The Aftermath And Forecast

From the biggest stars to the reserves who surprised to the interesting statistics, here are notes from the Chicago game and a look ahead.

  • WR Randy Moss created a brief on-field brawl with the Bears when he took exception to safety Todd Johnson's fourth-quarter hit on receiver Nate Burleson. Johnson was penalized for unnecessary roughness because he lowered his shoulder into Burleson's head after an incomplete pass. Burleson was jogging back to the huddle when Moss confronted Johnson.

    The two started shoving each other when several Bears' defenders circled Moss. That caused several Vikings players to rush to the scene. "(Johnson) speared Nate in the head," Moss said. "Coach Tice taught us to play like that, then we'd have gotten even. But that's not how the game is played. We play straight up, and we play fair." Johnson said he thought the hit was legal, but added, "I'll have to see it again on replay."

  • Moss caught touchdown passes of 3 and 2 yards in the 27-22 victory over the Bears on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was asked what he would say if fans were to complain - which they will - that he should have called similar plays when the Vikings came up short twice from the 2-yard line in last week's loss to Philadelphia.

    "Hey, that's life in the big city," Linehan said. "The way I look at it, we've punted four times in three games. I think the plays we're running are fine."

  • Rookie RT Nat Dorsey, 21, was supposed to use this season to ease into the NFL and work on his physical strength. That plan fell through when right offensive tackle Mike Rosenthal was placed on injured reserve last week. Although Adam Haayer started against the Bears, Dorsey replaced him on the Vikings' third possession. The original plan called for the two to alternate during the game, but Dorsey never came out. Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye beat him for one sack, but other than that, it was a solid effort by Dorsey.

    "I was very nervous before the sack," said Dorsey, who hadn't played on the right side since high school. "When that happened, it made me forget being nervous, and I started to focus on doing my job." Dorsey will start the Vikings' next game Oct. 10 at Houston. Barring a setback, he will start the remainder of the season.

  • RB Michael Bennett returns to practice this week after being sidelined since the third preseason game because of a sprained right knee. The Vikings will take Tuesday and Wednesday off, practice Thursday and then take Friday through Sunday off.

  • RB Onterrio Smith had his best game as a pro with a career-high 198 yards from scrimmage against Chicago. With Bennett returning and a possible four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy looming, Smith might not be a factor in the Vikings' offense for some time. The league might rule on Smith's appeal by next Monday. It doesn't have to rule this week because the Vikings have a bye.

  • LB Rod Davis blew his chance to take over the middle linebacker position when he was late to a special teams meeting last week. Davis, a rookie fifth-round draft pick, was deactivated for Sunday's game against the Bears, even though that left the Vikings without a backup middle linebacker to E.J. Henderson.

    When Henderson went down because of a sprained left knee in the second quarter, former starting weak-side linebacker Dontarrious Thomas stepped in despite no pro experience at the position. Thomas had a game-high 11 tackles and earned the game ball.

  • QB Daunte Culpepper's lowest passer rating this season is 95.3 in a loss at Philadelphia. He also posted a 147.1 rating and five touchdowns in the season-opening win over Dallas and a 127.1 rating, 360 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-22 victory over Chicago.

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