Linebacker Greg Biekert played nine seasons for the Raiders, but he says this Sunday's game holds very little extra meaning for him. Plus, get the numbers that mean something when trying to explain the Vikings' defensive woes.
LB Greg Biekert
was drafted by the Raiders in 1993 and played nine seasons for them before being released in a contract dispute before the 2002 season. Biekert was signed by the Vikings and has been apart from his wife and three daughters, who live in a suburb of Oakland, for the past two football seasons. The family gets together for about two weekends a month. The wife and kids went to last week's game at San Diego. Afterward, Biekert had to say goodbye outside the team bus — again.
"They were going to Disneyland for a couple of days and wanted me to go, so they were crying and hanging all over me," Biekert said. "I said, `All right, get them out of here,' so I don't feel so bad."
But other than coach Mike Tice
giving him next Monday to spend with the family, Biekert said he has no special feelings about playing his first regular season game against his former team.
"The situation we're in right now, I could care less who we're playing," Biekert said. "All I want to do is win. This is no bigger than if we were playing anybody else in the league."
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
The Vikings have lost three consecutive games. Their defense has slipped to 30th in the NFL after giving up an average of 453 yards and 33.7 points per game the past three weeks. "It's a whole lot better than anyone would think," Biekert said. "But the little things we're not doing are killing us. We're either a half a step away or one guy is in the wrong spot." Biekert said the Vikings' defense is winning most downs. "But the downs we're losing are 70-yard touchdown runs, 50-yard runs, third-and-nine."
LB Henri Crockett's brother, Zack, played fullback for the Raiders. They were teammates at Florida State. Raiders offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is a Minneapolis native, played QB at the University of Minnesota and is a former Vikings' assistant.
WR Randy Moss is one of the few current Vikings who has played against the Raiders. He caught four passes for 86 yards and no touchdowns in a 22-17 loss at the Metrodome in 1999.
Moss needs 2 yards receiving to reach 1,000 yards in his sixth consecutive season. He already has an NFL-record five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to start a season.
The Chargers focused on the right side of the Vikings' defense during Sunday's 42-28 victory. The Chargers ran 11 times to their left for 169 yards, a 15.4-yard average. They ran 15 times up the middle or to the right, gaining 42 yards for a 2.8-yard average.
Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson averaged 17.9 yards running to his left and 2.4 running elsewhere. He had 143 yards on eight carries around left end, including a 73-yard touchdown and a 55-yard run. He had 19 yards on eight carries elsewhere.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 — Number of takeaways against San Diego. It was the first time this season the Vikings didn't force a turnover. They still lead the NFC with a plus-11 turnover ratio, but have fallen to third in the NFL behind Kansas City (plus-18) and Tennessee (plus-12).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was over at Target. I had heard a rumor that they had these magic wands over there. I was going to go buy one, but I got there and found out it wasn't true, so I'm a little bit late." — Coach Mike Tice, explaining why he was a few minutes late to his Monday press conference.
LB Raonall Smith, who has battled a hamstring injury all season, will be able to play this week.
KR-WR Nick Davis, who hasn't played all season because of a shoulder injury, might play against Oakland.
LB Chris Claiborne is playing through shoulder, heel and knee injuries.
RB Moe Williams is 10th in the NFL in first downs (49), and the only player other than Kansas City's Priest Holmes with at least 18 first downs rushing and receiving. Williams caught 11 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers. The receptions rank fifth in team history among Vikings running backs, while the yardage ranks sixth.
RB Michael Bennett, who missed the first seven games because of a fractured left foot, had eight carries in his first game back and five last week against the Chargers. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry against the Packers two weeks ago, and 4.6 last week. The plan is to get him about 15 carries against Oakland.