QB Daunte Culpepper rebounded from two horrible games to lead the Vikings to their first win.
After two horrible games, Daunte Culpepper
finally looked like, well, Daunte Culpepper. The Vikings quarterback completed 21 of 29 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints
The Vikings' special teams unit helped the team get off to a quick start as Richard Owens
forced Aaron Stecker
to fumble the opening kickoff. Antoine Winfield
recovered at the Saints 24, setting up a Culpepper touchdown pass to Travis Taylor
on the first play from scrimmage with only 13 ticks off the clock.
That gave the Vikings their quickest score to open a game in team history, breaking the previous mark of 16 seconds set in 1989 against Philadelphia. Taylor finished with two TD catches, and rookie first-rounder Troy Williamson
added a 53-yard scoring grab. Kicker Paul Edinger
made four of five field-goal attempts.
SS Willie Offord sprained his left knee in the fourth quarter while playing on kickoff coverage. He returned to the game but said he re-injured it making a play on defense. Offord was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, and there is concern he could be sidelined for an extended period.
WR Nate Burleson was on the inactive list Sunday because of a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Burleson, injured in Week 2 at Cincinnati, will be evaluated Wednesday, but it wouldn't be surprising if he missed Sunday's game at Atlanta. That would give Burleson three weeks of rest, including the bye on Oct. 9.
WLB E.J. Henderson was inactive Sunday because of a high right ankle sprain sustained against the Bengals. He will be evaluated Wednesday.
DE Lance Johnstone suffered a strained muscle in his chest around the shoulder area in the first half against the Saints.
FS Darren Sharper was on the inactive list versus New Orleans because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Sharper, who was hurt against the Bengals, tested the injury before the Saints game and didn't feel he was ready to go. The veteran might be ready to go Sunday in Atlanta.
DE Kenechi Udeze strained his left knee in the third quarter against the Saints but was able to return.
CB Brian Williams sprained his left knee late in the first half against New Orleans and did not return.
RG Marcus Johnson was benched twice Sunday against the Saints, replaced late in the first half by Anthony Herrera and again in the second half by Adam Goldberg.
WR Koren Robinson made his Vikings debut against New Orleans, and although he did not catch a pass, he impressed with his ability on kick returns. He had a 46-yard return in the fourth quarter to help set up a Paul Edinger field goal and finished with a 22.8-yard average on four returns. Robinson was signed by the Vikings after spending 28 days in an alcohol treatment facility. He was released by Seattle during the offseason.
CBs Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot were asked to play much more man-to-man coverage against the Saints than they had been in the first two weeks. Both seemed very pleased to be given the responsibility. "That's what I do," Smoot said. "I'm a man-to-man guy."
The latest twist from Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell was the extended use of a dime package that gave extended playing time to CBs Brian Williams and Ralph Brown.