Inferior Teams Hardly A Cinch For Vikes

Tennessee may have a poor record right now at 2-4, but that is exactly the type of team that kept the Vikings down last year.

The Vikings struggled last year when it came to beating the worst of their opponents. In fact, the teams that earned the first four picks in last April's draft — the Chargers, Raiders, Cardinals and Giants, not to mention the hapless Bears — all had one thing in common. They all beat the Vikings.

While the 2004 Titans don't fall into that category — they've been one of the most successful franchises in the AFC the last several years — they have been struggling like few AFC teams have this year. They have lost four of their last five games, are in last place in the highly-competitive AFC South, and their only win since opening day was a blowout against the Packers.

This isn't the same Titans team the Vikings met three years ago when Todd Bouman led the Vikings to victory. This team is on the ropes and the Vikings can deliver a knockout punch that could, for all intents, end Tennessee's season.

The question now is will they do it?

* Daunte Culpepper has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week three times in five games, but didn't get the award in Week 5 when he threw for 396 yards and five touchdowns. That went to 49ers QB Tim Rattay, who apparently was awarded simply for getting a win over Denny Green and his flightless Cardinals.
* The Vikings are averaging 30 points a game, second only to the 32-point average by the Colts. When it comes to total points, you could win a bar bet with which team leads the NFL in scoring — the San Diego Chargers with 160 points.
* Tennessee is rated 26th in pass defense, which doesn't bode well trying to face the passing attack of Culpepper.
* Culpepper has 18 TDs and three interceptions this year, while Titans QB Steve McNair has four TDs and six interceptions in six games.
* Kevin Williams has 29 tackles, including 14 solo tackles. Chris Hovan has seven tackles and three solos. Think Hovan still gets the double teams?
* The Vikings have punted just 13 times in five games.

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