Packers Can't Get Here Soon Enough

Mike Tice is looking for a silver lining in the team's start, and according to him the best way to forget the woes of the recent past is to focus on the Packers game straight ahead.

Give Vikings coach Mike Tice credit for one thing: The man is an optimist.

Following a 28-3 loss at Chicago last Sunday — a defeat that dropped the Vikings to 1-4 — Tice elected to look forward to the fact his team will face archrival Green Bay on Sunday at the Metrodome.

"I think the only lucky thing, and we haven't had much luck as of late, is the fact that we have Green Bay this week," he said. "That is the only thing that I can see right now which will help, is that we have Green Bay this week."

The Vikings are hoping to shift the focus back to football after a week spent being asked questions about a bye-week boat party thrown by various players that involved alleged sexual activity.

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper also expressed enthusiasm about focusing on the Packers. "That's how I feel, too," he said when asked about Tice's comment. "We've got a chance at home to go out and play well and get another victory and also a division one."

The loss to the Bears was the Vikings' first NFC North game of the season and began a stretch in which three of four games will be against division foes. Despite the fact their division appears to be the worst in the NFL, if the Vikings continue to struggle during this stretch, it could turn into a very long and trying season.

Of course, it might be already. New owner Zygi Wilf was infuriated about the allegations of what happened on the boats and vowed to take action during a news conference late last week. An investigation is ongoing, so Wilf must wait for the results before handing out any disciplinary action.

But Wilf already has said he has hired former FBI agent Bob Solberg as director of security and will hire a senior executive to run the operation.

NOTES

  • Quarterback Daunte Culpepper continued to have his problems, throwing two interceptions and registering a 50.4 passer rating. Culpepper's two picks give him 12 on the season. That is one more than he had in the entire 2004 regular season.

  • C Melvin Fowler made his first start in place of the demoted Cory Withrow and played the entire game against Chicago.

  • RG Adam Goldberg got his first start of the season against Chicago.

  • LB Raonall Smith saw extensive action in a 3-4 alignment the Vikings used against Chicago that included Sam Cowart, E.J. Henderson and Keith Newman at linebacker.

  • LB Napoleon Harris, who has lost his starting job to Keith Newman, is still being used in the nickel defense.

  • WR Koren Robinson caught his first pass as a Viking in the third quarter against Chicago.

  • WR Keenan Howry was back as the Vikings' punt returner against Chicago after being deactivated in the previous game against Atlanta. Koren Robinson struggled on punt returns in that loss.

  • WR Nate Burleson missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained left knee but expects to return against the Packers on Sunday.


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