Culpepper Key to Win Sunday

The Vikings are looking to turn around their season. No player could control that as much Sunday as QB Daunte Culpepper.

A year ago, Vikings naysayers were saying the team was nuts to let Randall Cunningham and Jeff George go to put the franchise in the hands of Daunte Culpepper.

One year and Pro Bowl later, Cunningham is a caddy in Baltimore and George is one more horrendous outing from backing up (ugh!) Tony Banks as Washington mails in the 2001 season, while Culpepper is coming off a legitimate MVP season.

Granted, that smell Vikes fans whiffed in the Metrodome in the loss to Carolina was Culpepper stinking up the joint, he is going to be the key to getting the Vikings in the "W" column Sunday. All they're asking is for him to repeat what he's done already.

In two games vs. the Bears, Culpepper is 2-0 and much of it is because of his own effort. In those two games, he has thrown for three touchdowns and run in three himself. The Vikings are expecting big things from the offense -- as in early and often -- and Culpepper will be the key component to getting that done. Look for big things and, for you gamblers out there, lay the points.

VU rarely bangs the drum for a promotional campaign -- Vikes-related or otherwise -- but here's one for every Vikings fans or just someone who is hitting the website. Campbell's Soup is offering up to 5 million cans of free soup for food shelves as part of its "Tackling Hunger" campaign. To date, they have less than 200,000 hits, which is where we all come in. All you need to do is go to this website:

You can copy and paste it into your URL, then please pass it along to friends. As of now, the Vikes are second -- behind the Packers for God's sakes -- in the overall team standings. We want to put the Vikes over the top, but, even if we don't, let's forward that address to as many people as we can. The soup will go to hungry families and who need it more than them. Get with it, help us out and click on every day until they tell us we can't.
* A Viking nemesis, Marcus Robinson, is going to start Sunday. After being sidelined with back surgery, he's ready to go. In four games vs. the Vikings, he's averaged more than 100 yards a game and scored three TDs.
* The Bears could be the right team at the right time. The Vikes have won seven of the last eight games vs. Chicago.
* The Vikings haven't started 0-2 in 17 years. The last time was 1984 -- the ill-fated Les Steckel (or as we called it Less Steckel) season as head coach.
* The Vikings made a roster move Thursday, placing LB Mike Crawford on the I.R. from the practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team signed TE Jeff Kostrewa, who was cut during training camp.
* Other than Moe Williams, no player cut by the Vikings since June has been picked up and retained by another NFL team.
* Metal detecting wands are going to be in force when the Vikings return home next week vs. Tampa Bay at all entrance gates to the Metrodome. Fans are urged to expect a half-hour wait to get into the stadium. No coolers, large purses or fanny packs will be allowed. And, thanks to President Bush, no aircraft -- planes, blimps or helicopters -- will be allowed within three miles of any NFL stadium. So much for the Goodyear Blimp, unless we want overhead shots of the Mall of America.

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