The Vikings might be the only team in the NFL, and certainly the only one in the NFC North, that has the luxury of replacing a perfectly healthy right guard while in the midst of a 5-0 start.
But coach Mike Tice said he was going to give promising backup Lewis Kelly a chance to play, and he did. Kelly, who had been inactive for the first four games of the season, went in for David Dixon at the start of the second half in Atlanta last Sunday.
"I wanted to let him play in front of his parents," Tice said of Kelly, who is from Lithonia, Ga. "I told him as long as he played well, he wasn't coming out."
The Vikings were trailing 20-12 at the time.
"Then we scored a touchdown," Tice said. "Then we scored another. Then we scored another."
It's not as sexy as a quarterback controversy, but suddenly the Vikings appear to have a right-guard controversy.
* LB Chris Claiborne has had nine or more tackles three times this season. He's also the only Viking with an interception who isn't a defensive back.
* FS Brian Russell is on pace for 16 interceptions. He's had one in each game. The team season record is 10 by Hall of Famer Paul Krause in 1975.
* Randy Moss leads the NFL with 515 receiving yards and he and Marvin Harrison are tied for the NFL lead with six receiving touchdowns. The TD feat is impressive, since there is a 13-way tie heading into this weekend's game for third place with three – half of Moss' and Harrison's totals. Moss' six touchdown receptions matches his highest total through the first five games of a season. Moss had six in his first five games as a rookie in 1998. Then he went four games without a TD reception.
* Brian Russell leads the NFL with five interceptions and Corey Chavous is tied for second with four.
* Talk about making the most out of interceptions. Brian Williams has two interceptions and has been credited with 134 return yards on those picks.
* The Vikings' quarterback rating of 113.7 is 53.7 points higher than their opponents' rating of 60.0. Opponents also have thrown 11 more interceptions (13-2) and seven fewer touchdowns (5-12).
Kelly Coming On Strong
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