Daunte Culpepper feasted on last season's top-ranked defense.
Culpepper passed for a career-high five touchdowns, including a pair to Randy Moss, to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 35-17
victory over the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL season opener.
"Culpepper's a good quarterback," said Bill Parcells afterwards. "We did not get close to him and he converted a bunch of third downs. They're obviously a lot better than we are right now."
It was the first meeting between the teams since Thanksgiving Day 2000, when Moss caught seven passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-15 victory for the Vikings.
A five-time Pro Bowl receiver, Moss was held to four catches for 27 yards. But two of those went for touchdowns of one and three yards as the 6-4 Moss used his size to post defenders in the end zone.
Running back Onterrio Smith turned a short pass into a 63-yard
touchdown. Culpepper also lofted a 43-yard touchdown to Kelly Campbell and connected with Marcus Robinson on a three-yard
Meanwhile, Vinny Testaverde threw for 355 yards in his first start with the Cowboys. The 40-year-old Testaverde signed with
the Cowboys to reunite with his former coach Bill Parcells and took over as the starter when Quincy Carter was surprisingly cut
in training camp.
Keyshawn Johnson, another player who reunited with Parcells and a former teammate of Testaverde's with the New York Jets, caught
nine passes for 111 yards in his Cowboys' debut.
Antonio Bryant had eight catches for 112 yards and Terry Glenn added five receptions for 84 yards, including a 32-yard TD for
The Cowboys also got a surprise performance from reserve running back ReShard Lee.
Lee, appearing in his first NFL regular-season game, was almost solely responsible for Dallas' second touchdown of the day. He returned a kickoff 62 yards and ran four times for 31 yards, includin a 7-yard scamper that cut the Vikings' lead to 21-17 early in the third quarter.
Culpepper would find Moss in the corner of the end zone on a 3-yard rollout just a few minutes later to give the Vikings an 11-point lead.
Culpepper would then hook up with Kelly Campbell on a 43-yard scoring strike to provide the final margin of victory.
The loss is the Cowboys' fifth-consecutive opening-day loss. The last time the Cowboys won their season opener was against the Washington Redskins in 1999 (41-35 in overtime).
Cowboys Fall in Minnesota
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