A Q&A with Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper

'You know if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and I feel the same way about the challenge¦I'm up for it.' <BR><BR>

Q: Is this the best you've felt since being in the NFL?

A: I would have to say so. As far as being in rhythm and just going out and having fun and playing winning football, I would have to say yes.

Q: Why have you been able to cut down on so many of the mistakes of the past?

A: Well, it's just me realizing that I don't have to go out and make big plays all of the time. I let it happen, let it come to me and when it's there I'm very opportunistic and try to make a play, but when it's not there, I have to be smart and just take the ball down and sometimes throw it away. Sometimes a thrown away ball can be one of the best plays of the game because you didn't give the other team anything and you didn't put yourself in a bad position.

Q: Are you feeling more comfortable too; you've been with the same offensive coordinator now for a while, is there just a comfort level that you've reached this year?

A: Absolutely. This is the third year that I'm working with Coach Linehan and he is a great offensive mind and I love working with him and we're on the same page. We think the same out there on the field, and I know what he's thinking and he knows what I'm expecting and it's just clicking. It's clicking good, and he's a big reason why this offense is where it is, because his system and the way he coaches and teaches, it is really effective.

Q: Strahan likes to talk about chasing you down with your size and your speed, it's kind of like a challenge for him; what is it like for you when Strahan is coming after you in the pocket?

A: Well, I just have faith that my guy is going to do a good enough job to keep him blocked. I know he is one of the best rushers in the league, if not the best. I feel the same way. You know it's a great challenge, he's one of the best there is in the league and I get fired up to go against the best. You know if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and I feel the same way about the challenge¦I'm up for it.

Q: Is there any extra sense of motivation with the Giants since they've beaten you the last two times up there?

A: I think we have a different team now. Our attitude is a little different¦we're a little more mature, and I wouldn't say that there is an added incentive to beat them because of what happened in the past, I think there is an added incentive to beat them because it is our next game. That's our attitude right now. We're not looking backwards, we're not looking forward. We're just worrying about the next week. This week we have the New York Giants and that's our attitude and that's how we're approaching the game.

Q: How different is your offense if Moss is nicked up, gimpy or can't play?

A: We still have the same offense in there. Obviously Randy poses a huge threat to the other teams in the passing game and in the running game because he has been blocking very well down the field, but when he is not out there we still have some other guys who can step up and make plays¦Nate Burleson, Kelly Campbell, Marcus Robinson¦you know the running backs, Mewelde Moore, guys like that¦Michael Bennett is going to be back and then the tight end corps. We feel real good with the other guys stepping up and making plays.

Q: Do you expect Moss to be back in there on Sunday?

A: I expect it. We hope for the best, but it's ultimately up to him. He has to feel good, but he looked good this morning in the walk-thru and he's running around, so we're going to see how it goes. Randy is a gamer and if he is ready, he is going to be out there.


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