Chapman Stakes Claim to Starting Job

Doug Chapman was a victim of circumstances with the Vikings until Sunday. Today, he's staking a claim to be the Vikings' starting running back and may deserve to get that shot.

Doug Chapman was surrounded by reporters for the first time in his career Sunday, all of us asking the same basic questions -- why was able to do in one game what Michael Bennett wasn't able to do in five?

Chapman had been forced to be a spectator during the early portions of his career, sitting behind Robert Smith as Smith put together a Pro Bowl season last year and stand by while Dennis Green called Michael Bennett "a gift from God" and promised the rookie would rush for 1,000 yards this season.

But, when Bennett was hobbled with an ankle injury, Chapman got his first start Sunday and made the most of it. As impressive as his 22 carries for 90 yards were, perhaps more impressive was that of his 22 carries, 19 of them gained three yards or more -- which kept the team moving forward and took away the prospect of the Packers being able to pin back the defense and come after Daunte Culpepper.

Chapman told VU it was important for him to remain patient and wait for his turn and, while he was happy for the chance to showcase his own talents, he said he's not taking the starting job for granted.

"I'm not worried about (starting)," Chapman said. "That's the coach's job. I'm just glad we got the win. The team got the win. I'm not worried about who got the job. I'm just worried about who got the 'W'".

* Sunday marked the first game this season that the Vikings outscored their opponents in the second half, putting up 15 points to Green Bay's 13.
* If you take away the 61 yards Ahman Green gained on one carry early in the third quarter, on his other 10 carries, he gained just 12 yards and had just three rushes in the entire second half.
* The Packers came in with one of the league's best rush defenses, but the Vikings lit them up for 196 yards on 37 carries -- the first time this year the team has more runs (37) than passes (27) in a game.
* Heading into Green Bay's final drive against a prevent defense that was willing to give up small yardage passes in exchange for eating up clock time, Brett Favre had thrown for just 96 yards through the game's first 57 minutes.
* Chapman became the first running back in the post-Robert Smith era to run 20 or more times in a game.
* A lot of hype was preceding DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila to the Metrodome, since he led the NFL in sacks. Not only didn't he get a sack against the Vikings, he didn't even register a tackle or an assist.
* Lance Johnstone had a laugh with reporters after the game. After being benched for Stalin Colinet, who dislocated his left ring finger on the first play of the game, Johnstone got his first sack of the season in the fourth quarter -- as Favre fell backing up from center and was sitting on the ground only to be touched by Johnstone for the sack. Although it was a cheapie, he joked, "it's about time."
* Now comes the fun part. The Vikings have two big road games coming up around the bye -- at Tampa Bay and at Philadelphia. As many longtime Vikings fans know, this should be good news for the Vikings, who, since the bye was instituted, are 8-1 going into the bye and 8-1 coming out of the bye -- the best record for both in the NFL.

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