Somewhere in Michigan, journeyman linebacker Wali Rainer was hailed as a hero. Everywhere in Minnesota, he was cursed as a useless punk. Either way, he could have as much to do with the Vikings' chances Sunday vs. the 49ers as anyone.
Rainer, a backup linebacker for the Lions, delivered what many associated with the Vikings deemed a cheap shot on Daunte Culpepper after he ran in his second touchdown of the day to give the Vikings a lead over Detroit in the second quarter. Anyone who saw the play in question was able to see that Culpepper was four to five yards in the end zone when Rainer, who was initially in pass coverage, delivered a blow to Culpepper's lower back.
After the game, Culpepper was grimacing and having difficulty simply getting dressed. Yet, he said he would be ready for next Sunday's game vs. the 49ers.
VU has been told Culpepper will undergo an MRI Monday to see if there is any extensive damage to his back, which was stated as a "bruised lower back" Sunday. If no further damage is found, he is expected to start Sunday. But, if his actions following yesterday's win are any indication, he will need to do some considerable healing before that happens.
* VU was told that the FOX broadcast team was very critical of Randy Moss and his lack of effort Sunday. However, they were unaware that Moss was suffering from severe back spasms Sunday -- which Moss said were among the worst of his career.
* The Lions' initial 7-0 (and later 10-0) lead were the first deficits the Vikings faced all season.
* Last year, the Vikings had just 16 interceptions. Through three games, they have eight picks, including three each from safeties Corey Chavous and Brian Russell. Russell has one pick in each of the three games.
* With his first rushing TD of the day, Culpepper broke Fran Tarkenton's franchise record for rushing touchdowns in a career.
* Once again, the Vikings came into question for throwing the challenge flag. On a punt in the end zone, Mike Tice challenged the call on the field. Mike Nattiel, who batted the ball out of the end zone, not only stepped in the end zone, he did it three times -- bringing into question who exactly prompted Tice to challenge the call on the field.
Culpepper Says He'll Play
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