Vikings Killing In Stats Dept.

The Vikes sit atop the NFC and the NFL in several key stats that may be a portent of things to come in 2003.

Starting this weekend, NFL teams will begin having bye weeks, which will skew any team statistics into a "pro-rated" mode.

That being said, two weeks into the 2003 season, the Vikings are topping the NFC and, in several instances, the NFL in some key categories.

Consider the following:
* No team has more first downs than the Vikings' 46.
* No team in the NFL has more rushing attempts than the Vikings (75).
* The Vikings' 356 rushing yards is tops in the NFC.
* The Vikings' time of possession rate of 36:01 to 23:59 is the best in the league.
* The Vikes have only punted five times -- the least of any team in the NFL.
* In the first two games, Vikings' opponents have rushed just 36 times -- the least of any team in the conference.
* The 512 yards allowed by the Vikings defense is second only to Tampa Bay in the NFC.
* The Vikes' five interceptions is tied for the NFL lead.

But perhaps the most amazing stat through two games is that the Vikings have converted 60.7 percent of their third-down conversions. Only three other teams in the league are at 45 percent or better, which makes the Vikings' efficiency all the more impressive.

Once bye weeks come into play, any comparitive stats will be altered, but, for now, the Vikings are sitting pretty -- which explains why they're 2-0 and ready to put the hammer down on the NFC North.

* D'Wayne Bates was downgraded to questionable Thursday and it looks unlikely that he will play Sunday vs. the Lions.
* Doug Chapman practiced on a limited basis Thursday, but he remains a question mark for Sunday.

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