Turning Point: The Bombs

There was talk of a more conservative offense entering Friday night's game, but that was far from the case. Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings used the long pass to near perfection in their first preseason win.

The turning point of this game came very early. After a turnover on their first drive, the Vikings were looking to exploit their speed mismatches in the secondary. Knowing they were playing on wet, slippery artificial turf, the receivers knew when to cut while the secondary players didn't.

On the Vikings' second drive, Daunte Culpepper hit Randy Moss for a 47-yard bomb, which would prove to be a portent of things to come. Knowing they could take advantage of the deep ball, the Vikings would go to it often.

The bomb to Moss set up the first touchdown and the next drive began with a 31-yard strike to D'Wayne Bates, setting up another touchdown. On the subsequent drive, Culpepper hit Derrick Alexander for 20 yards – a play that put the Vikings in field goal range, which was converted by Doug Brien.

In the final drive for the starters, Culpepper hit Alexander with a 32-yard pass, which should have led to more points. But, a failed field goal attempt by Doug Brien as time ran out denied the Vikings from getting scores on the end of all four of their long pass plays in the first half.

As the second- and third-team offenses struggled in the second half, it was the long pass that would provide the game's winning points. Shaun Hill, following a turnover in Buffalo territory, went back to what had worked in the first half and lofted a 25-yard bomb to Kelly Campbell in the end zone for a touchdown.

In all, the Vikings had five pass plays of 20 yards or more and they resulted in all four of the Vikings' scoring drives and would have counted for a fifth had Brien's field goal not been blocked. Clearly, the long pass was integral to the Vikings offense and created the turning point of the game.


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