Big-Play Saturday

Long gains were the play of the day as the Vikings offense took advantage of a heavily depleted secondary in the team's intrasquad scrimmage. Plus, the kickers showed their stuff in one of the biggest battles of camp.

The Minnesota Vikings offense looked sharp at Saturday's training camp scrimmage at Minnesota State, taking advantage of a depleted defensive backfield.

"We had our mind set to run the ball well, be efficient and don't turn the ball over," quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "We did all right."

Cornerbacks Denard Walker, Brian Williams, Eric Kelly and Horace Willis all were held out of the scrimmage with minor leg injuries, and Willie Miles was injured early.

"We cut back some of the things we wanted to do," coach Mike Tice said. "We had to be smart about it."

Going against reserve cornerbacks, the Vikings' first-string offense looked good, with Culpepper and Randy Moss hooking up on a 50-yard pass on the second play. Culpepper also threw a 50-yard pass to D'Wayne Bates, and backup running back Larry Ned cracked a 50-yard run.

In a red zone drill, Moss made a fingertip catch just before the ball hit the ground in the end zone.

"Randy is a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal receiver," Culpepper said. "We have to make sure we put him in position to make big plays."

The defense did have its moments. Rookie linebacker E.J. Henderson made an interception, and Chris Hovan and Kevin Williams each made a sack.

But the offense won the scrimmage.

"We wanted to have a very productive day, and we were able to do that," Tice said.

* In the kicking competition, Aaron Elling was 2-for-3, Todd France was 1-for-3, and Hayden Epstein was 4-for-6. Each made one from 56 yards, aided by about a 15 m.p.h. wind.
* The players have Saturday night off and don't have to report back to Mankato until Sunday night. "These guys deserve a rest," Tice said.

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