. While some of the cuts will be easy to make, there are others that will be much more difficult. The popular belief is that wide receiver Ben Nelson , who had a strong training camp, has earned a roster spot, but that is likely to happen only if the Vikes keep six wide receivers -- or the unlikely event that Nelson surpasses Keenan Howry. Similar questions exist on offensive line and in the secondary, where the Vikings may want to keep an extra player -- which would likely come out of the wide receiver numbers.
Any way you look at it, the numbers are going to be difficult to crunch and some tough cuts are going to have to be made by Mike Tice and his staff.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Daunte Culpepper went 20-for-27 for 204 yards and a touchdown, and the Vikings overcame their struggles to finish off drives, beating the San Francisco 49ers 23-10 in a preseason game Friday night. The Vikings outgained San Francisco 326-61 in total yards in the first half and took a 16-0 lead into halftime before allowing the 49ers to slowly close the gap.
After rookie Mewelde Moore returned the opening kickoff 43 yards, Culpepper completed three passes totaling 46 yards to Nate Burleson. The final one, a 17-yarder to Burleson in the end zone, put the Vikings up 7-0 two minutes in. Burleson, who took the No. 2 receiver spot this week when Marcus Robinson tweaked his hamstring, finished with five catches for 89 yards. On their next possession, Culpepper again shredded San Francisco's secondary, throwing for 55 yards, including a 26-yard TD to Kelly Campbell.
Friday, August 27, 2004
``That's the plan,'' Tice said. ``But it's not etched in stone.''
A bold plan, considering the Vikings' own bout with the injury bug.
Minnesota is already without one of its starting cornerbacks (Brian Williams), its originally-projected No. 2 receiver (Marcus Robinson) and its starting Pro Bowl center (Matt Birk). But, unlike his counterpart, Tice has some depth to rely on. Veteran Ken Irvin will likely take Williams' spot in the secondary, reliable youngster Nate Burleson and speedster Kelly Campbell will line up with Randy Moss in the three-receiver set, and Cory Withrow continues to fill in for Birk.
``I'm very confident in our depth,'' Tice said.
Tice said he'll give rookie running back Mewelde Moore some time with the first unit. Moore, a hard runner who's shown flashes in Minnesota's first two exhibition games, could be counted on more during the regular season if Onterrio Smith's appeal to a four-game suspension for reportedly violating the NFL's substance abuse policy doesn't hold up.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but last night it was the Land of 10,000 Fans Willing to Spend $12 To Watch a Scrimmage.
It was unclear how many fans were going to show up for the team's intrasquad scrimmage at the National Sports Center in Blaine. But once they started coming, it didn't stop. In all 10,000 people attended.
For the record, the defense won the scrimmage again despite being badly undermanned at the cornerback spot by a 31-25 score.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
With the promise of big things to come this season, the Vikings broke camp at Mankato this morning -- returning to Minneapolis for a flight to Atlanta.
Sounding more like a warden than a coach, Mike Tice discussed the end of the Mankato leg of the team's training camp by keeping the team in place.
When asked about the team's potential move back to Minneapolis Wednesday for a flight out to Atlanta today, Tice said the players were "under lockdown" for the night and that putting them up in a hotel in Minneapolis Wednesday night "didn't sound like the best idea."
Perhaps Tice knows his team better than most, but leaving Mankato is always the sign of the next level of preparation for the season. After this weekend, the first series of cuts will be made -- effectively ending the careers of several players -- making Mankato the last happy memory many of them will have.
The Vikings will continue to maintain a training camp practice schedule, but it will shift to the team's headquarters at Winter Park.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Date Opponent Time/Result
Aug. 14 Arizona 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 20 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 27 San Francisco 8:00 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Seattle 9:00 p.m.
Date Opponent Result
Sept. 12 Dallas 4:15 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Philadelphia 9:00 p.m.
Sept. 26 Chicago 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 3 Open Date
Oct. 10 at Houston 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 17 at New Orleans 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 Tennessee 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 31 New York Giants 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 8 at Indianapolis 9:00 p.m.
Nov. 14 at Green Bay 4:15 p.m.
Nov. 21 Detroit 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 28 Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 5 at Chicago 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 12 Seattle 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 19 at Detroit 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 24 Green Bay 3:00 p.m.
Jan. 2 at Washington 1:00 p.m.
All times are Eastern