Vikings Desk Clearing

A week of news shorts on the Vikings, loaded with injury, stats and personnel findings.

  • The Vikings out-gained the Chiefs 330-99 in total yards in the first half. They led 24-0. "You know what it reminded me of?" linebacker Greg Biekert asked. "It reminded me of the way we started the season, when we were 6-0. The offense went right down the field and scored. Then the defense got off the field without giving up points. Before we knew it, it was 31-0 in the third quarter."

  • CB Ken Irvin, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee against the Chiefs, should play Sunday at Arizona.

  • DE Kenny Mixon has a hairline fracture in his thumb. He has his hand padded and will play against the Cardinals.

  • LB Chris Claiborne, who has missed three of the past four games because of a sprained ankle and a sore Achilles' heel, won't start and it will be a game-time decision whether he plays. Henri Crockett will start at weak-side linebacker again.

  • RB Michael Bennett, who missed the Bears game two weeks ago and played sparingly last week against the Chiefs, practiced Tuesday. He made it through the Chiefs game without re-injuring the ankle.

  • CB Brian Williams has 205 return yards on five interceptions. He needs 37 more return yards to tie the team record set by Jimmy Hitchcock in 1998.

  • Safeties Brian Russell and Corey Chavous have set the team record for interceptions in a season by a tandem. Russell is tied for the league lead with nine interceptions. Chavous has eight. The previous record was 16 by Paul Krause and Bobby Bryant in 1975.

  • DT Kevin Williams can become only the fourth rookie in team history to start all 16 games. If he starts at Arizona, and there's no reason to believe he won't, he will join T Gary Zimmerman (1986), T Todd Steussie (1994) and DB Dewayne Washington (1994).

  • QB Daunte Culpepper still has one game to catch Hall of Famer Otto Graham for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in the first five seasons of a career. Graham had 27 from 1950-54. Culpepper, who didn't play as a rookie in 1999, has 26.

  • RB Onterrio Smith is playing well despite two sore hamstrings and an aching shoulder. His 48 carries the past two weeks is the heaviest two-week workload of any Vikings' running back this season. RB Moe Williams opened the season with 43 carries in the first two games.

  • Randy Moss has 11 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Cardinals. Daunte Culpepper has played against Arizona once. He completed 25 of 32 passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 124.2 passer rating.

  • SS Corey Chavous was a second-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 1998. He played cornerback for four seasons in Arizona. Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis talked about moving Chavous to safety, but never did. Chavous has eight interceptions and made his first Pro Bowl this season in his first full season as a safety. "Corey Chavous is one of my most favorite people in the NFL," McGinnis said. "Nobody was happier he made the Pro Bowl than me."

  • The Vikings can earn a wild-card berth even if they lose at Arizona. But obviously they'd prefer to open the playoffs at home, where they are 6-2 this season. Moss has 10 of his 16 touchdown receptions at home. Culpepper has thrown 14 of his 24 touchdowns passes and only three of his 10 interceptions at home. And the defense has 17 of its 27 interceptions and all four returns for touchdowns at the Metrodome. "We're a very opportunistic defense at home," said free safety Brian Russell. "I have to give some of the credit to the fans. It's a very hostile environment here for the other team. If I can't hear myself yelling, I'm sure the other team's offense can't communicate very well."

  • CB Denard Walker recorded the first interception return for a touchdown against Arizona in 1997 when he was with the Tennessee Titans.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 24 — Receiving yards needed for WR Randy Moss to become the first player in NFL history to average 100 yards receiving and one touchdown reception per game over a 16-game season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm going to have a typo in there and reverse the Cardinals' record on everything I put up on the board this week. Hopefully, some of our guys are not very worldly, and they don't follow the league and they don't know that Arizona's record is what it is." — Coach Mike Tice, talking about his team's four losses to teams with losing records.

    SERIES HISTORY: 19th meeting. The Vikings are 5-4 on the road against the Cardinals, including 3-1 at Arizona. The Vikings have won the past five meetings, including 31-14 in 2000, when QB Daunte Culpepper completed 25 of 32 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

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