Pressure on Culpepper Sunday

Perhaps no player holds the key to whether the Vikings win or lose Sunday at Lambeau Field more than Daunte Culpepper. How he performs Sunday will likely be the telling factor to the Vikings starting 2003 1-0 or 0-1.

Last year, Daunte Culpepper was his own worst enemy. Not only did he lead NFL QBs by a wide margin in turnovers, the Randy Ratio debacle led to poor decision-making all the way around.

With a new year and a new veteran backup QB in Gus Frerotte calling in the offensive plays to Culpepper, a change has already been seen. Last year, where Culpepper would have forced a pass into coverage or remained in the pocket too long waiting for a receiver to get open, he has thrown away more passes than ever before -- even in cameo preseason appearances. Culpepper has embraced the philosophy of coming back for another play instead of trying for a high-risk, high-reward turn.

The result has been a much more efficient Vikings offense and four games for Culpepper without a turnover. If he can go through Sunday's game without a turnover, the Vikings are going to be very hard to beat -- even at Lambeau.

SATURDAY NOTES
* This will the fifth time the Vikings have opened a season at Green Bay. The last time was in 1994 when Warren Moon made his Vikings QB debut. The Vikes lost that game 16-10. The other games were a 23-20 overtime win in 1992, a 32-17 win in 1974 and a 34-7 loss in 1962.
* The Vikings will have to contain Packers RB Ahman Green. In games where he has rushed for 100 or more yards, the Packers are a perfect 14-0.
* Culpepper is very close to moving up in the team's all-time record books and could achieve three milestones Sunday. With one rushing TD, he will have 23 -- moving him past Fran Tarkenton for the all-time lead among QBs. His first TD pass this season will give him 66 for his career -- tying him with Wade Wilson for No. 3 on the all-time list. If he throws for 300 yards, it will be the 10th time in his career, which would tie him with Moon for second place on the all-time list.
* Beating the Packers at Lambeau will be a tall order. Not only did Green Bay go 8-0 at home in the regular season last year, but the Packers have won seven of the last eight games at home vs. the Vikings.
* Randy Moss has six 100-yard games vs. the Packers -- the most of any opponent he has faced.

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