Teammates are supporting Daunte Culpepper after his worst game of the season, but there is plenty else to find fault with from the New York Giants game.
Teammates were quick to rally behind QB Daunte Culpepper
, who had his worst game of the season in a 34-13 loss to the Giants on Sunday. With no complementary running attack to speak of, Culpepper had season lows for completion percentage (57.1) and passer rating (60.7) while throwing two interceptions that led to 14 Giants points.
"It's almost like you have to remind people that Superman is still human," WR Nate Burleson
said. "Daunte, he's a great player. But we got to do the things as a supporting cast to help him out."
The Vikings gave up four rushing touchdowns of 5 yards or fewer. The average drive distance was only 50.5 yards. Three touchdowns followed two interceptions and a blocked punt. Defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell was offered an array of excuses to use, but he wasn't willing to take them. "Everybody keeps saying we had a short field to work with," Cottrell said. "But I don't care how short it is. You still have to hold them to a field goal or less. You can't give up the touchdown."
Tice wasted both of his challenges within the first 12 minutes of Sunday's game. He lost both, meaning the Vikings had to go the rest of the game without a sideline challenge.
"I'm just glad we didn't have a need to use another one or you guys would have really jumped on me," Tice told reporters. "I think we gave you enough already."
Tice challenged the ruling on a lateral fumble that the Vikings thought was a forward pass. He also challenged a punt that was downed inside the goal line. He felt the Giants player was in the end zone when the ball was downed. Neither challenge came close to going in the Vikings' favor.
LB Raonall Smith suffered a mild concussion for the second consecutive game. He isn't expected to miss Monday's game at Indianapolis.
LB Chris Claiborne (strained left calf) is the forgotten man among Vikings players. A notoriously slow healer, he is expected to miss a third consecutive game this week.
DE Lance Johnstone, a situational pass rusher, has graded as consistently high as any defensive linemen this season. He had two sacks on Sunday, giving him five on the season and 15 in the past 23 games.
Rookie OT Nat Dorsey held his own against future Hall of Fame DE Michael Strahan. Strahan had four tackles and no sacks. The Vikings' pass protection Sunday was good Sunday.
LB Mike Nattiel's stock is falling quickly among the coaching staff. Nattiel had lost his starting job and his role as a nickel linebacker. And then he was penalized for holding on the opening kickoff on Sunday.