Lance Johnstone was surrounded by media people following the Vikings 24-13 loss to Carolina and asked what seemed like a simple enough question -- what happened that got Todd Steussie to get whistled for a 15-yard personal foul? The answer was a little surprising.
Johnstone, who was hit from behind by Steussie, let his feelings be known, telling VU and the other assembled wags, "He's just dirty. He does it all the time. I don't know why they don't fine him. It's ridiculous."
Johnstone said what Steussie did was "a malicious attack" from behind and wants the NFL to review the film of the incident.
For his part, Steussie laughed off the incident, saying he thought it came before the whistle and isn't concerned about Johnstone's comments.
* The Vikings were without a healthy Cris Carter and Randy Moss late in the game. Carter, who suffered a thigh contusion early in the third quarter, played sparingly after halftime, despite catching the go-ahead touchdown. Moss, meanwhile, injured his right ankle and was off the field when the Vikings had their infamous pylon-fumble-reversal.
* On the topic of the officials, it was Twilight Zone time with the refs yesterday. To begin with, the call on Culpepper's fumble at the end of the game was just the type of call that the regular officials would not have overturned because of the stiuplation of "irrefutable evidence." However, the replacement refs don't have to concern themselves with such matters, so the call was overturned, as if they were looking for a JFK shooter on the grassy knoll instead of looking at the intent of the instant replay rule.
* The officials also are under a bizarre media plan as well. With the league attempting to deflect any criticism about the substandard refs, who seemed to let fights in the pile go on play after play, attempts to talk to the refs was like interviewing someone through an interpreter. Questions would be asked of the referee, he would look over at a league official and get a nod before answering questions. It was too bad there wasn't a TV camera around. It would have been the most interesting video interview footage since Elian Gonzalez and his "spontaneous" tape.
* Carter's touchdown was the 125th of his career, tying him for fifth on the all-time list with former Bears great Walter Payton.
* Word out of the Carolina media types is that Tim Biakabutuka may have lost his job as the starter to Nick Goings after his critical end zone fumble Sunday.
* The blocked extra point against Gary Anderson broke a streak of 236 straight extra points without a miss, including all 151 as a Viking.
* In other injury news, the training staff is going to examine rib injuries suffered by S Orlando Thomas and LB Patrick Chukwurah. More information will be available today.
* The Vikings have aleady been installed as six-point underdogs for next Monday's game at Baltimore.
Johnstone Blasts Steussie
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