Culpepper's Time To Shine In Prime Time

Vikings fans already know what kind of season Daunte Culpepper is putting together — an MVP one. But tonight is an opportunity for Culpepper to show the rest of the NFL world just how good he can be, and has been.

While ESPN on Sunday night isn't the same as ABC on Monday night, Daunte Culpepper has another chance to show the football world that he belongs in the discussion of early candidate for NFL MVP.

Through four games, Culpepper has a QB rating of 126.0 – on pace for the best ever. He has 13 TDs as opposed to just one interception. Although he didn't dominate in his other prime time appearance vs. the Eagles, he was accurate and consistent — everything coach Mike Tice has asked of him.

While Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb continue to steal the headlines, the bottom line is that Culpepper is putting together the same type of MVP season that propelled Manning and Steve McNair to co-MVP years last season — in a year when Priest Holmes set a record for touchdowns and LaDainian Tomlinson not only led the NFL in rushing attempts, but caught 100 passes as well.

Regardless of how you define MVP, if anyone has a leg up on Culpepper at this point, the vote is rigged.

* Former Packer Mike McKenzie is expected to get his first start as a Saint today. Look for him on the highlight reel tonight — about five yards behind Randy Moss or Marcus Robinson on a long TD pass.
* Moss is on pace for 28 TD receptions this year. To date he has seven TDs — most of any player in the NFL — despite having just 24 receptions.
* Who'll stop the pass tonight? Yes, the Vikes have the No.1 pass offense, but they also have 32nd-ranked pass defense. But the Saints are ranked No. 29 in pass defense, so there isn't any home-cooking advantage there.
* Moss has a touchdown in nine straight games.
* The Vikings are looking to extend their own NFL record of 33 straight games with 300 yards or more on offense.
* Tonight will be a homecoming for Vikes RB Mewelde Moore, who grew up in Baton Rouge and played his college ball in New Orleans at Tulane.
* If Moss gets 100 yards receiving tonight, it will the be 40th time of his career – tying a Vikes record held by Cris Carter.
* An NFL record of recent vintage will be set today when Tice meets Jim Haslett. The two coaches have a combined 23 years of NFL playing experience — 14 for Tice, nine for Haslett — the most combined playing experience of any current head coaches.

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