Coaches, Players Defend Culpepper

A quarterback often gets too much praise for winning and too much blame for losing, but, following the Vikings' 24-14 win over Detroit Sunday, several players and coaches came to the defense of Daunte Culpepper -- who was booed loudly by fans during the team's offensive struggles in the second half.

One of the dramatic situations following Sunday's 24-14 win was the general displeasure of Vikings players and coaches about fans booing Daunte Culpepper during the second half as the team's offense struggled to gain yards. After the game, several players and coaches came to Culpepper's defense, while the quarterback himself blew off the criticism.

Claiming the treatment was unfair, players like Matt Birk asked fans to look at the numbers Culpepper has posted and "give him a break. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL."

Later Sunday, coach Mike Tice was even more pointed. In his weekly postgame television show, Tice let on that he has received many e-mails and letters from fans imploring him to bench Culpepper in favor of Gus Frerotte. Tice's response? "Save your stamps."

Looking somewhat like a political candidate, Tice looked directly into the camera, stated that he wasn't going to make a change at quarterback and that the Vikings would rise or fall with Culpepper as their quarterback, adding that fans should "get used to it."

He also added in his agitated comments directed to fans that "none of you expected we would be 7-4 at this point" – saying Culpepper is one of the big reasons why the team has a winning record.

* The Lions came into Sunday's game with the most three-and-out series in the league with 37. They added three more on Sunday.
* With a catch in the first quarter on the play before Michael Bennett's 25-yard touchdown, Randy Moss caught a pass in his 91st consecutive game – one or more in each game of his career. However, to put the record of Moss' into perspective, later Sunday, Jerry Rice caught a pass in his 268th consecutive game. Even if Rice's streak would end next week, Moss wouldn't have a chance to catch him until the 12th game of the 2014 season. You have wonder if Moss would be interested in playing that long.
* The Vikes tried to get the ball deep to Moss. He was the target of six long bombs – five of which were incomplete and one that was intercepted.
* In the first quarter, the Lions ran four times for seven yards – minus-one yard from their running backs and eight yards from QB Joey Harrington. For the game, the Lions running backs ran 17 times for 40 yards. If you take out a 13-yard run by Olandis Gary in the first half and an 11-yard run by Shawn Bryson in the final minute, the two top Detroit RBs ran 15 times for 16 yards.
* Detroit lost its 22nd straight road game, a streak that extends back to December 2000. The odds of breaking the 20-year old mark of 23 set by the Oilers looks probable, since their final two road games are at Kansas City and Carolina.
* Moe Williams' fumble that led to the Lions' first touchdown was his first lost fumble in 184 touches this season.
* With all the struggles the Vikings offense had Sunday, it put together a 15-play drive that ate up almost nine minutes of the fourth quarter.
* Those who called the Lions' touchdown with 35 seconds remaining "meaningless" likely didn't have a wager on the game. Sports books had the Vikings as 10-1/2 point favorites – a bet that was lost when the Lions scored in the final minute.
* Brian Williams became the 12th Viking all-time to have three interceptions in one game. Nobody was more stunned than Williams, who had never had three picks in a game dating back to grade school.
* The Vikings were without Michael Bennett for part of the second half. At halftime, he was looking for an energy boost and wanted a caffeine drink. He drank a cup of coffee – a beverage he doesn't drink. The result? He got sick to his stomach and threw up.
* There were a couple of controversial no-calls made Sunday on plays involving Moss that looked like pass interference. VU was told this was the same crew that did the infamous "water bottle" game with Moss in a 1999 playoff loss to the Rams, some team insiders even saying the crew has a "vendetta" against the team and Moss.
* Three players – Moss, Jim Kleinsasser and Chris Hovan – all suffered ankle sprains Sunday, but none of the injuries is viewed as serious for next week vs. the Rams.
* Corey Chavous picked off his eighth pass of the year, tying him for third place for the all-time single-season record with Bobby Bryant (1969), Issiac Holt (1986), Carl Lee (1988) and Audray McMillian (1992). He is only one behind the second-place all-time leader – Orlando Thomas (nine in 1995) – and two short of the 10 interceptions by Paul Krause in 1975.
* The Vikings had two interceptions returned for touchdowns Sunday. That last time that happened was 1992, when Coach Tice was a member of the team.

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